I love my dog, and I also love to spend the night out to see a concert or show. Even though I love going out and spending time with friends for a night on the town the one thing that is always difficult is leaving my dog behind. He can’t go to into night clubs — the logistics of transporting him inside a concert, I’d be worried the crowd and loud music alone would upset him — and I suspect he would prefer the comfy couch and relaxation of a nice home ambiance. But still, I worry about how my Labrador retriever Jack is doing while I’m gone.
I have no doubt that many of you feel the same way when you’re away from your pets, whether it’s for business or pleasure. They are such an important part of our lives and one of the greatest stress relievers in existence. I know that some people become so anxious about leaving their pets that they take them practically everywhere with them on errands and to events. Sadly sometimes pet owners even stop traveling altogether.
For me, that’s not possible or desirable, but I sure do understand the emotion behind it.
Managing Your Separation Anxiety from Fido
Even if we can’t have our special dogs or cats along on a journey, we can take steps to ensure their well-being while we’re away, so we can worry less about them while we’re gone. I’m here to say that you can do you, be a great pet owner. Our pets can survive and even thrive in our absence. Here are some of my favorite ways to ensure not only my dogs comfort and happiness, but mine as well. How do you ease separation anxiety from your dog? Would love to for readers to leave comments or any suggestions!
Plan ahead. Find a pet sitter who provides a homey environment. When I travel or stay over night to see a concert my dogs stay at the pet sitter’s home. He sprawls on her sofa, play in her yard and sleep in her bed at night. It’s like sleep-away camp for canines. They have so much fun there I sometimes worry they won’t want to come home. But I’m always wrong.
Leave prepared. Leave your pets’ caretaker with detailed instructions about how to reach you if there’s a problem and what to do in case you are 80 feet underwater or staying in a safari camp and she can’t contact you. That way you can be assured that your pet sitter or boarding kennel will know how to proceed until you can be reached. It makes it a lot easier to relax when you’re gone.
Communicate. Take a tip from ET: Phone home. Whenever I’m away, I always call home to talk to Teresa — and the dogs. I get a kick out of hearing about how their ears go up and their expressions change when they hear my voice. Nowadays, we can also visit “in person,” thanks to Skype and FaceTime.
Take your pet with you — in photo form. I always travel with a picture of the dogs; I place it on the nightstand by the bed. That way, they’re the last things I see before I turn out the light, and in the morning, I wake up to their smiling faces. And, of course, I have hundreds of photos of them on my smartphone. Sharing pictures with other pet lovers I meet on my travels is a fun icebreaker. It’s almost as good as having them there with me.
How do you deal with separation anxiety from your dog? Please share!