Why we miss our family pets the most when travelling

A quarter of Aussies say their family pets are what they miss most when they travel. Agree? Here’s the science explaining why, and what you can do about it.

Woman standing alone in hiking gear with mountains in background
  • Sangeeta Kocharekar
  • March 2020

Sometimes, despite the fun we’re having on holiday, we start to miss those back home. We miss our family. We miss our partner. And we miss our friends.

But mostly, as our survey found, we miss our pets.

Yep. Out of all the living, breathing things we could miss while travelling, most Aussies (25 per cent) said they longed most for their pets.

Why we miss our pets most when travelling

So, why is that? Why, out of all everyone back home, does our heart sing out most for our furry friends?

“We can often feel that our pets are reliant on us and will miss us when we’re gone. Just like parents might worry when they’re away from their children, it’s normal for us to worry about our pets,” says psychologist Briony Leo of Psych Central.

Sweet white dog sitting on bed with white sheets looking at camera
It's not hard to see why we miss our pet pooches so much when away from them.

But here’s the kicker: evidence shows that when it comes to pets and owners being separated, it’s actually pets who cope better. Something to keep in mind the next time you’re scrolling through photos of Tigger or Fido, a single tear streaming down your cheek.

What to do when you’re missing your pet

OK, so you know your pet might not be missing you as much as you miss them, but still, you just can’t shake it. What then?

For starters, before you go, there are a couple of things you can do to protect your holiday peace of mind. The first is to hire a trusted pet sitter. Sites like Mad Paws, Paw Shake and Happy House Sitters provide detailed reviews so you can ensure you’re picking a sitter you feel entirely comfortable with.

The second is to install a pet camera. While you can of course ask your sitter for photo and video updates of your pet, knowing you can watch them anytime will do wonders for your worried mind.

For a premium option, look to company Furbo. But, if you aren’t looking to spend big, Kmart has Wi-Fi-enabled surveillance cameras too.

Also, while you’re away, consider buying your pet a special souvenir from your holiday destination. This could either be a toy or an edible treat – though if it’s food, you might want to check the customs laws beforehand.

Woman smiling and cuddling with a brown dog
Looking forward to reuniting with your pets and their unconditional love makes returning home from holiday easier!

And finally, the last thing you can do when you’re missing your pet is to think about the cuddles you’ll be giving them when you’re back home. That thought alone should help to ease your mind.

And after all, don’t they always say absence makes the heart grow fonder?