How to make sure your pet is happy and cared for when you and the family are away!

It’s holiday season! But you’re a pet owner…Even though you love seeing new places and revisiting old favourites, the one thing that is always difficult is leaving your pets behind. Here are some of my favourite tips on how to make sure your furry family members are happy and healthy while you’re gone!!

Plan ahead. Before taking off, give yourself time to find the right person or service to care of them. Consider the dates you’re leaving, if it’s at peak holiday times get organised early to book your pet care.

Leave your pets at home. We understand some pets are happier at home in their own environment with their usual smells, and surroundings. A lot of pet owners also have more than one pet and possibly fish, rabbits, birds the list can go on and on. See if you can have a friend house/pet sit or engage a professional service like My Pet Watch to come to visit them each day, walk them, play with them, clean the yard and feed them. This means your pet(s) get to enjoy the comforts of being in their own home. 

Insurance. A lot of pet owners these days have pet insurance, but what about the people who care for your pets? Using a professional service can alleviate this concern.

Leave prepared. Leave your pet’s minder with detailed instructions about how to reach you if there’s a problem and what to do in case you are 80 feet underwater diving or staying in a safari camp and she or he can’t contact you. Your vet’s details, microchip numbers, your pet’s like and dislikes, food intake and meal requirements, favourite toys, beds, blanket and an emergency contact if you’re unreachable. The more information the better. That way you can be assured that they can proceed until you can be reached. It also makes it a lot easier for you to relax when you’re gone.

Collars and name tags. Even at home, have your dog or cat wear a collar that has your phone number on it. You’ll be happy you did this, in case they ever try to run away.

Communicate. Take a tip from ET: Phone home. Your pets love to hear your voice! Thanks to technology nowadays, we can also visit “in person,” thanks to Skype and FaceTime. There is now even a PetCam device that you can hire through My Pet Watch and self-monitor your pets through an app on your smart device.       

Take your pet with you — in photo form. Kids often miss their pets when away. Slip photos of them in your purse or wallet to pull out when they are needed most. Alternately you may have hundreds of photos of them on your smartphone. Sharing your photos with other animal lovers while you’re on holidays is always a great conversation maker!

Don’t make a big deal when you leave and return. Long goodbyes and hellos can make your pets feel nervous and can lead to separation anxiety. To help keep your pet calm, walk out like you’ll be back in a minute, and when you return, greet them like it hasn’t been that long. Pretending like it’s not a big deal will help them think so too. 

By Natasha Morgan, security and pet care expert and founder of My Home Watch.