You spend a heck of a lot of time socializing and playing with your pooch, or your beloved moggy, making sure that he’s got things to do, and, more importantly, doesn’t wreck your furniture out of boredom.
So why, when it comes to vacation time, do you pack him off to the boarding kennels, or pet-sitter, without a second thought?
As increasing numbers of families, of all sizes, as well as single people, are spending more time not only on their main vacation, but also on breaks at other times of the year, the topic of what to do with your beloved pets is sure to come up before long.
To go along with this, many people offering vacation rentals, or even hotel chains, are keeping pace by allowing furry guests in some of their properties or rooms. That means they can enjoy the same comfort and hospitality as your family, and don’t need to suffer the disruption of having to stay in pet lodgings, or have a cat or dog-sitter come along and visit them at home.
Naturally, the main benefit of this is that you don’t have the expense of making such arrangements – but it does mean you have to be sure to plan well in advance, and be sure that your pet is prepared for the prospect of some strange sights, sounds and smells when you take them out of their regular surroundings.
But… What About Other People?
You don’t just have to consider how your pet will behave when they are thrust into a variety of strange settings, but also how this might show itself in how they cope with being around strangers.
For instance, does your dog constantly growl at the site of unfamiliar folk, or get agitated if he’s in strange surroundings? Or does your cat often go to the litter pan and leave a mess with the litter – or even miss the pan altogether? If you often have to deal with this kind of fall-out (definitely no pun intended!), then you have to consider whether your pet companion will be suited to boarding in new surroundings.
But as so many of us don’t want our pets to miss out on the excitement of visiting new places – and even, for them, the chance of encountering new friends – home improvement and interiors website TheSpruce.com, in a break from its regular topics on home improvement and interior design, has put together a few pointers on etiquette for travelling with your animals, and boarding in different places.
Think about it for a minute, though. It isn’t such a huge step from wanting to kit out a home with some fancy furnishings, and more to the point, keeping it looking good, and then being anxious to keep it that way – which means having to think about how you want both your human and your animal guests to behave.
So The Spruce’s top tips for a fuss-free trip with your four-legged friends are as follows:
- Check in advance that the hotels you book are pet-friendly. If time allows before your trip, it also suggests getting confirmation of their acceptance policies in writing, as this could help avoid embarrassment, and possible extra expense, on arrival.
- Expect that you might have to pay an extra fee or deposit for any place to take your pets. Think of it from their point of view – they might need to do extra cleaning to prepare the room for the next guests. On the other hand, some accommodation providers don’t put an extra surcharge on guests with pets, and make a virtue of this in their marketing.
- Check your pet in with your veterinarian before you leave, to get them treated for fleas. You don’t want them lingering in the car, or worse, causing a breakout at the hotels where you stay.
- Do research into whether the restaurants, parks or other places where you plan to go with your pet will accept them. The internet is the best tool ever for this, as plenty of places will have their pet acceptance rules clearly posted, so that guests know what to expect.
- Bring a few blankets from home, so you can spread them out over the furniture in your room, or for them to lie on and feel reassured and comfortable while they’re travelling.
- Don’t be tempted to leave them in your room, or alone in your car, for long periods. As The Spruce points out: “If you do this, why bother bringing him on vacation?”.
- Make sure your pooch doesn’t get over-friendly with other people. Lots of people get freaked by being suddenly pounced on by a dog, no matter how friendly they’re trying to be.
- Bring plenty of their regular toys so that they can chew on these, instead of the room furniture. Not doing so could cost you a fortune to put the damage right!
- More research – this time, find where the designated dog-walking areas are around where you’re staying. And treat the neighborhood as if it were your own – meaning pick up your dog’s poop, and put it in the right bin.
- If your travelling companion is a cat, double up on your litter tray cleaning, to avoid the smell spreading around the accommodation and offending other guests.
- Keep your dog on its leash while away from your room – except, of course, when in a designated exercise area.
- Take them for early-morning and last-thing-at-night walkies so you can be confident of not having any mishaps in your room overnight.
Of course, plenty of animals enjoy exploring new places, and the travel to get to them is part of that excitement. Or it will be, if you prepare right.
We explored how to prepare most dogs for a trouble-free trip in an earlier blog, so this time we’re going to focus on how you can keep your pets happy once they’re in their temporary new home.
If you often leave your dog home alone while you go out to work, you probably know that dogs often suffer from separation anxiety – but we learned from an article in Whole Dog Journal that the problem can have long-term effects on their moods and behaviour, and can even, ultimately, affect their whole personalities.
Author Nancy Kerns points out that dogs very easily get anxious and bored when they’re separated from their human companions. This often leads to excessive barking, chewing, and even pooping, around the house.
And while some owners have had success with baby monitors and webcams in being able to calm and reassure their dogs, it’s still gotta be better for them to be with you – or at least, someone you can trust.
“Our dogs’ lives – mostly indoors, with plush beds and enriching toys and plenty to eat – seem pretty darn good”, notes Nancy.
But it’s exactly because they’ve gotten so used to us humans providing these comforts for them, that they can easily freak when that human company is withdrawn.
But The Stress Doesn’t Have To Be All Yours…
This is why, rather than hiring a pet-sitter to come visit while you’re away, taking your dog with you on vacation might be a good idea.
See, your sitter will probably only spend a half-hour at a stretch playing with, feeding and exercising your pup, then they’ll have to head off and tend to someone else’s pet.
And that will straight away set off their anxious behaviour again.
You might not be able to transport your pet with you, for a variety of reasons – but that doesn’t mean they can’t follow on behind.
At Citizenshipper, we regularly connect pet owners with drivers for cases where the owners are going to their summer homes, or even just their temporary vacation base, by another means.
You can hire a driver who will collect your furry friend from home before you head away, and will then take them in the back of their vehicle, and deliver them to your destination at a time which allows you to arrive, unpack and get settled in.
Throughout their trip, they’ll have human companionship, which means their feeding – and toilet – times needn’t be too disrupted, and they’ll be delivered to you relaxed and just as ready to enjoy the vacation as you are.
Remember, you’ve worked all year round to earn that break – so why not appreciate it all the more by having your faithful pet with you? That’s just one possibility you can consider, thanks to CitizenShipper dog transportation.
Dogs love to stay active, so transporting them over long distances can present a challenge. Our article will give you a few pointers.