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6 Ways to Relieve Stress on Pets When Pet Parents Go Away
 
Everybody likes to go on vacation but when you have pets as part of your family you need to consider how your absence is going effect your little buddy.  First answer a few questions about your dog or cat. 
 
Do your pets like being around other dogs and cats?  
How do your pets handle unfamiliar environments?
Do your pets have medical issues that need care 24 hours a day?
Do your pets get bored and use destructive behavior to show that they are not happy?
 
1. If you have a dog that enjoys socializing with other dogs and does well in unfamiliar environments then a kennel or pet resort may be the best way to relieve the stress your pet is feeling when you go away. The kennels of old are no more and the pet resorts available now have staff that are there to give your dog regular exercise and keep them on a regular routine. 
 
2. Cats are creatures of habits and in most cases are much happier left in the comfort of their own home. So, if you have cat’s a pet sitter is your best bet. A NAPPS Certified pet sitter will talk to you   before you leave and find out what your cat enjoys. It might be   playtime with their favorite toys or just crawling in a warm lap for some   petting or brushing.  You see cats are much more social than you may   think and they crave human interaction. If they are left for long periods   of time without any human contact they can use destructive behavior   to show their dissatisfaction at being left alone. The destructive   behavior may be in the form of litterbox issues, not eating their food,   scratching inappropriate furniture, chewing on stuff that they would     not normally do which in turn can lead to horrible digestive issues that   can only be taken care of with a visit to the vet. Your cat should be attended to at least once a day.
 
3. Play therapy is a terrific tool to use on cats when their pet parents go away. Once your pet sitter has taken care of all of the essentials such as feeding, fresh water and cleaning out the litter box just a short session of intense play time can be a huge stress relieve to cats. They may hav
e their own toys that they enjoy and most NAPPS Certified pet sitters will find out what it is that your pet enjoys before you leave so they can entice your pet into some needed exercise while you are away. As a pet sitter myself, I bring the classic feather toy on a string for cats. It mimics a bird flying through the air and is always a big hit with my cat clients.
 
4. If your dog doesn’t enjoy the companionship of other dogs then you may want to consider using a NAPPS Certified pet sitter that will take your dog for walks and give your dog much needed one on one time. Make sure your pet sitter knows your pets schedule and routines, their favorite toys, treats and games and things they like to do that makes them feel happy and comforted.  Staying as close to their schedule and routine will help reduce separation anxiety and keep destructive behavior to a minimum. 
 
5. Some dogs that have separation anxiety will chew things up, dig holes or scratch at windows or doors, howl, bark or whine or drool and pant or worse yet try to escape as soon as a door is opened. If you are having these problems with your dog the first thing you should do before you leave for any kind of extended time is have your dog checked out by a qualified veterinarian.   
If the vet has ruled out any medical problems there are a few things you can try while you are away. Your pet sitter should be aware of these issues before you leave and given instructions to try these different options in your absence. A few things to try are to leave some clothes that smell like you around for you dog to lay with like a T-shirt or favorite blanket.  Puzzle toy feeders are an option that I’ve found helpful as a NAPPS Certified pet sitter.  One option is to have 2 Kong chew toys available to use. You can fill the Kong with your pet’s favorite treats and have your pet sitter give it to your dog when the pet sitter leaves. If peanut butter is one of your dog’s favorite things you can fill the Kong with Kibble and peanut butter and place it in the freezer to minimize the mess. Each time your pet sitter is there they can refill the empty Kong for the next time they are there and give the dog the one that is ready to be chewed on. Only offer your dog this treat when you or your pet sitter leaves. This will occupy your dog for some time and they will get a treat when they are done with it. 
 
6. If you have a dog that is prone to destructive behavior to show their dissatisfaction with your absence and you have exhausted all other options then you may want to consider a kennel or over-night pet sitter. This is also a good option if your pet requires 24 hour medical care.