Keeping Your Pet Comfortable When You’re Away

I often feel for my older dog, Satch. He can’t say, “Hey I could really stand for a massage. My back is killing me” or “There’s a splinter in my paw. Go fetch the tweezers.”

And since summer is a common time to go on vacation, many animals are left alone for long periods of time, even with the visiting animal sitter.

So since I’m going away for my birthday in a few weeks, I came up with a few pet care pointers I’d like to share:

 Pet Spa Day. Give you pet a little extra love and attention before you go. Both dogs and cats enjoy different types of grooming. (Less fur also makes them more comfortable in the summer months.) Grooming is also a great time to bond with you pet, who feels that special attention dedicated to him or her.

 Leave your Scent. Pets have a much more sensitive sense of scent (say that three times fast!) and feel comforted if you leave clothing or bedding that smells like you. For pets with separation anxiety, scents of the owner can go a long way to comfort and relax. So leave some unwashed clothing in the areas where they rest to remind them of you.

Share your Routine. Let your pet sitter in on your routine with your pet when you come home. Just like children, pets respond to familiarity of routine. It calms and relaxes them. The pet sitter’s energy matters as well. (My good friend watches Satch, so I tell her to enter the house calmly and just sit on the couch for a few minutes before feeding him.)

 So since your animal can’t speak, use your intuition. Each animal is different and the rules above may not always apply. But one thing I can be sure of: they do miss you. So figure out your own system to comfort your creature.

While Satch will be taken care of lovingly by my friend Stacey, I’ll be on a soft, sandy beach drinking pina coladas, tending to my birthday. Cheers!

(Remember, if you have a loved one with a birthday coming up, consider free birthday e-cards to start the day off right.)

Hopefully your pets will keep the parties to a minimum in your absence. Here's a scene from our popular, "Golden Retrievers Birthday" card.

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