Fun up North! Visiting family

Taking your dog(s) away – how easy is it?

I’m an old hand at dog ownership, but taking my dogs away is still stressful.  I don’t take them ALL away, although I hope to do that next year.  I am fortunate that I can leave some of them here with family or friends and that is one less thing to worry about.  So what do you need to think about when taking dogs away, or leaving them behind?

My girls are all pretty well behaved around other people and can be looked after by just about anyone.  They are easy to walk, as they always come when they are called and they don’t usually complain when left.  They do get on with other dogs, on the whole, so are fine to stay with other dogs.

They love people, so are great to cuddle up to on the sofa.  That’s fine, as long as the sofa is OK for dogs!

They do usually settle down in strange places.  They often stop eating properly when they are away, which is fine for a few days and to be expected.  Dogs usually sort themselves out after a while.

Packing for your dog

Here’s a checklist of what to pack:

  • food, including treats and bedtime snacks
  • bowls, including something for water, especially in a non-dog friendly house
  • bedding – take spare in case of accidents
  • crate for puppy – an absolute must if puppy will be left.  Most people don’t really want strange dogs in their bedrooms, so dogs must be able to be safely left.
  • towels – really important if it’s muddy in the garden
  • leads – I keep spare in the car so I always have one to hand
  • ID tags – vital to have these when you are away
  • toys – if you have a young dog, don’t forget to take some toys with you, as your visitors won’t be impressed if your pup chews up their house!

Of course you also need appropriate clothing for you to go on walks with your dog.  It’s not quite as much stuff as when taking a baby away, but it’s not much less!

What about the dogs left behind?

Here’s a checklist of information to provide:

  • Reminders about providing plenty of fresh water
  • Clear explanations of feeding regime
  • Tel no of your vet
  • Medications – dosage and timing
  • Walk instructions – I’m really fussy about the amount of ball throwing I want other people to do/not do, so that the dogs are not over-exerted.  I don’t want my dogs walked on lead, as that is not a proper walk.  I would rather they were not walked than kept on lead!

Of course your dog sitter should be able to contact you with any queries or concerns, but often they feel that they don’t want to bother you.  So any guidance you can provide is helpful.

A final point about taking your dog away; they must be good in the car.  They need a clear space in which to travel safely, preferably with water to hand.  You should stop regularly to allow them to toilet.  It is handy to teach them to go whilst on lead, so that they can go anywhere.  I will talk about travelling by car soon.

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