Sending your dog to someone else’s house
This post is part of a series covering the options for traveling pet parents.
The easiest thing to do when you go out of town without your pets is to drop them off at someone else’s house.
At least, that’s what I think.
You don’t have to prepare your house for guests, and if you have easy dogs that don’t require much in the way of medication or special dietary needs, you just pack up what they do need and let a trusted friend, family member or professional pet sitter do the rest.
For those with foster pets, sending the animal to someone else’s house when you go out of town is an ideal way to give a potential adopter a taste of life with that pet.
We did this on three occasions with Minnie, and ultimately, it was someone from our travel relief circle who adopted her. (Now, we return the favor when Minnie’s new mom goes out of town.)
The key to making the sending-your-pets-to-someone-else’s house situation work is the trust you have in that person.
Family members, dog lovin’ friends and former roommates have all been great options for us.
The most important thing is to make sure whoever is taking care of your pet knows what they’re getting into.
If you know your pet might do something odd while in the care of another, let that person know what to expect.
- Minnie reacts to change by not eating. After realizing this, I made a point to tell people taking care of her to plan for that – and to be liberal with treats until she got comfortable.
- Like most cats in new environments, Luxor would lay low for a couple days and not eat, drink or potty much. Also: He’s a sneak-attack biter.
- Scooby will pee on things if you don’t immediately recognize his signal that it’s time to go outside.
That last example is a real doozy and one that cause me to feel guilty about making anyone take care of my elderpin, who once peed on a doggy sittin’ friend’s original artwork. (Sorry, Sike.)
Scooby has spent many a vacation in the care of my good friend Jessica, a crunchy mom and dog savior who has a special understanding of miniature pinschers because she has two of her own.
Most often these days, Scooby stays with my mom and stepfather. I feel good about leaving him with them for several reasons.
- They’re family and so are obligated to put up with a certain amount of annoying behavior from me and/or my beloved dog.
- As the servants of my first small dog Tori, they are well-acquainted with the special needs of very old and tiny canines.
- They endured potty training with their corgi Kasey not so long ago.
- They have a giant backyard that Scooby cannot escape.
- Scooby sees them and their house often enough to be familiar with them and their expectations.
- My mom is my mom and therefore I know that if Scooby is being picky about food or resisting a pill, she will not rest until she gets him to ingest the required substance.
Assuming you feel confident leaving your fur babies in the hands of the friend or family member willing to take care of them, here are few other things to consider:
- Are there other pets in the home? Will all of the animals get along?
- Is this person able to reasonably maintain the feeding/potty schedule your pet is used to?
- If this person is not a professional pet sitter, do you plan to reimburse this person for taking care of your pet? Are you prepared to cover any damages your pet may cause?
- Does this person know what to do in case of an emergency? (Regardless, make sure to provide contact information for your regular and an emergency vet.)
We are lucky to have fairly easy dogs and a lot of friends and family in town. However, sending multiple dogs to someone else’s house usually feels like too much to ask, so we often end up having to make individual arrangements for each animal. That can be a hassle.
For that reason, we sometimes prefer to have a trusted friend or family member stay at our house while we’re gone.
The next post in this series will cover how to make the house/pet sitter option work for you during your next pet-free excursion.
Comment fodder: Is there someone with whom you trust your pets when you go out of town? Who is that person and what makes him or her a great pet sitter?