Owning a home is a wonderful privilege and joy for most people in American and around the world. Especially since the average American will move almost 12 times over their average life, having a property of your own allows you to place roots down and finally work toward your own dreams. The opportunity to own your own property and be queen (or king) of your very own castle allows you the freedom to customize things exactly how you want them without any landlord, roommates, or family members getting in the way.
With owning and maintaining property comes the inevitability of responsibility. It’s something that no one really is overjoyed to think about, but must be done if you want to keep your home safe and protected in this unpredictable world. Many people live alone, and while they’re browsing for a high security lock they might also consider getting a pet for company or as another alarm bell. Perhaps you already have a lively critter that’s moved in with you, and you’re thinking about ways to protect your pet while also keeping your wallet from evaporating. There are many ways, and not all of them will take your last penny.
In this article, we’ll go over some ways to protect your pet when you’re away from home. Whether it’s a short jaunt to the grocery store or a multi-week European excursion, the concepts are the same in helping you reduce your stress while keeping your pet happy. For informational purposes we’ll be talking about the most common pets (cats and dogs), but the tips and tricks contained within can easily apply to hamsters, snakes, or exotic pets alike.
The Length of Time Makes All the Difference
When you’re going to be away from home and leaving your pet on its own, the amount of time you’re away makes all the difference. Rarely is there a problem with leaving your pet at home in a designated area for you to run a couple errands or go to the grocery store. Even though you may want to sensibly protect your pet by locking the doors and closing your home, your pet may not even know you’ve been gone that long before you return. But the longer you’re gone, the more you have to make sure that your pet is adequately cared for.
Leaving for multiple hours or half a day will leave your pet stranded with no social interaction, no playtime, and inadequate access to bathroom facilities. While this is not only inconvenient for you and your pet’s physical health, it will eventually lead to a low quality of life for you and your pet. Since most people view their pet as a companion and a source of cheer, making your pet unhappy will only cause you undue harm in the long run.
If you are going to be leaving your pet for multiple days or weeks at a time, you will need to arrange for someone to take care of it. Hopefully, this is the time when friends and family will step up to take a load off your chest, but if they are unable or unwilling to care for your pet you will have to find another long-term solution. Pet boarding with a professional agency is usually where most people start when thinking about how to protect your pet, but there may be other solutions such as leaving your pet with a “foster family” who will take care of it just as you would for a determined length of time. Wherever you leave it, you’ll want to make sure that it is loved and taken care of.
Make Sure Your Pet Is Healthy Before You Leave Them Alone
Before you give your pet free reign of the house, even if it’s only for a couple hours, please try and make sure that they are as healthy as possible. One of the best ways to protect your pet over the course of their life is to make sure that their diet is up to par and that they receive regular veterinary check ups to diagnose ongoing or developing health conditions. Take your pet to a pet health clinic on a regular schedule, and make sure that they get the exercise required of them every day or whenever possible.
Many of the same dietary and exercise requirements for humans are in place for pets. Since pets are animals that are evolved to eat natural foods, you should be trying to feed them the highest quality food you can afford for maximum health. Limiting their consumption of processed foods, human foods, and junk pet foods will go far in preventing illness from developing. Of course, always consult and refer to your veterinarian for the best advice relative to your pet.
Believe it or not, pets can also suffer from mental and emotional disorders as well. This is especially true if you have adopted and abused or mistreated pet and are trying to rehabilitate it. Therefore, leaving it alone even for a short period of time can cause emotional distress and must be guarded against. In order to protect your pet from undue emotional distress, you may have to invest in positive training methods or enlist the help of a pet therapist. Helping your pet learn that leaving it alone for a short period of time does not equal abandonment will be a skill that helps it live happier and healthier into the future.
Consider Getting Them a Companion
One of the main concerns when it comes to how to protect your pet when you’ve left for a short length of time is what your pet will get up to on its own. Whether they will be steeped in sadness, worry, or anger that lashes out at your couch cushions, much of this may be mitigated against by simply getting them a companion. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense from a human perspective as well. People do much better when they have someone to talk to and engage in activities with rather than being completely on their own.
When thinking about getting a companion for your pet, you’ll want to try and make sure that it’s someone they will get along with. Size, breed, and temper matter to a certain extent, but one only has to seek out photos and videos of small dogs loving large dogs to see that with proper training opposites can get along. This may be less true with more solitary and independent animals such as cats, but it never hurts to try. You may even be able to foster an animal for a while to see if it works for you before making the full commitment.
Security, Training, and More
For many people who worry about how to best protect your pet from harm, they are thinking of their pet like a child or other cherished member of the family. The thought of having to get their pet medical care brings a tear to their eye and pain in their heart. Therefore, it’s completely understandable that most pet parents want to stop problems before they even begin. Diet and exercise are a big part of this, but so are training and adequate security measures as well. If this information seems overwhelming, just take it one piece at a time while incorporating it into your own life until it makes sense for you.
While you probably don’t need security storm doors on your home unless you live in a hurricane-prone area, it can be helpful to have a good deadbolt door lock.
Other simple safety measures, like a video doorbell or electronic locking system can help protect your pet from intruders while also letting you know. Being able to receive a notification or alert from afar will enable you to call 9-1-1 or come home immediately instead of returning to a disaster. Aside from being a smart idea, you can never truly pay too much for peace of mind.
Another helpful idea is to create a secure area of the house in which to protect your pet and create a sanctuary of its own. This can be any unused room such as your bedroom, basement (with adequate lighting and comfort) or similar space. You can set up a perimeter fence on the inside which your pet can play in, or simply close the door. This is where good training comes in, where you want to let your pet know that you’re not abandoning them – this behavior and space need to be associated with you leaving for a certain amount of time and then coming back. Leave too long and it will become detrimental and stressful for your pet.
When You Can’t Be Home: Boarding and Daycare
If you’re gone most of the day, and can’t get home to let your pet outside, then you’ll probably want to consider pet daycare as an answer to your time problem. Daycare is just like it sounds, a safe and nurturing place for your pet to spend multiple hours a day until you’re back home to care for them. Daycare providers usually have experience in specializing with different pets such as dogs, and know how to socialize them accordingly until you come back. Having your pet be with other animals and socialize or exercise while you’re away isn’t just good for the pet, but can actually make them new friends and playmates for you to interact with later.
Sometimes you plan to be gone for weeks at a time, and can’t find anyone to protect your pet while you’re away. Many family members or friends are OK with watching a pet for a weekend or so, but multi-week excursions will often leave people exasperated. Additionally, people that don’t have pets will be at a loss for taking care of them to the full potential required, similar to childless couples trying to raise children. In this case, you may want to figure out if there are pet boarding services that work for you in the long run. If you’ve never boarded a pet before, you’ll want to do your research to make sure that the environment and care your pet will be receiving will be more than adequate.
Whether you’re thinking about dog or cat boarding, you’ll need to keep some basics in mind. You’ll want to make sure that the facility will be able to protect your pet without keeping them in a cage all day. Pets need to move about, run around and experience life just like you and I do. However, there need to be some ground rules when it comes to letting animals of the same size and nature congregate together. Puppies should not be playing with 10-year-old dogs, and snakes should not be mingling with mice. You’ll want to make sure that the facility you use is highly rated in terms of care and training. If you doubt that the facility is good enough for your pet, schedule a visit (with or without your pet) to find out if it’s right for you.
If All Else Fails, Find a Way to Bring Them with You
If you’ve run the gamut of trying to contact every exotic pet care facility in your local area and come up short, you may have to resort to finding a way to take your pet with you. Unlike children or teenagers, if there is no one to watch your pet while you’re away from home you cannot just leave it alone with a full bowl of food and endless water. It will not be able to watch television, let itself out to go to the bathroom or stream the latest television dramas. As a pet parent, you are solely responsible for your pet’s well being.
In fact, you could face criminal charges of animal abuse if you neglect your pet to the point of harm requiring veterinary services. But don’t worry, many airlines, hotels, and other areas of public or professional life are more accommodating of pets than ever. When all else fails, figure out a fool proof plan to make your pet part of the equation when you’re out and about. From walking down the block at a resort to feeling dandy with a bowl of food in a hotel, there is always a solution. Chances are that when you see that lovely face, you won’t be too angry or upset.
While taking your pet with you may seem like a terrible drag, it might actually change your life for the better. Pets are natural magnets for positive personal interactions, and wherever you go with your pet you can be sure to meet someone who’s also interested in your pet as well. Pets tend to be the ultimate icebreaker for human interaction, but you’ll still need to remember to protect your pet from people that seem too eager or other wayward pets that are walking around. Like all areas of life, traveling with your pet will create unique challenges that must be overcome. Hopefully, you will be able to avoid them through the tips and tricks above, but if not we’re sure that you’ll get through it.