There are many benefits to having animal companions, not the least of which is stress reduction. So given the magical healing powers of pets, is it ever possible that a person needs to kiss Fluffy good-bye and get off on her own for a few days?
In most cases, “a well-trained, well-socialized [animal] is someone you want with you,” says Dr. Stanley Coren, author of the forthcoming Why Does My Dog Act That Way? However, a family with a problem pet may find that they need time away to recharge and reconsider what their future actions concerning the animal will be. If getting away from your pet appeals, this may be a good opportunity to figure out if it is simply a matter of more training for your pet, or if you need to find him a new home. This can be especially true for families with children whose needs, including attachments to their furry companions, can complicate issues.
You can also get some much needed training for your while taking a break for yourself. Some kennels offer training programs, so you can take a week or two off from disciplining duties and come back to results by the experts. After you both have had a chance to improve your dispositions, you might find that you and your pet were a better match than you thought. To find a kennel with a good training program, check with your veterinarian; the local SPCA; or a local obedience school.
According to Dr. Jeff Werber, of the Los Angeles based Century Veterinary Group and personal vet to Lassie, pet parents can experience extreme stress when their pet is experiencing serious medical problems, especially for families who consider their pets to be their children. In these situations it may not be desirable to get out of town, but as in most stressful situations, pet parents should consider taking time to decompress. Think about a trip to a nearby day spa or taking a meditation class, whatever will give you a mental break.
Of course, other concerns can effect your decision to go adventuring with your pet. Both Dr. Werber and Dr. Coren agree that pets are happiest in familiar surroundings with set routines, which includes the people they are used to. If your travel plans would end up forcing your pet to spend most of the time alone in a hotel room, it’s probably better to leave him with a trusted pet-sitter or boarding kennel, or even pamper him with a trip to a luxurious pet spa. Also, be sure to always weigh the stresses of travel against the potential fun of your destination for your pet, particularly where issues of accommodation and quarantine may come up.