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How To Prepare For Vacation When You Have A Pet

How To Prepare For Vacation When You Have A Pet

Preparing for a trip out of town is simple enough when you live on your own. Things like setting the thermostat and packing the belongings you need for your travels are relatively easy tasks to complete. However, when you’ve chosen to be a pet parent, your vacation preparation gets a bit more complicated.

From identifying your pet’s unique needs to addressing each need with an effective solution, preparing your pets for your vacation is often times more difficult than preparing yourself for your vacation. If you’re a new pet owner embarking on your first tip out of town while leaving your pet at home, there are several simple steps you should take to make sure your pet will be well taken care of while you’re away.

There will be times that you can take your pet with you, but there will be other times that you cannot. If you’re not sure whether or not you should bring your pet with you, The Humane Society has an excellent guide with tips to help you.

If you’ve determined that your pet will not be going with you on your trip, check out this list of tips on what you should do to prepare your pet for your time away.

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1. Chat with your vet about your pet’s needs

Depending on the type of pet you have, its specific breed and its unique personality, your pet’s needs will vary while you’re away. If you’re yet to leave your pet alone, check in with your vet before your trip to determine what preparations you should make. For cats, you usually won’t need much more than a pet sitter who stops by to check food and water and maybe even change out the litter box. For dogs, things can get a bit more complicated.

If you have a dog whose breed needs high maintenance by nature or simply has a personality that requires more attention, your vet might recommend looking into your options for leaving your pet with a friend or family member, or even leaving your pet at a boarding establishment during your trip.

Ask around to see if your friends know of a boarding service they might be recommend. If your initial efforts to find a boarding service through friends and family fails, check out Rover.com to search boarding services in your area.

2. Enlist help

Even if you and your vet determine that your pet is pretty low maintenance, it will still be best to arrange for someone to come in and check on your pet while you’re away. It might be tempting to leave a low maintenance pet like a cat alone with a large bowl of food and water while you’re away, but your pet will appreciate having someone stop by and make sure he or she is doing alright.

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Ask around to see if a trusted friends or family member might be able to stop by a handful of times while you’re away. If none of your friends or family members are available to care for your pet while you’re away, look into your options for hiring a professional pet sitter. There are online services that can match you with affordable options for pet sitters in your area.

Before you leave, be sure to provide your pet sitter with detailed instructions about your pet’s care.

3. Automate food and water bowls

If you’re able to leave your pet at home with arrangements for a pet sitter to stop by on occasion, it might be difficult to know exactly when your sitter will be stopping by to give your pet food and water. This can be a bit of a problem given that most pets are creatures of habit. According to the experts at CC Animal Clinic, it’s important to keep your pet’s food on a consistent schedule while you’re away. The best way to do this is to set a feeder that feeds your animal at a given time each day, regardless of time your sitter is able to stop by and check on your pet.

Petsmart and PetCo offer a lot of great options for automated pet feeders. Before you set the feeder, be sure to check feeding guidelines for your pet to make sure you’re not over or underfeeding your pet. My Sweet Dogs offers up a solid feeding guide for dogs. CatInfo.org provides a great guide for cat owners.

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4.Clean up

The pet experts at Canidae recommend removing “temptations” that might encourage bad behavior in your pet while you’re away. For example, leaving shoes out for dogs to chew on might leave you with an unpleasant surprise when you get home. Or leaving a pile of clothing out while you’re away might tempt your cats to lay on and shed all over them while you’re gone.

Before you leave for your trip, be sure to pick up around your home. Focus on stowing away anything that your pet has a proven track record of getting into.

5. Leave a comfy bed or blanket out

One of the most important things to remember when you leave your pet home alone is that he or she might get a little lonely. One way you can help your pet feel a little more comfortable while you’re away is to leave a comfy bed or blanket out.

You could leave this bed or blanket in a nice sunny spot by a window to allow your pet to enjoy a view of the outside and a little sun while he or she waits for you to get home. Some pet experts even recommend heating up a cloth rice bag and placing it in the bed or blanket during colder months so that your pet has a warm and comforting spot to hang out while you’re away. You could even leave it in your sitter’s instructions to rewarm the rice bag and place it back in your pet’s spot again when they come by.

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Hopefully these tips will help you prepare for your first time leaving your pet alone while you leave town. If you have any questions, ask away in the comments below!

 

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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