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! And for additional info on dog foods, check out our post about a new online resource for choosing the best food for your dog: How to Choose the Best Food For Your Dog – A New Resource.
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!