Over the past few months I have been doing a lot of pet visits for cats and dogs while their "parents" go on vacation. Most of the time, people realize the importance of making sure they get the appropriate kind of care for their "furry kids" while they are away. But some people seem to be thinking more in terms of saving money rather than making sure their pet gets everything they need.
Yes they all need food and fresh water. The kitties need their litter boxes cleaned and the dogs need to go out to go potty but another basic need for most animals is human companionship; especially if the kitty or dog is very social and used to getting lots of attention from its "parents". If you are only going away for a long weekend, it may not be quite as essential but for visits of several days or even weeks, the social interaction is just as important to the pet's well-being as the basic food and water. I have had people call me and tell me they want 2 half hour visits a day for their dog just to feed him and take him for a walk. When I ask how long they will be away and they say a week, or more, I tell them that two visits a day for 30 minutes is not enough to take care of the dog's needs. He/She will be lonely and stressed as they spend 23 hours alone, each day, for seven days. Most people get it.
Not having their "parents" around is stressful enough for a pet, even when they are in their own environment, but being left alone for hours on end with little interaction or engagement with a human is unkind. When planning your next vacation, make sue you budget for the appropriate care of your pets including lots of TLC. You will come home to a much happier and healthier pet.