Nobody looks forward to the first day they will have to leave their furry family members. After all the hours spent bonding with your kitten or puppy, the last thing you want to do is leave them on their own.  However, when the day comes, you will feel much better about departing if you know your pet will have a comfortable place to play and rest during the interval of separation.

1) Help your pet avoid creating a mess, by making his essentials needs easily accessible to him in your absence. Arrange a defined playing, sleeping and eliminating area for him, whether through a pen or a crate, or by blocking off the kitchen or utility room.

2) Sit with him in the enclosed space, and play with him there, giving him treats and toys to create positive associations. Spend quality time with him in the pen, brushing him, petting and holding him. If the cat or dog associates the pen with good memories and comfort before you go, it will be less lonely for him to stay there when you are away.

3) Make sure he has a designated sleeping area, whether on a blanket or mat, so he feels safe and able to relax. Help him find his bed, and pet and praise him with treats while he practices laying down.

4) Put a sufficient supply of food and water in his pen to match the duration of your absence. (Food and water dispensers are a great way to make sure your pet will have enough nourishment without being able to devour it all at once.)

5) Clearly establish a place in the pen where he can eliminate.  This might be a litter box, a cardboard mat covered in newspaper, or an area of shredded paper in one corner.   Be sure to identify the space to your dog or cat. Make the eliminating area far from the pet’s food, water and bed, since it will be difficult for him to eat and sleep next to a place that’s been soiled.

If you plan to be gone for longer than just an overnight trip, your dog or cat will need to be checked on by someone. Pets need regular exercise to avoid acting destructively, so if you are going to be gone longer than a day, they will need to be taken out for a rigorous walk or an indoor play time.  If it is not a possibility to have someone visit your house, consider hiring a responsible friend to house-sit for you, or a pet-sitter so that your little pal can be surrounded by loving people while you are gone. Dogs and cats that suffer neglect often develop severe behavioral disorders and negative traits; they can become withdrawn, anxious or aggressive and needy if they are neglected for long hours.  If you are necessarily away from home on a frequent basis,  it may be worth considering adopting another pet for them to have consistent company and  live-in companion to play with. Your pet’s quality of life is entirely in your hands, so be sure to help your kitten or puppy get the love and attention they need to be the best version of themselves.