Dogs like routine. Their body clocks are so well tuned they don’t need an alarm to go off to remind them it’s time for a walk or that their food should have been ready five minutes ago. In fact one of the causes of stress for a dog is their routine getting disrupted. Their body language says it all.
So, I hear you say, “What does this have to do with holidays?” “Surely dogs don’t distinguish between a holiday and any regular day?” I would beg to differ. There are a number of factors, particularly in the summer months, that cause the flow of life to change. With our relatively short summer season in Canada we naturally turn to outdoor activities and often to travel. If you have an RV or trailer, chances are you will take your dog with you, depending on the type of trip and the destination. But what if your dog is not a good traveller? If you’re going out of province, have you checked on what extra shots your dog may need?
Holidays may involve flying and/or staying in hotels or resorts. This will invariably mean your dog has to be looked after by someone else which could be a relative, good friend or boarding facility. Any of these options mean a change to your dog’s lifestyle for the duration of your holiday. Does your dog know that relative or friend well? If they themselves have a dog(s), will your pet get along well with theirs? Are there young children involved? If you choose the boarding facility route, how much do you know about the facility? Does it come recommended by other friends who have used it in the past? If your dog has never been to such a facility before, it’s a good idea to take him along with you to check the place out. Hopefully this won’t happen but what if your dog doesn’t like the person who runs the facility? As an integral member of the family, you want to feel happy about leaving your dog with a person you’ve never met before, so do your homework up front. Would you even think for a minute about leaving a 2-3 year old child with someone you didn’t know without checking them out thoroughly?
If staycations are more you’re thing, then let’s look at how that can affect your dog. Day trips may mean leaving your dog by themselves for long periods. Being left for longer periods than they are used to may lead to dogs getting bored and getting into mischief. In periods of hot weather ensure there is a good supply of fresh water. You may also consider getting a friend to come to your house to let your dog out for a natural break: it will break the boredom and avoid a mess in the house at the same time!
Finally, outdoor festivities can often involve fireworks which the majority of dogs don’t enjoy. Whenever possible try to be with your dog to help calm them. The reassurance of a human can help take the edge off their fear.
Wherever you find yourself this summer, be it the back yard or some exotic locale, please take time to consider the needs of your pooch and plan accordingly.