As Brits jet off overseas this summer, Battersea is urging them to do their research before leaving their dog in someone else’s care while they travel.
From introducing brain games to packing their favourite toys, blankets and treats to remind them of home, the animal charity has shared tips on how owners can ensure their dogs are as stress-free and relaxed as possible whilst they are away.
Janine Pemberthy, canine behaviour training manager at Battersea, said: “Leaving your dog in someone else’s care whilst you are on holiday can be a daunting but sometimes unavoidable decision.
“We have some useful tips to help your pet stay safe and relaxed while you are away, such as ensuring your pet’s ID tag and microchip are up to date and keeping them mentally stimulated with new toys and games.”
Making sure your dog’s microchip is up to date is extremely important, so that if things did go wrong, you can be reunited like Eddie the eight-year-old Boxer.
Eddie was staying with a neighbour while his owner was away on business, however the cheeky Boxer had managed to escape from the garden and was brought to Battersea by a member of the public.
Thanks to his microchip, the team at Battersea were able to call Eddie’s owner straight away, who came to pick him up as soon as he had landed back in the UK.
Upon their arrival, Eddie was happy, bouncy, and excited to be reunited with his owner.
Battersea’s tips for ensuring your dog is safe when you leave them to go on holiday:
Do your research
When leaving your pet in someone else’s care whilst you’re away, make sure they are with someone that you know and trust, whether they are a sitter, friend, family member or a pet professional.
Make sure you always check the kennel or sitter’s business reviews and take your dog for a visit before you depart on your trip to ensure you are happy with where you will be leaving them and to get to know the facilities.
Visiting your dog’s temporary home before you travel will also give them the chance to become familiar and inspect their new environment. It is important to also make sure that your dog is covered by appropriate insurance for all eventualities.
Check your dog’s ID tag and microchip
If your dog were to go missing while you are on holiday, their ID tag on their collar will be people’s first port of call.
To make sure whoever is looking after them is contactable, consider temporarily changing their disc with the details of where they are staying whilst you are gone.
It is not advised to change your dog’s microchip details to their temporary location, however you should check these details are up to date with your current address and a phone number you can always be reached on, even if abroad.
Stick to a routine
Lots of things will already be changing for your dog, so keeping their routine consistent will be extra beneficial.
Make sure you share your dog’s typical routine with whoever is looking after them, including when they usually have their walks, toilet breaks and meals to keep your pet as stress-free as possible.
Keep things familiar
Think about what your dog likes and if there are any items that usually help them to relax.
For example, their favourite bedding, treats and toys will help them feel a little more at home during their stay.
Distract your dog
If you keep your dog’s brain busy it may help to take their mind off of the fact that you’re not around.
For example, there are lots of ways you can use toys and food to create fun games and challenges for your dog.
Make sure to experiment with what they like first and prepare some brain games for them to play whilst you are gone.
While food is a good distraction, be careful not to overfeed your dog.
If your dog is already crate trained, it can be useful to transport their crate to their temporary home.
This can provide them with a safe and familiar space until they get used to their new environment.
If your dog doesn’t usually use a crate, you will need to teach them how by first building up a positive association with using a dog crate.