Getting a pet is one of the biggest decisions you can make in your life. Pets, specifically dogs, require time and attention that can be hard to give them if your career requires frequent travel. The good news is that you can absolutely make it work, given you’re able to make the right arrangements for your companion while you’re away on business trips.
Find a dog sitter you trust
Whether it’s a doggy daycare or kennel, a neighbor or friend who stays at your home or a professional pet sitter who stops in multiple times a day to care for the dog, the only way you’re going to feel comfortable leaving your furry friend is if you’re leaving him or her with someone you trust. Ask for referrals from friends and take your time making this decision. Try to make arrangements as soon as you begin planning your trip, as many pet sitters and daycares fill up quickly, especially in the summer when vacations are more common.
Invest in the proper training
A well-behaved dog is a lot easier to care for than one that barks all of the time, displays aggressive behavior or doesn’t listen to basic commands. Invest in the proper training in the beginning of your dog’s life, educate their caregivers on the rules and be sure to implement them when you are home, too.
Prep your dog
Dogs are known to get separation anxiety when their owners are away for periods of time. Since they can’t tell you how they’re feeling, this anxiety can often result in aggressive or destructive behavior. When you leave your dog, whether it’s for a couple hours or a couple days, don’t make a big deal out of it, because they can sense your emotions and nervousness. If you’re planning to leave your dog at a kennel or daycare, see if you are able to visit before the trip so your dog feels more comfortable. If you are hiring a pet sitter or having a neighbor or friend help out, have that person stop over multiple times before you leave so your dog is familiar with them.
Keep your dog comfortable while you’re away
It’s best to try and maintain your dog’s schedule as best as possible while you’re away. Now isn’t a good time to change their diet or brand of food. Ensure they are fed and walked at the same time each day. If your dog is staying outside of your home, be sure to pack their bed and a favorite toy with them. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, consider packing one of your t-shirts with them.
Prepare for the unexpected
Be sure to leave emergency info with whoever is caring for your pet while you are away. This should include your contact information, where you’ll be staying, your dog’s vet information and information for the nearest emergency pet hospital.
If all else fails . . .
Though we don’t recommend doing this often (for your sake and your pet’s), in a pinch you could consider taking your dog with you on your trip. Find a pet friendly hotel and locate a doggy daycare in your destination so you don’t have to worry about him or her while you’re trying to be productive during the day.
When it comes down to it, with the right tools and the right preparation, it’s entirely possible to balance dog ownership and business travel.
Do you own a dog and travel frequently? How do you make it work? Share with us in the comments section below!