How to prepare for a vacation without your dog

How to prepare for a vacation without your dog

You are counting the days until a wonderful holiday. Unfortunately, you cannot take your dog or cat on your trip…

Don’t worry! There are steps you can take to reduce the stress of time away from you and your pet.

Below you will find tips from Dr. Melanie on how to prepare for vacation without a dog or cat, including how to:

  • Plan to take care of your pet
  • Make your pet more comfortable while you are away
  • Make your return easier

Plan in advance

  • Explore your pet care options . At Castle Rock, you have several options: local boarding houses, pet sitters, the home of a friend or relative, or a responsible neighbor or friend to check in. t always possible.)
  • Make plans to get up or sit down in advance . The schedules for pet groomers and dog houses fill up quickly, especially during the summer months and around the holidays at Castle Rock. The sooner you reserve a place, the better.
  • Help your pet learn about your chosen boarding option. Ask the dog breeders if they have free days you can visit and make sure your pet feels comfortable. If your dog is staying with a friend or relative, be sure to make a “play date” or two at that person’s home to make your dog more familiar with the surroundings and his new pack. If you’ve hired a pet sitter or person to check in, have that person come a few times before your flight, so your pet can feel more relaxed.
  • Get pet vaccination records in order and have them handy , no matter who’s monitoring your pet. For dogs, most kennels require proof of Bordetella vaccination, rabies vaccination, and the DA2PP vaccine (offspring). For cats, kennels usually require the FELV and rabies vaccines. Ask in advance what vaccinations are required and what vaccinations they should be up to date.
  • If your pet’s vaccination period has passed, visit your vet at least five days before boarding begins . Vaccinations, such as the Bordetella vaccine, take five days to become active and provide immunity. (If your pet does not get their vaccinations in time, they will not be immunized.) Some Castle Rock kennels require vaccinations up to seven days in advance, so be sure to check the rules for your kennel.

Get ready for the unexpected

  • Always have an emergency sheet on who is caring for your pet . Include:
    (1) your contact information while traveling
    (2) the name of your pet’s veterinary clinic
    (3) the vet’s phone number and address
    (4) contact information for your nearest 24-hour pet hospital, in case your pet requires emergency care after Hours.
  • On your emergency sheet, specify the types of decisions the caretaker is allowed to make for your pet up to a specified dollar amount . Or, you may want to note that you want to be contacted before doing anything and how to get what you want. (Before you leave, make sure your caregiver is comfortable with whatever decision-making power you want to give him or her.)

Make your dog or cat more comfortable

  • Keep your pet’s food consistent, if possible.
  • If your pet is going to someone else’s home or shelter, take out your pet’s bed, a familiar toy, and/or an old T-shirt that smells like home . (Check with your kennel to make sure there are no restrictions.)
  • Talk to your vet about what you can do to help your pet relax. If you know your dog has diarrhea when stressed, your vet may be able to give you medication on hand when you get home from your trip. Your vet may be able to suggest some natural supplements to help reduce your cat’s anxiety. If you know your dog feels more secure in a Thunder T-shirt, this is also an option.
  • Plan to spend more time with your pet before you leave. We know that giving your dog or cat a lot of attention before vacation can be difficult, but if you can include it in your schedule, it will come in handy.
  • Get your pet’s carrying bag a few days in advance , so your cat or dog gets used to seeing it.

What do you expect when you come back

  • Your cat may be isolated for several days after your return . It’s a normal reaction! As long as your cat eats and uses the litter box, there is no need to worry. If two or three days have passed and your cat is hiding and not eating, call your vet.
  • Your dog may have diarrhea when you return. This is also normal. Keeping your dog’s food consistent while you’re gone can help offset the effects of anxiety, but it’s best to be prepared. If your dog has diarrhea for more than two days, is not eating, is not behaving normally, or is vomiting and lethargic, contact your vet.


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