Preparing Your Pets for Absence

Your pet is a beloved member of your family, and leaving for a business trip, vacation, or just a long weekend may be hard on you both. With some preparation, however, you can set your pet up for success before you leave. 

You have options for pet care - kennel, vet, etc., but keeping your pets at home with a caring sitter is much easier on your animals as they stay in a familiar environment. 

Following these steps will help your best friend get ready for your absence.

  1. Be sure to fully inform your sitter about your pet’s needs, routines, and quirks. Also provide all necessary health information, including your vet’s contact info. (There are places in the Handlr app to add this information.)

  2. Spend some extra time together. Spending extra time with your pet before you leave can help both of you. Dog owners: Your dog appreciates all of the time he gets to spend with you! A little goes a long way: a few extra snuggles on the couch or an additional daily walk are a big deal.

  3. Meet the pet sitter in person. Allowing your pet to meet the pet sitter a before you leave will help her feel more comfortable. She’ll feel like she’s staying with someone she knows rather than a stranger. 

  4. Inform the pet sitter about separation anxiety. If your pet experiences separation anxiety, talk to your vet about her symptoms. Be sure your pet won’t be left alone for long periods, or at all if the separation anxiety is intense. 

  5. Keep familiar items out in the open and accessible. One advantage of having a pet sitter come to your home is that your pet’s surroundings will remain familiar. Often pets like to lay on their owner's sweatshirt or blanket. Keeping a TV or radio on also helps to sooth your pet. (My cats prefer Animal Channel.)

  6. Ensure your dog gets enough exercise before you leave. This simple, tried-and-true tip is key to your dog’s happiness. Take a walk, play fetch, or otherwise get your dog moving before you pack up. Expending some energy will help your dog feel more relaxed through the changes.

  7. Consider calming tools on the day of departure. Some pets, especially cats, respond well to calming pheromone products; some dogs enjoy wearing a ThunderShirt, or taking calming supplements. Many dog owners report good success with CBD treats or oil, as well. Consult with your vet before trying a new supplement.

  8. Stay calm and confident during the separation. Your pet can quickly and easily pick up on your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious about leaving him, he will feel anxious about you leaving. If you’re feeling comfortable (though of course, you’ll miss him), your dog will feel the same way.

  9. Provide your dog with distractions. Choose a few new chews and toys like a KONG or other treat-dispensing toy, or a naturally-shed antler, to give your dog on the day of departure. Novelty will keep your dog more interested.