Welcome to the first post in a series about things to consider if you are leaving your dog with somebody while you go away on a vacation, or for a weekend, an overnight trip, or even for a few hours one afternoon or evening.
Usually at some point in your ownership of a dog you’ll find that you have to leave your dog with a boarder, family member, or perhaps a friend or neighbour.
And if you happen to be a relative, friend, or neighbour of someone who has a dog, there’s a good chance you might have the owner approach you about looking after their dog sometime or another.
We’re writing these posts from the dual-perspective of the owner and the person looking after the dog (let’s call that person the “host”), posing questions that both parties should consider for maximum benefit all around: for the people and the dogs.
Today’s topic: food for the dog.
Here we go:
- Will the dog being staying long enough that a meal will need to be provided for it?
- What type of food is needed (e.g., wet/dry manufactured food, meat, fruits, vegetables, other ingredients, etc.)?
- Is any special preparation necessary (e.g., mixing, adding water, etc.)?
- Who will be providing the food?
- Are there food items that are unsafe for the dog to eat? Is everyone aware?
- Does the dog have any food allergies that need to be considered?
- What time(s) does the dog need to be fed?
- Are there activity restrictions before/after meal times to help with digestion?
- Is the dog on any medication that it needs to take before, during, or after its meal?
- How much food does the dog need?
- How much water does the dog need?
- Are there other fluids, besides water, that the dog needs to drink for any reason?
- Will the owner be portioning-out the food in advance, or will the person looking after the dog be measuring out the food? Check out our Ziploc bag technique in our post here.
- Does the dog eat from a bowl? All at once, or in stages? Or from a kibble-dispensing toy, or some combination of the two?
- Are there treats/snacks/rawhides that the dogs get periodically? As a supplement to their meals? For good behaviour? As part of daily training? How many do they get and when? Are there other preparation considerations (e.g., a stuffed, frozen Kong that needs to be prepped ahead of time)?
Knowing the answers to these questions accomplishes three key outcomes:
- Puts the owners at ease while they are away, knowing that their dogs are with someone who is familiar with the dogs’ food and diet;
- Helps the hosts manage their time with the dogs, including planning out their daily schedules to accommodate the dogs’ meals;
- Reduces stress and maintains the dogs’ routines while their owners are away and the dogs find themselves with potentially new people in new or unfamiliar environments.
Are there other food-related considerations that owners and hosts should make when leaving a dog for a period of time? For example, keeping a dog safe in the kitchen is also of paramount importance. Let us know in the comments!
As always, thanks for reading. We’re glad to have you with us.
Stay tuned for our next post in the series coming up soon!