Vacations and Animal Emotions: 3 Tips to Help Your Pets

Vacations and getaways can be really wonderful for us humans. We get to see family, or be away from family! It can be a time to see new things or just relax. But it may not be nice for our pets. Suitcases out and packing up can be unwelcome signs to them if they have experienced that part of the vacation process. They may start showing signs of anxiety as soon as they see those suitcases. They may begin to have the sad-eye look or mope about. I had a dog that would take out the socks I was packing and replace them with his toys! And when I went out of town for work, he would take out my dress shoes from my suitcase upon returning and proceed to destroy them. He’d never touch my shoes that I wore to go for walks! He was no dummy!

Stress can show up in many ways besides destruction. They can have health issues afterwards. Perhaps they suddenly start having potty accidents in the house. Or they may get tummy issues with diarrhea or throwing up. Or, they may not eat well for a few days. They may get belligerent too. They may be fine for a few days and then the undesirable behaviors or not feeling well will appear. It often isn’t immediate upon return.

Some may do better with a sitter at home while others may do fine at a nice kennel. But it is never as good as being home with their person. Our pets can get confused and discombobulated by our going. It can really trigger a pet that you rescued. Anxiety, confusion or anger and dread are all common emotions I release from pets who just had a “vacation” experience. There are a few things you can do that can help too.

Tip 1: Before you leave: Think to your pet (I prefer doing it non-verbally) letting them know you are going away and how many night time sleeps you will be gone. ( I like to do an event like night time sleeps or how many sunrises or sunsets. If you just say sleeps, they take a lot of naps in a day and they will think you should be home that day!).

Tip 2: While you are gone, if your pet suddenly pops in your mind, your pet is probably thinking about and missing you. Again, think to your pet, tell them you love and miss them too and will be coming home to them.

Tip 3: I sometimes leave my sitter with some essential oils for calming that is appropriate and safe for pets and encourage them to use it on my pets if they show any anxiety when I am gone. It helps reduce the stress so the pets can manage their angst a bit more easily.