Leaving your pup for an extended period of time can be difficult for both you and your pet. While we love to travel, leaving our dog always has me emotional on departure. With a fairly long trip coming soon, I’ve been researching even more ideas to help our dog have fun while we’re gone and have added those to our tried-and-true tips. Below are 5 tips for keeping your dog from being bored when you travel.
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Your options for helping your dog when you are gone will be different depending on who and where your dog is staying with. If you choose to board your pup, many boarding businesses have some of these proven boredom-busters built into their program, but many will allow you to bring your own items. If you will have a pet sitter or friend or family member coming over to watch your pup, then the ownership is all on you to have these items or methods available.
Being left alone can cause a lot of impatience, destruction, and barking. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure your pup has enough stimulation while you’re away and stays happy until you return.
Toys and Games
There are new items becoming available all the time to entertain your pet. One category that is popular now are interactive puzzle toys. These toys require your pup to figure out a problem in order to get a treat. This type of activity is both stimulating and rewarding and can help to reduce boredom while you are away.
Another type of toy that we love are the balls that you can add a treat to that then fall out as your pet is playing with it. Some of them even make a sound like a giggle! These toys encourage your dog to get up and move around while home alone.
Below are some toys that are recommended to combat boredom in dogs. (Note: Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how and for how long you can leave an item alone with your dog.)
Treats and Chews
If your pooch is a chewer, you can purchase a variety of chews that they can munch on while they are waiting for you to come home. This way, your pup won’t be tempted to chew on something they shouldn’t be. There are a variety of chews available now, some with rawhide, some without. I recommend trying these before you go on your trip to see what your pet likes, make sure nothing makes your dog feel ill, and then stock up on his favorites. Our dog loves the bully sticks!
Keep in mind that some chews are not recommended for your pup to chew while alone. These may be great treats for your pet sitter to give your pup while hanging out outside getting some fresh air.
In addition to these chews, using a Kong or lick mat can help keep their minds active and thinking, while also providing them with a much-needed distraction while you’re away. We purchased these lick mats for our dog a few months ago. You can spread peanut butter or another dog-approved spreadable treat. They say licking can help with anxiety as well as keeping your pup busy.
(Note: Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if these items are suitable to leave alone with your dog.)
Supplements and Comfort Items
Unfortunately, sometimes boredom can lead to anxiety. If your dog needs a bit more than the other ideas we’ve talked about, supplements and some comfort items can be helpful. If your dog tends to be anxious when there is a storm or fireworks, you can also communicate that to whomever is watching your pet and ask them to implement one of these solutions if they anticipate a storm or it is a holiday when fireworks are common.
There are a number of items available, everything from the popular thunder vest to calming chews and even a comforting bed. We’ve used calming bites and felt like they helped our pup. We also have a comfortable bed for him but if yours is like ours and prefers the couch, the calming cozy couch cover is a great option.
(Note: Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine if these items are suitable for your dog.)
Make sure your pup is getting plenty of exercise while you’re gone as well. Going outside and having the chance to run around a bit is a great way to help keep your pup entertained, and it can do wonders for their overall health.
Have a pet sitter or friend or family member take them to the dog park or on walks around the neighborhood. This is a great way to help expend all that energy that can build up while they’re cooped up in the house. Even just letting your pooch run around the backyard can be a nice break for them during the day. Take it up a notch and have your helper throw a ball or frisbee.
Here are some great examples of items to help keep outdoor play with your pet fun.
Finally, how can you entertain your pup without treats or toys? There are a few ways (and no these don’t involve teaching your dog how to use the TV remote!).
You can leave your pup with an audio or visual distraction when you are not there to entertain them. This can be anything from playing a TV show for them to watch or music for them to listen to. We often opt for white noise to help drown out outside noise and reduce barking. We love the Homedics machine below and have used it for years (we also used this in our son’s room when he was younger and trying to sleep!) but we are upgrading to the Yogasleep machine before our next trip. This machine is made specifically for dogs and even has a built-in bark sensor!
This new item has me super excited to try for our next trip. To me, this is the ultimate item to help when you are away from your dog. It combines giving your dog a treat, entertainment for you both and the ability to communicate with your best friend. This is the item we will be trying on our next trip – the Furbo! This awesome gadget allows you to give Fido a treat remotely and even see them! Our pet sitter is fantastic about sending us pictures but to me, being able to see our dog on camera whenever I want is a great thing.
By following these tips, you can help ensure your pup remains content while you are away. So don’t forget the interactive toys, exercise, and lots of cuddles before you go! Your pooch will thank you for it!
Now, give your dog a big smooch and go see something! ✈️
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