Your pets are members of your family, and leaving for vacation may be hard on all of you. With some preparation, however, you can set up your pets for success before you leave. Canine behavior, psychology and pet owners experience advise that following these steps will help your pets be ready for your absence.

Who will care for your pets?

You can board your pets with a veterinarian or at a kennel, but hiring an in-home pet sitter is often easier on your fur babies. They are able to stay in the comfort of their familiar surroundings while avoiding the stress and illnesses that can be caused by being housed with many unfamiliar animal’s,  Whatever you choose, be sure to inform the care givers of the needs, routines, and quirks of your pets. Also provide all necessary health information, including your vet’s contact information.

Preparing Your Pets for Your Trip

  1. Spend some extra time together.
    Spending extra time with your pets before you leave can help. Your pets appreciate all of the time they have 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.
  2. Meet your pet sitter prior to your trip.
    Allow your pets and care giver to meet before you leave. They will feel like they’re staying with someone they know rather than with a stranger.
  3. Inform the pet sitter about separation anxiety or any other health concerns.
    If your pets have any health concerns or experience separation anxiety, talk to their caregiver about these symptoms.
  4. Leave some items with your familiar scents on them.
    One of the many advantages of having a pet sitter come to your home is that your pet’s surroundings will remain familiar as will the smells that they know. This will make them feel more comfortable and secure. However, even if your pet is staying elsewhere, you can pack a piece of home to go with them. Other comforting items include:


    • Your pet’s usual food and treats
    • One of your shirts or a pair of your socks
    • A special blanket. Burrowing is a comforting action for many pets.
  5. 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 them, they will feel anxious about you leaving as well. If you’re feeling comfortable (though of course, you’ll miss them), your pets will feel the same way.
  6. Provide your pet with distractions.
    Choose a few new chews and toys or other treat-dispensing toys to give your pet on the day of departure. Novelty will keep your pets interested and distracted.

Note: if your pet will be staying in a home with other pets or in a boarding facility, avoid sending the toy or chew, as it can provoke territorial behavior.

The Bottom Line

Your pets will miss you, just as you will absolutely miss them. Just remember: if you’re comfortable, your pets will be more comfortable. Project calm confidence, plan ahead, and you’ll both feel more ready for your temporary separation. And maybe. . just maybe. . . you pet may miss you just a little less than you thought.