Vacation season is upon us. What are your plans? Going somewhere exciting, fun, or planning a staycation? But what about your pets?

When making vacation plans, how much attention do you give to how your plans will affect your pets? Are they going with you? Being boarded or being with a pet sitter? What will your pets’ needs be? Will your preparations include food, blanket, toys, bed, and so on? As you plan for your pets’ needs, are these considerations limited to the physical needs or as well bring into consideration the psychological needs?

It’s hard enough planning for a pet’s physical needs when considering all vacation plans. Yet, remember, when making your plans, discussions include sharing those plans with most involved parties. Too often, when discussing plans, pets are usually not included in any discussions.

Yet, pets also need to know, understand, and be included in the vacation plans as they pertain to them. Informing pets of life events should not be limited to vacations.

How are a pet’s psychological needs addressed?

First, use visualization to convey what is being planned: a short trip, a move to a new home, a new family addition, etc. In your mind’s eye, picture what is going to happen. How going on vacation is pictured is very different from how a new family addition is pictured. If you feel you are not able to visualize, try to create a picture in whatever manner or degree of clarity with which you are comfortable.

Then, add to the picture by including how you might identify smells, what will be heard, or any other sensory experiences the pet may encounter.

Consider the amount of time involved. It may or may not include time leading up to and preparation for the event, though definitely the length of time the event or vacation will include. You can start small by using an overnight or two-day trip to show your pet how you are depicting time. There are a couple of different methods, and you may come up with your own method. One method is to visualize a clock, with the hands moving around and around to indicate roughly the amount of time involved. One I find easier is to imagine day or night to night or day to include the number of days. Some people have used a calendar to show time, but a calendar is usually less effective unless you teach your pet how a calendar works.

It is important to let your pet know in brief what you think their experience will be. It will be very different going to a kenneled situation than accompanying the family. A vacation that requires flying or a long car trip, going to the lake, or seeing other family are each unique, and just as other family members want to know what to expect, so do pets.

Words are another way to convey time, experience, preparation, and what you think your pet needs. It’s been shown many pets understand a small part of our vocabulary, especially when used with expressive voice and gestures. This though is the least effective unless you often talk with your pet to build their vocabulary.

There are studies that show pets communicate via visualization. So, when you use visualization, you are using a method of communication already used by many animals.

Another very important consideration is how your pet tends to handle changes and especially the planned experience.

Some pets travel well and adjust easily. And some do not. If your pet is a poor traveler, preparation especially helps.

Preparation may include soothing anxious pets. Sometimes bringing along familiar items is enough, while other times more consideration is important. Using essential oils, gem elixirs, and flower essences work either internally or externally, depending on use, to calm the pet. Pet-friendly teas and animal massage may as well be beneficial. There are also white noise machines that help some animals find their calm. Another way to help prepare your pet is to have an animal communicator convey to your pet what is happening.

When a pet will be cared for by another, there are other things to consider. Some pets are comfortable being cared for by another, especially when it is a family person or setting. However, some are still anxious. Being separated from families can be very stressful. When concerned about how your pet will or has adjusted, consider using whatever techniques you want and are comfortable using with your pet. Very important is having some familiar items with them to give them security and comfort. Again, essential oils, gem elixirs, and flower essences are helpful to prepare your pet and to adjust when they are away from home. And I’ve known a few pet owners who have a pet pendulum to help them understand what the state of comfort of their pet is.

Years ago, we had our pet sitter call us to let us know our pet was not doing well. They asked if the pet should be brought to the veterinarian. Not knowing what our pet was experiencing, we agreed the pet should see the veterinarian. In this case, it was important. However, a client of mine used the pet pendulum to find out if their pet is ill and needs to be seen or if their pet is missing them. When they found out their pet was physically well, they arranged to have energy Reiki sent to their pet to help the pet energetically. Reiki can be another very beneficial way to help any pet balance or affect their energy.

It doesn’t matter what type of pet you have; it is important to take into consideration and address your pet’s needs for all life events and situations. These are only a few of many techniques you can use to help your pet adjust to life, new situations, and especially vacation. The better prepared they are, the more emotionally, energetically, and physically they can adjust.

Consider your pet’s needs—it will help your experience be more pleasurable as well.

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