Tag Archives: pet sitter

How to Minimize Separation Anxiety When You Must Leave Your Pet

We love spending time with our dogs and if we could have it our way, they would accompany us on all adventures – vacations and business trips included! Unfortunately, not every occasion is suited to bringing our furry friends along (so you’re telling me my dog can’t be my plus one at your wedding?!) and in those instances, we turn to our next best option – pet-sitters!

While we as owners know a pet-sitting stay is a temporary arrangement, this isn’t exactly something we can communicate with our dogs. Thus, they may experience some degree of separation anxiety when they are away from us. While this stress can seem inevitable, there are a few steps you and your pet-sitter can take to minimize any anxiety. We’ve partnered with DogVacay, an online service that connects pet owners with loving pet-sitters, to share their best practices for minimizing separation anxiety.

Before You Leave:

Find the Perfect Pet-Sitter
The most important prevention tip for separation anxiety is to choose a pet-sitter based on your dog’s needs. If you have an active dog or a puppy that is happiest after they’ve spent the day running around, consider looking for someone who has a yard, can offer long walks or has other dogs that yours can play with. If your pet has experienced separation anxiety during a previous boarding or pet-sitting stay, you may want to consider a pet-sitter who offers 24/7 care or has experience dealing with this type of behavior.

Share Your Pet’s History
Has your dog stayed with a pet-sitter before, or is this their first time away from home? How long can they be left alone for? Knowing these things beforehand can help your pet-sitter anticipate the level of attention your dog will need. The more the pet-sitter knows about your dog, the better!

Share a Schedule
It’s always a good idea to share your dog’s normal schedule with your pet-sitter. Keeping your dog on a similar routine to what they experience at home can help their bodies and minds and adjust quickly to their new environment. Sharing information like what time they usually eat, when they take their walks, how many walks they take, where they sleep etc., will all be helpful information for the pet-sitter so they can make your dog as comfortable as possible.

Pack Items from Home
Bringing your dog’s bed, toys or some comfort items from home can help them establish a safe and familiar space in their pet-sitter’s home. If they are crate-trained, consider bringing their crate along with any bedding that usually goes with it. The more comfortable they are in the pet-sitter’s home, the better off they’ll be!

While You’re Away
Sometimes your dog can still experience separation anxiety despite your best efforts to prevent it. In these cases, distraction is key!

Tire the Pup Out
Some serious play time is often the best remedy. Tiring your dog out will help them expend some of their nervous energy and distract from the fact that they are away from you. If possible before you leave, take a long walk, go for a run, or spend some time playing with your dog. Encourage your pet-sitter to do the same during the stay!

Stimulate the Nose and the Mind
Have a toy or treat that your dog can focus their energy on. A Kong toy filled with something delicious is a great distraction tool – try wedging a high value treat (such as peanut butter or lunch meat) in the center of the toy so that your dog must think and work to get to it.

Play Calming Music
Sounds crazy, but it can work! Ambient sounds or relaxing instrumental music can calm an anxious dog. Share this information with your pet-sitter and have them play some mellow tunes if your dog is showing signs of anxiety when it’s time to relax for the night. There are some great “Dog Music” playlists available on YouTube, Spotify and Pandora. The radio tuned to a classical music station also works!

Remember, the key is to communicate with your pet-sitter beforehand and then ensure your dog is getting the physical and mental exercise they need while you are away. Over time, they’ll learn that your absences are only temporary and leaving will always mean that you’ll return!


Pro Packing Tips for Your Pup’s Stay With a Sitter

Trip booked? – Check
Pet-sitter booked? – Check
Ready to take that vacation? – Check, check and check!

As excited as you are to take some days for yourself, leaving your furry friend with a pet-sitter can seem slightly stressful. But not to worry, this stress can be avoided with a little preparation and a well-packed bag. We’ve asked our friends at DogVacay.com, an online service that connects pet owners with loving pet-sitters, to share their best packing tips with us for the perfect pet vacation. Here is a list of essentials for a successful and stress-free stay for your pup while you are away.

An Approximate Schedule
In a dog’s mind there is comfort with familiarity and a sudden change in routine can throw them off. Sharing your pup’s normal schedule with your sitter (i.e. what time they usually eat, drink, take walks, etc) can help them acclimate quickly to their new environment.

Food and Treats
Be sure to pack enough food and treats for the length of the stay. It’s always best if they are eating the same food and treats that they enjoy at home to avoid any tummy aches. Don’t forget any medication or supplements they normally take!

Disposable Bags

Since your pup will be eating, they will also be pooping. If your pup normally poops on leash it’s always a nice gesture to bring along some disposable bags for your sitter to pick up after him. A healthy poop is a happy dog!

Leash and Harness
There’s nothing more exciting for a pup than a nice, long walk in a new environment- all the smells to sniff and sights to see! Make sure you pack the leash and harness they normally use so that they can explore with confidence.

Where does your pup normally sleep? In a crate? A dog bed? On the floor? Don’t forget to pack their favorite bedding so that everyone can have a good night’s rest. If they don’t have a preference that’s ok too – just communicate this with their sitter.

Toys or Comfort Items from Home
Last but not least, having a little bit of home to take with your pup can help ease any separation anxiety they may experience. A toy, blanket or just something that smells like home can be a source of comfort for any initial loneliness.

Remember- comfort and familiarity are key. So if there’s something that your pup can’t live without when he’s at home be sure to bring it along on his stay. Your (and your pup’s) vacation will fly by and you will be reunited before you know it – both well rested!

3 Ways to Tell You Picked the Right Pet Sitter

Choosing a pet sitter can be incredibly stressful. We all love our pets like family and want the very best for them! But how do you know if the sitter you’ve selected is the right one for your dog?

Our friends at DogVacay – the leading online service connecting pet owners with the best sitters across the U.S. and Canada – have given us some tips on how to find the perfect sitter for your pet.

Whether you’re a first-time boarder or just getting to know a new dog caretaker, here are three signs to look for that you’ve chosen the very best sitter for your dog.

1.Their reviews speak highly of their experience.

Thanks to sites like DogVacay, dog sitters can now be reviewed online like everything else! Dog lovers are a close-knit community, so knowing how other owners felt after their dog’s stay with a particular sitter can give you some serious peace of mind. Read the online reviews of your sitter carefully and look for things that make you feel reassured. Have past guests spoken highly of the host’s punctuality and attentiveness? Are there pictures of the host sitter with happy-looking pooches?

It’s also a great sign when the sitter you’ve chosen has a lot of return clients. It’s a huge sign of trust when a dog owner leaves their pet in someone’s care not once, but multiple times. Think of online reviews as referrals from friends and family…your dog friends and family!

2. They never make you feel like a burden.

A great dog sitter will understand your anxiety about leaving your dog with someone new. They’ll never push you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with and they’ll start your interactions by being polite and responsive, either online or over the phone. They won’t make you feel like a nuisance when you ask for a meet-and-greet (which is, by the way, always a good idea!) and they’ll be friendly and comfortable with your pet when you meet in person.

Once you leave your dog with a sitter, they should reassure you as much as necessary. A sitter who frequently sends pictures and updates is a thoughtful one! They understand that taking care of a dog parent’s anxiety is as important as taking care of the dog’s. Be sure to be very upfront with you dog sitter about how much communication you expect while your dog is in their care and if you want an update, don’t hesitate to ask!

3. Your dog doesn’t want to leave!

If you’ve left your dog with a new pet sitter, you’re probably excited to get home and pick him up! If your dog doesn’t immediately bound in your direction when you open the door, don’t be offended – that’s a great sign he’s comfortable where he is! Hopefully your dog will learn to feel calm, reassured, and at home in your dog sitter’s presence.

When you pick your dog up, a great pet sitter will show genuine signs of sadness that your pup’s stay is over! If they’ve formed a connection over the stay, you’ll probably be able to tell. The sitter shouldn’t hesitate to give you a report on how your dog did. If they bring up something troubling (your dog was anxious the whole first day or that he wouldn’t eat, for example), take that as a sign they’re willing to be open and honest with you in the dog’s best interest.

At the end of the day, knowing you’ve found a great pet sitter is more about gut feeling than anything else. If you feel comfortable with the person tasked with watching your dog, your dog will feel comfortable, too. They pick up on our emotions!

The easiest way to ensure you’re searching reputable, experienced pet sitters is to use a trusted online platform like DogVacay.com. With reviews from thousands of dog owners around the world, it’s impossible not to find a dog sitter you love!