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Authored by Alice Ross

One of the downsides of traveling to explore the world is leaving our furry friends behind for a period of time. While you have the option to take them with you, depending on where you’re planning to go, you don’t want them to get quarantined, do you?

On top of this, there’s the hassle of finding accommodation. No matter how charming our pet is, most hosts don’t accommodate animals. So a lot of people find themselves without much choice but to leave their pets behind.

The thing is, however, that in their place, develops worry, and an anxiety which sticks with us throughout our trip.

Managing the Anxiety of Leaving Your Pet Behind to Travel

Separation Anxiety Disorder

While, Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is normal for pets, particularly dogs, when their humans are away, humans ourselves actually suffer from the same.

If you’re not aware of this yet, this form of anxiety is a well-documented psychological condition wherein a person experiences extreme anxiety concerning separation from things they are familiar with. I’ve personally been through this several times.

Those who don’t have an idea what pet ownership is like might have thought I was having a co-dependent relationship with my dogs. Well, perhaps I do. I always miss my boys whenever I’m away, but more than that, I’m worried that they’re sad without my company.

While I know that they’re just probably asleep most of the time when I’m not home, I can’t still help but to worry. I just hate the thought of them staring outside the window all day waiting for me to come back.

Dog pet RF

Learning to Cope with SAD

Fortunately for me, I have learned to cope better with being away. Having peace of mind knowing that furry babies are in good hands helped me a lot.

I learned how to not swim against the current of the situation, and trust that they’re going to be fine and going to be in one piece even without my presence.

But in order for me to finally accept in this mindset, I always had to make sure that my dog receives the best care possible while I’m away. But how do I do this?

Depending on where I’m going and for how long, here are the options I always choose from:

Find a House and Pet Sitter

Thanks to today’s technology, finding someone to look after your pets has become a lot easier.

You’re able to hire a pet sitter from different sitters’ organizations like National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Pet Sitters International, and if there are others in your local area, that’s even better. The Rover app is an incredible resource for finding pet sitters, and you get daily updates through photos and videos.

Alternatively, you can hire a house sitter to look after your home while you are away (a lot of the time this is a free exchange of accommodation for the house sitter). A house sitter’s job is not only to look after your home, but also to look after your pets.

Dog

Housesitting Wesbites

There are websites like TrustedHouseSitters where you can find someone to take over for you, and in return, you will give them a free accommodation to your home during the time you are away. These people are also travelers who are looking to save money on hotels, so it’s a win/ win.

I was kind of hesitant to use these websites at first – which is, I know, understandable – but then I learned that they do proper verification process on house sitters they allow on the website, which includes criminal background checks, I.D. verifications, and I.D document checks.

Book into a Pet Hotel

Another great option is a pet hotel, especially if you are not traveling long term. What I love about pet hotels is that they offer a lot of services.

As the name suggests, a pet hotel is a boarding for pets. Animal hotels are not simply tons of kennels where they will keep your pet in; instead, they’re lavish places to get your pet pampered.

Here they can play, do exercises, get groomed, and interact with other animals.

Dog puppy pet RF

Consider Your Local Vet or Groomer

Did you know that you can actually leave your pet at your veterinary? Surely there’s no-one better qualified to look after your furry babies than a vet!

A lot of veterinarian clinics offer boarding services. If ever your pets get sick they will immediately be taken care of. On top of this, a veterinarian knows your pets and understands how to deal with them.

You can also check with your pets groomer if you have one. A lot of groomers also work at kennels or animal hospitals, and between grooming and nail clipping, they’ve already likely seen the pup at their most aggravated.

Conclusion

No matter which of the above options you choose, the most important thing to keep in mind is to find the situation that is going work best for your pet; one that narrowly reminds them of their home environment.

If your pet is the nervous type, then they may not feel secure in an extremely social environment like pet hotels, so keep that in mind. Meanwhile, if your dog can be a little bit aggressive towards strangers, you may want to introduce them properly to your pet sitter before leaving for vacation.

Hopefully, this article helped you how you can keep yourself from worrying about your pet while you are away. Know that you are not alone, I’ve been there and I know it’s tough!

Now, your job is to make sure that they are safe and in the hands of people who will truly show them the same love as you do while you are gone.

PRODUCTS WE LOVE IF YOU DECIDE TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR PET ↓

Mr. Peanut’s Airline Approved Soft Sided Pet Carrier

Comsun Collapsible Dog Bowl

Portable Pet Bento Bowl Set Leak Proof

INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Alice worked as a bank manager until she decided to leave her comfort zone and quit her 9 to 5. This decision allowed her to travel, which taught her knowledge, skills, and humanity that she wouldn’t have learnt wearing a formal suit five times a week.

She blogs about her journey at For Travelista with the mission to travel the world on a budget and convince more people to do the same.

    24 Comments

  1. This post hits so close to home right now because one of my fur-babies is really sick which has made life and travel planning so tough! I have 3 Italian Greyhound babies and I’ve been lucky to have had family watch them when I travel. But it’s nerve-wracking in the best of situations. Thanks for offering pet-lovers some great tips.

    • So sorry to hear that one of your babies is sick Jackie!!! Nothing worse, I hope he/she makes a really quick recovery. So ideal to be able to count on family to take them in when you’re traveling; I’m glad that Alice’s tips were helpful 🙂

      Thinking of your fur babies! XX

  2. Leaving my two bulldogs behind is pretty much the only thing I dislike about travelling. It definitely helps being able to leave them with someone I trust- thanks mom! 😉

    • It’s so wonderful that your mom can take them for you when you travel, and I’m sure they love being able to go to the same person each time 🙂

  3. I can so relate to this post — I feel so bad every time I leave my cat alone for a few days, even when I know he’s probably fine! I’ve been lucky enough to have family watch him when I go for longer trips, but I think this year I’m going to have to try to find a petsitter or try Trusted Housesitting — thanks for the tips on the other petsitting sites; I’ll definitely check them out too. It’s tough with cats because even though they’re low-maintenance, they are easily traumatized by leaving their surroundings, so it’s always better to get someone to come to your home and take care of them than to board them (even if they got all the fancy pet hotel amenities!). Anyway, glad I’m not the only one who worries!

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Carrie – it’s definitely nice to be able to have family come in and help out.

      I’ve never owned a cat so I wasn’t aware that they are easily traumatized by leaving their surroundings – I always assumed they loved to sneak out and explore and then find their way home again 😀 But if that’s the case, I think a pet sitter is a good idea.

      Definitely not the only one who worries! But glad Alice’s tips were helpful for you 🙂 Happy travels!

  4. We now have grown children. They keep trying to get us to get a pet but we are not going there. As you have said, there is a lot of responsibility that comes when you have a pet. And they are not always as easy to get sitters for as children! I certainly know that dogs can sense sickness and the owners mood. Did not know they are affected by SAD. There seem to be so many more good options for pet care these day.

    • It’s probably one of those things where they want you to get a pet, but then when you go traveling, will they volunteer to look after it lol

      Yes, there are definitely a lot of responsibilities involved – we had a family dog growing up, and when we became grown adults, it was rare that everyone in the family would be away at the same time, so there was always someone to look after him. But definitely not as easy to find sitters for than children are! My sister has big dogs now though and it’s always difficult to convince someone to take them on when they go on a family holiday. Luckily though as you said, there are a lot of options for paid pet care 🙂

      Glad we could give you some info about SAD – I didn’t know that they were affected either until Alice submitted this post 🙂

  5. Although I’m not a pet owner, I can relate to the idea of the becoming unsettled outside the familiar. What I didn’t know is that animals, particular dogs suffer from SAD. Having a pet is a huge responsibility and since I love traveling so much, I can’t do that to a pet. Nonetheless, there are lots of good tips here for pet owners, like using house sitters.

    • I’m in the same situation as you – I did have a puppy before I moved out of home, though a family dog, but with the amount I travel, I wouldn’t be able to keep up the responsibility of having a pet. And honestly I would probably be too sad to leave them at home!! So it’s always nice to have someone like Alice guest post about a subject I’m not familiar with. Glad you enjoyed the tips despite not having one of your own 🙂

  6. My only pet these days is a Sundog (just kidding.) It is heart breaking to leave a pet alone or in a new environment without familiars. I have friends like you who go through the worries and the expense whenever they get away. My indoor/outdoor cat promptly moved in with my retired neighbors when I began traveling often. I was happy for him but sad for me. Pets are wonderful but I won’t get even a goldfish until I’m ready to stay put! (Never if I have anything to do with it!)

    • Lol what’s a sundog? It really can be heartbreaking to leave a pet at home – to so many people they’re an extension of your family, and it’s like leaving a baby. It’s nice to hear that you have really caring neighbors who were willing to adopt your cat though. And at least it sounds like you can visit when you do go home! He lives with them permanently now?

  7. I didn’t realize that pets could get Separation Anxiety Disorder, but it makes sense! My husband and I have been looking into pet sitting when we head out on our travels later this year. We love animals, but can’t commit to having our own pets as we move and are traveling too often. We feel like it just wouldn’t be fair to them! It would be great to have the chance to spend time with sweet dogs and other pets, and give them love and attention while their owners are away.

    • I didn’t either until Alice submitted her guest post! Though I did know that animals can get very stressed when forced into a new environment so it does make sense.

      If you’re traveling a lot, but love animals, becoming a pet sitter sounds like a great way to balance them both! And then you can also feel good in knowing that a worried pet owner out there is getting a reliable, loving person to watch after their pets 🙂

  8. Aww, I’ve never had to leave a pet behind but I love looking after pets for friends – I’ve dog-sat a couple of times at my home, and would love to give house/pet-sitting a try – I’ll check out those pet-sitting websites to help out all you pet-owners who travel! No need to worry about SAD when there is someone taking such good care of your furry friend, although I’m sure it’s tough to leave them behind!

    • Absolutely Claire! If you love animals, but travel too frequently to keep a pet at home, becoming a pet sitter is a great approach. And exactly – you get to know that you’re helping someone out who would usually be worried sick! It definitely eases the stress when they know there’s someone reliable and loving taking care of their pet 🙂

  9. Oh this is the hardest thing about traveling, especially long term. We leave our cute little pup at home with my parents who are the best, most gracious pet-sitters ever. However, Brady is the very first thing we miss while traveling.

    • I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to travel for long periods of time and miss them so terribly. But it’s fantastic that your parents are willing to help out – I’m sure Brady appreciates the stability of having a pet sitter who he knows too 🙂

  10. Great timing! We are headed to Spain in a few months and thinking of what to do with our furbaby. Thinking of going the housesitting route. Our cat loves cuddles and would love to have someone here at the house with him.

    • Hope you have an amazing time in Spain! Housesitting is a great option because they can stay in their own environment, and especially if he loves attention, it’s probably a good way to have someone there for more time out of the day 🙂

  11. I think separation anxiety is one of the reasons why I am hesitant to have pets yet. I love cats, but I’m worried to leave it at home while we travel for many reasons. We live in a small city where there aren’t many pet hotels or other services where we can leave pets for a long period of time. Maybe hiring a pet sitter is an alternative option we can consider.

    • Hiring a pet sitter, or having a house sitter come in while you’re taking a trip is a great way to go, and house sitters can often be travelers who are visiting your city and looking for accommodation. So it’s a win/win.

      Alternatively though if you’re an animal lover and do travel a lot, you could become a pet sitter yourself. Might be a nice balance before getting a pet yourself 🙂

  12. We also are lucky enough to have my mom pup sit! Leaving our two dogs with strangers seems heartbreaking.

    • How wonderful to be able to rely on you mom Michelle 🙂 And I’m sure the dogs enjoy the stability of being left with someone they know. Happy travels!

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