The Local Woof is a column that’s sponsored and written by the staff of Woofs! Dog Training Center. Woofs! has full-service dog training, boarding, and daycare facilities, near Shirlington and Ballston.
As school comes to a close for the year it’s time for summer vacations. Where to go? What to do? And who is going to take care of the dog?
If you can’t take your dog with you, the next best option is to have a family member or friend stay at your house. A familiar environment will help your pup cope with the stress of you being away. But sometimes that isn’t possible and you need to find a boarding facility.
The best boarding option is a facility that your dog attends regularly. Facilities that offer daycare and boarding often work well. The daycare option allows your dog to become familiar with the staff and the other dogs that attend regularly. For them it’s like a home away from home. Dogs who attend daycare regularly at WOOFS! are happy and healthy during boarding as well.
If your dog is stressed in the presence of other dogs they might do better in a traditional boarding environment where they do not interact with other dogs all day. Every dog is different, and luckily there are many options available in the area. In-home petsitting is a great option for dogs who don’t board well.
But for many dogs, boarding is stressful no matter what you do. Some dogs become incredibly anxious or depressed. Prolonged stress often leads to associated illnesses including gastrointestinal problems, weight loss and upper respiratory infections. Be sure to talk to your boarding provider and find out how your dog copes while you are away. If your dog does experience excessive amount of distress it might be time to find an alternative form of care.
So how can you help your stressed out dog survive a week away from home? First, be sure to book your petsitter as far ahead as possible. This gives you time to set up meetings and test runs with the caregiver so that your dog can become comfortable with them and the environment. Or, take the time to get your dog used to staying at a particular facility. Obviously, this is going to require paying for services that you don’t necessarily need, but it will more than pay for itself when your dog has an easier time while you away. It might even avoid the cost of a post vacation vet visit.
If all of this preparation is still not enough, talk to your vet. Just like in people, there are anti-anxiety medications that might help.
If you are getting a new puppy this summer, start getting them used to being away from you right away. Send your puppy to a friends for an occasional weekend even if you don’t need to travel. This is an important part of their socialization experiences and should happen two or three times before your pup is 6 months old. This will certainly help get them used to being away from you and make your future vacations away less stressful for everyone.