This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Noah Rue
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3 Tips to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy While You’re Away
It can be hard enough to leave your furry friend at home while you go to work, but leaving them behind when you take an extended trip is especially difficult. In a perfect world, we would be able to take our pets with us wherever we go, but unfortunately, the logistics of traveling with pets can become unmanageable.
Do A Deep Clean Before You Leave
While your home might seem like the safest place for you and your pet to be, there are actually some precautions that should be taken to ensure that they stay safe in the home while you’re gone. Contaminants, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and allergens waiting for a nosy cat or dog to root them out. Doing a deep clean of your home before you head out is one of the best ways to make sure that your pet doesn’t get into anything that will hurt them.
Lots of people aren’t aware of the fact that their pets can suffer from allergies just like they do. Springtime and early fall are generally when allergens are the worst, so making sure that you clean properly is important. When cleaning your home, work from the top down to ensure that you get every last speck of allergy-inducing dust. Also, it is a good idea to change your air filters so that your pet isn’t breathing dirty air. When mopping floors or cleaning counters, using an eco-friendly cleaning solution will minimize your pet’s exposure to harmful chemicals that might irritate their skin or make them sick.
There is no guarantee that your home will stay perfectly clean while you’re away, especially if your pet is especially adventurous. If you own a self-contained home security system, it can act as a sort of pet-monitor, allowing you to periodically check in on your pet while you’re away. If your pet sitter isn’t there full time, you can give them a call if you see that your pet has torn up a couch or made some other mess, allowing them to come back and minimize the damage that your pet not only does to your home but potentially to themselves.
Ensure That They’ll Be Safe Outside
Whether you own a cute cat or dog, they’ll most likely be spending a decent amount of time outside while you’re away, either in your yard or on walks. Your backyard, while being a great place to get exercise and find entertainment for your pet, can also contain some serious threats. Making sure your backyard is pet-friendly means removing plants toxic to cats or dogs like chrysanthemums, foxglove, lilies, and hyacinths. If the landscaping is important to you and cannot go, installing a secured fence will help to prevent your pet from getting into the toxic plants.
Most dogs need to be walked regularly, and your pet sitter will most likely enjoy taking them on nice, long walks. However, while taking your dog on walks is a great way to get them exercise, there are still precautions that need to be taken by your pet sitter to make sure that they don’t suffer any injuries. Hot cement can burn a dog’s paws, and many dog breeds with brachycephalic skulls (or “smashed faces”) can overheat easily on walks or become dehydrated. Inform your pet sitter of any special requirements your dog might have prior to walks to make them a great experience for both them and your pet.
Finally, it might be a wise idea to leave a can of irritant dog spray for your pet sitter to protect your dog while out on walks. This is especially pertinent in rural areas where wild animal attacks can occur, though smaller dogs might also be at risk in more urban areas when there are aggressive large dogs around that might harm them. This is obviously a worst-case scenario
that no one would ever want their pet to experience, which is all the more reason to be prepared for it.
Make Sure Your Sitter Knows What to Do
Before your departure, preparing both your pet sitter and your pet for your trip is essential to a positive experience. It is always a good idea to spend some extra time playing with your pet before your pet sitter comes to care for them. This will not only make your pet happy, but it can wear them down a bit to make them calmer when you leave. If your pet is prone to separation anxiety, ensure that your pet sitter is aware of that fact and let them know how your pet might act out so that they understand what is and isn’t normal behavior.
The anxiety of seeing you go is compounded further when you’re gone for an extended period. Anxiety in pets is no joke, and can lead to destructive, aggressive, or abnormal behavior. A dog might go on a tear through your home, ripping apart pillows while a cat might urinate outside of its litter box to show its displeasure. If your pet sitter is aware of this behavior, they will be able to deal with it appropriately.
Last but not least, make sure you leave detailed instructions for your pet sitter regarding your pet’s schedule and multiple ways to contact you if things go wrong. It might seem a bit overbearing to give them a detailed itinerary for your pet, but if they have specific dietary needs or special medication, a favorite toy, or even a unique bathroom routine, if they are aware of how your furry friend lives then they can make their time away from you go smoothly.
Leaving your pet is never fun, but if you make sure that your home is safe – both inside and out – and that they receive the care that they need, it will be much less of a challenge to spend time away.
Noah Yarnol Rue is always looking where his next trip will take him . When he’s not traveling the world, he’s writing articles on the new things he learns. Noah also enjoys a good meme from time to time. You can find Noah on LinkedIn.