Becoming a traveling caregiver opens a whole new world of opportunities, but when you have a furry companion, it may open up some anxiety about what to do with your four-legged friend.
Worry not, journeys are best when taken with good company and travel nursing is no different. Many caregivers are bringing their pets along for the ride, and we’ve got five tips to help reduce stress for both you and your furry family member.
Don’t buy. Bring.
Traveling “light” is easy, and with pets, it’s tempting just to buy new when you get to your destination, but what’s easy for you might not be best for your pet. While a new pillow might bring you joy, pets find comfort in their favorite toy, bed, water bowl, or blanket. Bringing these objects from place to place will help to ease the stress that comes with traveling. The cost of an extra suitcase is minimal when compared to the comfort and joy that ragged toy brings to your furry friend.
New space, new set-up? No-way.
Inhabiting a new space might spark inspiration to try out a new design for your living quarters, but for your pets, a new set-up is nerve-wracking. Resist the urge for creativity when it comes to where you place your pet’s accessories. If their food and water dish are in the kitchen back home, make sure it’s in the kitchen in your new place. If they always sleep next to the couch, make sure their bed is next to the new couch. Consistency will help your pet settle in quicker.
Bribe with the good stuff.
You know those treats…the special ones you give when your pet is an extra good boy or girl. When you first come to a new area, make sure that the first treats they get are the good ones. That joy and excitement over the special treats will help to ease the anxiety of the new place. And while you’re at it, have a special treat for yourself, because you deserve it too.
Play with them.
Along with treats, playing with your pet brings positive reinforcement. You may want to dump your luggage and go explore the town, but make sure to build some time to get in a good game of tug-of-war with your pup or have a “fishing pole” session with your cat. Interacting with your pet in play lets them blow off some energy and brings them joy.
Don’t rush, give them time.
Even if you follow all of these tips, your pets still need ample time to explore and get used to their new surroundings. Once you move in, give them time to themselves to sniff around. There are so many new scents that come with new places that they need to explore it all to feel comfortable. Don’t rush them, just let them do their thing (of course, keep an eye on them…especially if your pet is prone to destroying furniture when they are nervous).
You don’t have to choose between traveling and your pet. More and more locations are pet-friendly, especially for a traveling caregiver. Take that journey with your four-legged friend so they too can be the envy of all your other friends’ pets.