Manufacturers of specialty pet supplies and pet gear know how guilty we feel when we leave our pets behind, whether it’s for the day when we go to work or when we’re leaving for vacation. If you’re worried about leaving your pets home alone, here are some tips on how to keep them healthy and safe, along with our recommendations for pet supplies and pet gear to keep them happy too!
Have a Game Plan
You know your pet best in terms of his personality, preferences and needs, so if you are going away and leaving Fluffy behind, plan ahead. About a week before you leave, stock up on food, meds and supplies and arrange for a qualified pet sitter. Planning ahead will give you peace of mind and also prevent unexpected events or forgotten preparations from turning into emergencies.
Ensure Adequate Food and Water
Most pets have favorite foods and some are on special diets. Be sure to leave an adequate supply of food at home and review feeding instructions with your pet sitter. To keep your pet nourished while you’re at work or in between pet sitter visits, set up an automatic pet feeder and pet waterer. Many pet owners use them all of the time simply to reduce pet care chores.
- Indoor Pet Feeders — If your pet enjoys dry food, an automatic pet feeder will keep her full and satisfied. One type of pet feeder is the gravity food system that continuously fills the pet’s dish from a vertical hopper. These work well for animals that don’t overeat. For pets with gluttonous appetites, a programmable pet feeder that dispenses portion-controlled amounts of food at set times is a better option.
- Outdoor Pet Feeders – If you have pets that live outside – including horses, goats and even fish in ponds — there are also are special automatic pet feeders designed for outdoor environments.
- Pet Waterers – A constant supply of cool, clean drinking water is essential for all pets. On days when you’re not around to refresh your pet’s water bowl, an automatic pet waterer provides refreshing, healthy water. There are a number of different types of pet waterers, including fountains that recirculate and oxygenate; outdoor waterers that hook up to a hose; and multi-pet waterers. Most have replaceable filters to remove bad tastes and odors.
Secure the Perimeter
An “escapee” is the last thing you want when you’re not home, so make sure that your fence, kennel or whatever pet enclosure you use is safe and secure so your pet can’t sneak out. Repair holes in or under fences and make sure gates lock properly. Don’t want to install or fix your conventional fence? A wireless fence or electric fence are affordable and effective alternatives.
- Wireless Fence – Wireless fence technology uses radio signals to create a boundary, so there are no wires to bury (like with a wired electric fence) or post holes to dig (like with a solid barrier fence). The radio signal is picked up by a receiver collar worn by the dog. When the dog gets too close to the boundary, the collar emits a warning tone. If he crosses the boundary, he receives a static correction. Works for cats too.
- Electric Fence – An in-ground electric fence works like a wireless fence except that the boundary is created by a wire that is buried under the ground.
- Automatic Pet Door – Once your yard is secured, you can give your pet unlimited access to it by installing an automatic pet door in your home. These electronic doors come in a range of sizes and open only for animals wearing a “smart tag,” effectively locking out wild or stray animals.
Make a Checklist
Make it easier for your pet sitter to handle day-to-day situations and emergencies by leaving behind a checklist of important information, including:
- Your cell phone number
- Phone numbers for the regular vet and a backup vet
- Names and phone numbers of trusted neighbors (who know you are away)
- A list of any pet habits or quirks that your pet sitter should know about
- Your itinerary with dates and phone numbers of where you will be
- Instruction books for the pet supplies and pet gear installed in your home.