Pet owner’s guilt is a real thing. And a terrible one at that. The guilt over leaving your pet behind can cause stress over what to do with your furry friend, or, even worse, make you not want to travel at all. A survey conducted in the USA by TrustedHousesitters.com that was covered by the media in May this year shows that half of pet owners do not travel because they can’t find any satisfying pet care solutions.
If that wasn’t enough, the majority of pet owners who do travel feel guilty over leaving their dog behind. And that majority is overwhelming, a whooping 72% of those who own a pet. And don’t I know it! Ares’ first trip abroad happened because my mom was in tears (and I was sick with worry) over the possibility of leaving our dog at a pet hotel for three days. We have nothing against pet hotels, we just hand’t had any experiences, so we hadn’t tested any. This was, after all, a last minute trip that eventually led to us taking him with us.
To help those new at either owning pets, or travelling while having them, I’ve come up with this handy inphographic that gives you a few ideas of what to do with your furry friends while you travel. It makes it easy to save and remember what options you have, and there’s a code for you to copy paste if you want to share it on different blogs.
Check it out and read below for a more detailed review of all three options, with pros and cons, because I’ve tried them all!
Infographic: Where to leave Your Pet When Traveling
Code to Share
<a href="http://wp.me/p6RG5l-2i"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-144" src="http://pettraveltales.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/pet-free-travel-inphographic.png" alt="where to leave your pet when you travel" width="800" height="2000" /></a>
Now, let’s analyze each of these options (base on my thoughts and experience)!
1. Have a Close Friend or Relative Pet-Sit
This is the alternative of babysitting for your pets. You ask someone you trust and who’s at ease with the pet to come and stay with them. I love this option, because the pet does not have to be taken out of their home and taken somewhere else. So they only have to deal with you not being around for a while, not with a new place as well. Depending on your relationship with them, this might only cost you the food in your fridge and a favor or two down the line.
If you don’t have friends or relatives who can help, you can hire a dog sitter. Unless you have someone tested and approved, if this is a spur of the moment trip, it will still stress you out. You’ll worry about pets and property and it will cost you more.
2. Leave Your Pet With Friends
This is a great option when you can’t have someone pet sit at home. If your friends and pet are comfortable with each other, then this works like a charm. More so when they have a pet of their own. Your beloved furry companion will have a friend to play with, loving humans around, and an adventure when traveling to their house.
As in the previous case, costs are low and the guilt is severely reduced. Plus your friends will keep you updated on what the dog does.
I’ve used this option once when I traveled for two weeks for business. Ares went outside to play three times a day with his sister, Kira. He was delighted, and not really stressed about my not being there, after the first couple of hours without me. It proved a great choice because he got an ear infection, which my friends were quick to deal with.
3. Find a Reliable Dog Hotel
When you have no one to pet-sit and no friends or family who can take your dog in, a good dog hotel is a life saver. This however requires research and testing. It does not work very well with last minute trips. Even when you have a dog hotel that you’re comfortable with, things might change, and you need a few options ready.
This is by far the most expensive option you have, so if your budget is limited, it won’t really work. A good dog hotel means a lot of play time, professional care, and a vet on standby. I did this a couple of times, at a great hotel in a village ten kilometers from my city. It’s where Ares’ trainer works, so I had tested it quite a bit. However, this did add pressure to my travel budget, and I felt the need to find a better option.
What Am I Doing When I Travel Without My Dog?
Whenever I am away and I can’t take Ares with me, I now have a near-perfect solution. The dog stays at home with my mom. Ares is used to being home with her, they keep each other company, so that part is settled. The only problem? My mom has serious back issues which prevent her from being able to walk him. If he ever pulls just a little, it would be too much for her, and she also walks really slowly. So when i am away, she feeds and cares for him, while my friend Magda and her son take turns in walking Ares. Magda and I walk our dogs together every day, so this is amazing for Ares, as he gets to see his buddy Pufy when he goes outside to play.
Of course, no solution is perfect, I have to make sure Magda can actually take care of the walks when I am away. It’s a hybrid that works for us though, and so far, after three tries, it’s the best solution I’ve had so far.
What about you?
Have you had to leave a pet home while you traveled? What have you tried, and which was your best solution? Did it help reduce guilt?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!