Pet Safety Tips for When You’re Away and Your Furry Friends Stay
Pet Safety Tips for When You’re Away and Your Furry Friends Stay
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Pet Safety Tips for When You’re Away and Your Furry Friends Stay

By Ring on December 12, 2022

Whether you have a house full of furry friends or one perfect pet, not every vacation destination is animal friendly. As protective pet parents know, ensuring that your fur fam stays safe while you’re away is a top priority. But boarding services or sleepovers at a friend’s house aren’t always available options.

Home is where your pets are, and sometimes that’s where they need to stay — so it’s important to make sure they’re well taken care of, even when you’re not there to do it. Before saying goodbye, check out these important pet safety tips we collected for you to help keep your animals both happy and healthy. This way when it’s officially home alone time, you can have peace of mind that your animals are still living their best life — without you.

For Dog Parents: Deciding Where Your Pup Should Stay

Whether you’re off on business or heading to a beautiful place far away on an extended vacation, you need to have a plan B if your canine companion can’t tag along.

Let’s go over some FAQs to help you decide if home without you is the best option for your fur baby:

  • Can you leave your dog home alone? Yes — but only for a short period of time without a human friend checking in. Fido needs consistent socialization, exercise, and attention (plus frequent potty breaks).
  • How long can you leave your dog home alone? We’ve gathered some advice from the American Kennel Club, and according to their experts, you should only leave your dog home completely alone for a few hours — eight hours maximum. If you’re going to be away for longer, it’s time to call in some reinforcements — from a pet sitter. They don’t have to commit to staying at your home 24/7, just consistent visits that depend on your dog’s needs. Puppies require potty breaks every three hours, while adult dogs over one year old can typically be left without accidents for up to six hours. No matter how old your doggo is, having someone check in at least three times a day is a good rule of thumb.
  • Should you board or hire a sitter? The choice is up to you and what’s best for your pet. Boarding your dog lets him or her play with other furry and human friends, while an at-home sitter lets them stick to familiar surroundings.
  • How To Leave Your Dog Home Alone Safely

    If you’ve decided the best choice for your pup is a staycation at home with visits from a friend, family member, or pet sitter, consider these tips:

    Pick Your Sitter Carefully

    If the best pet safety solution while you’re away is an at-home sitter for your dog, choose wisely. Send a text to your bestie or favorite cousin who considers Fido part of the family. A reliable family member or friend makes for a great temporary pet parent not only because they love your dog but also because your pup is already comfortable with them.

    But if you’re going the professional route, check their reviews online, ask for recommendations, and interview candidates first. Once you’ve narrowed it down, make sure the sitter can visit at least three times a day or more, depending on your dog’s routine. Then, before making a final decision, set up a time for a meet and greet with your dog and sitter.

    Keep Up Your Dog’s Routine

    No one knows your dog’s routine better than you, but someone can step in as your doggo’s temporary pet parent if you provide detailed instructions for feeding, walking, and caring for your dog. Be sure to also include any of your pooch’s favorites or quirky habits (like must-have toys or sleeping spots around the house). That way, they have all the info to keep your dog’s routine.

    For Cat Parents: How To Leave Your Cat Home Alone

    If you have a kitty in the crew, you know all too well that cats love routine. Feeding Freya the ferocious feline at 7 a.m. during the work week often turns into waking up to an adorable fur-covered alarm clock on weekend mornings — instead of letting you sleep in.

    If your cat won't come on your next trip, arranging for someone to check in while they stay at home can help keep their routine intact. (Apologies in advance for the early morning wake-up calls!).

    Make Sure Your Cat Has a Refuge

    Your furry feline may be more accustomed to alone time than a dog (cats can be left without attention for up to eight hours), but your kitty companion shouldn’t be left alone without some tender loving care for longer than 24 hours. And especially during this solo time, they still need a place to go where they feel comfortable and safe when you’re away. Before you go, make sure your cat’s refuge is ready with a clean litter box, food, toys, and their favorite blanket or bed. Turn on some white noise from a radio or TV to muffle the sound of passing cars, barking canines, and neighborhood traffic. You can also invest in a calming collar or spray to help limit your kitty’s stress when you’re gone.

    Have a Sitter Stop By at Least Once a Day

    Be sure that someone comes over daily, but asking them to check on your kitty a few times daily, preferably around their feeding time routine, is ideal. If your temporary pet parent can only stop by once a day, add an extra litter box to their refuge so they always have a fresh place to go potty.

    How To Get Your House Ready to Leave a Pet Alone

    For some pre-travel house prep, it doesn’t matter whether you have a dog or cat. These pet safety tips we collected for you are universal and can apply to all types of fur fams.

    American Humane states that it’s important to pet-proof your home before you go by tucking away visible wires, electrical cords, loose threads on chairs, common medications, and plants toxic to pets. Be sure to also leave those detailed instructions in an easy-to-spot place — along with your contact info, emergency contacts, pet info, vet info, medication, and details about their routine — just in case something unexpected happens while you’re away. And be sure to stock up on plenty of food so your sitter doesn’t have to worry about making a trip to the pet store.

    However, other tips depend on if you’re a proud dog or cat parent:

    House Safety For Dog Parents

    Before you leave:

  • Unplug appliances and hide cords so your doggo doesn’t chew on them.
  • Close doors to rooms you don’t want your dog in and take out the garbage to avoid a playful trash hunt turning into a trip to the nearest emergency vet.
  • House Safety Tips For Cat Parents

    Bored kitties can be destructive, and household items that aren’t a concern when you’re home can become potential hazards when you’re gone. Even clean laundry can become an enticing playground, so put any clothes away or else a button or drawstring can become a danger.

    Cats are also known for being escape artists, and one thing that could disrupt a smooth trip is coming home to a missing kitty. Close all your windows, lock the doors, and if your feline is known to make a break for it when they see an open door, make sure to also give your cat sitter a heads up.

    Pet Safety Tips for Other Animals

    Other pets may not require as much prep work before you head out for a trip. But if you have any of the following critters, here’s what you need to know before getting into travel mode:

  • Rabbits need someone to come once or twice a day. Leave instructions and cut up some veggies for your bunny before you leave.
  • Birds are very social, so you shouldn’t leave them for long periods. They also need fresh water, so checking in on these feathery friends multiple times per day is necessary. Since birds can be challenging to care for, don’t forget to leave instructions for your pet-sitter.
  • Turtles and lizards need food once daily, so hiring a temporary pet parent to check in at least once a day is a good idea.
  • Snakes only need to be fed every week or so, depending on the species. Corn snakes and smaller species only need to be fed once every seven to 10 days, while larger snakes like pythons only need to eat once every 10 to 14 days. Make sure to consult with your reptile’s vet to plan their feeding schedule before you leave.
  • Guinea pigs need daily feedings and playtime, so ask your temporary pet parent to stop in multiple times a day and provide them with instructions.
  • Fish need to be fed at least once a day. You can use an automatic feeder or have someone stop by once a day to feed them. Clean the tank before leaving, and if you’re planning to be gone longer than two or three days, you may want to have a trusted temporary pet parent clean the tank.
  • For Extra Peace of Mind: Get Pet Safety Solutions

    If you want the option to check in on your pets back home while taking a break, install a security camera before you leave. Look for devices that have pet-friendly features, like Live View and Two-Way Talk, so you can check in or chat with your fur fam from afar. Having this real-time connection can help you and your beloved pet feel closer, no matter where you are.

    You will also never miss a precious moment of cuteness with a Ring Protect subscription, an optional plan that allows you to save videos from your security camera for up to 180 days with a monthly fee. If your fur baby is known for performing unexpected tricks or misbehaving in a hilarious way, who knows — the ability to save and share these videos can even make your canine companion or furry feline internet famous.

    Ring Indoor and Outdoor Security Cameras can also come in handy should your good boy decide to be a bad boy and sneak out. With a Ring Protect subscription, you can review video recordings and potentially see exactly when or where they got out.

    You can also create a Pet Profile within the Neighbors App. This handy feature allows you to add information about your pet, like breed, pictures, and important details, like medical needs or familiar commands. That way, if your pet likes to run out for a trip around the neighborhood, you can quickly create and share a Lost Pet post with just a few taps, alerting your community to be on the lookout for your beloved pet.

    Now that you know the best pet safety tips for leaving your animals home while you’re on vacation, you and your fur babies can enjoy some quality time — even when you’re far away from each other.

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