Laura McElhinney, Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator with Great Falls Animal Shelter, says you can leave cats alone or unattended for longer than dogs. However, dogs are a little more high maintenance. McElhinney says you cannot leave dogs alone overnight.
If your four legged companion cannot tag along while you're gone this summer, there are lots of boarding options in the area, but you'll want to make this temporary new location as comfortable as home.
McElhinney says some dogs do not like to drink water they are unfamiliar with. She suggests bringing water from home to mix with the water at the new location. Pack your pet a doggie bag of food as well. McElhinney says, "their digestive system just cant handle that quick change". Switching to a new food can take 2 weeks, so it's best so stick with tried and true if you're just going to be gone on a short trip".
If you are leaving your pet outside at home with a pet sitter make sure all the basics are covered like food and water. McElhinney suggests fresh, clean water that can somehow stay cool.
Even if temperatures are not very high, dogs can easily get over heated if they run around too much or do not have somewhere out of the harsh sun like a dog house.
Over heating is one of the biggest safety concerns for our pets in the summer. Signs of heat stroke include severe panting, vomiting, laying around flat not able or wanting to get up, and a bright colored tongue with white gums.
If you think your dog is suffering from heat stroke, cool them immediately by putting water over their head or on their belly. McElhinney warns to be careful not to shock them though by sticking them in a tub of ice.
Make sure the area the animal is being kept is secure. McElhinney says, "double check and triple check that your fences are adequate, that they can't dig out or climb out".
As a precaution, make sure your dog is properly licensed and tagged.