Summer is here and that means that a lot more people are traveling. It’s great if your pet can go with you, but if they can’t than it’s important to find someone to care for your pet that you trust. A lot of clients ask us how to go about choosing care for their pet while in vacation, so here are some tips.
Step one: Pet Sitter vs. Boarding
The first thing to decide is do I want in-home care, or to take my cat or dog to the kennel. The benefits to a qualified pet sitter are:
- The pet is in the environment they know best.
- Their diet and routine are largely unchanged
- There is no stress related to traveling to and staying in an unfamiliar place with other animals (such as a boarding kennel).
- A good pet sitter also give attention while you’re away not just food and water
- Added security of someone checking on your home
Although there are a lot of upsides there are some downsides. Make sure to meet the individual you are allowing in your home. Check references to make sure they are qualified to care for your pet and that you can trust them with the security of your home and health of your pets.
If you can’t get a pet sitter and equally good choice is a boarding facility. These facilities vary in the services they offer, quality of care, and what is included in a “standard” boarding fee. Some let pets out to play frequently, others you have to pay for play time. Ask your friends or veterinarian for recommendations. Make sure to ask for a tour of the facility before leaving a pet there. Discuss at length the type of care and lifestyle you want your pet to have while there to ensure they can accommodate your needs. Ask if you can bring their normal food and what vaccines are required for boarding. If possible try and have a “test” run by dropping them off for doggie day care, or a brief boarding visit while you are still in town.
Step 2: Getting Ready to Go Away
Always leave with the caregiver your Veterinarian’s contact information and emergency numbers. Also alert your Veterinarian that you are away and tell them who is responsible for your pet. If you are comfortable, also let the vet’s office know of a preliminary budget you approve of for care in case of emergency. This can expedite care for your pet if they are sick and injured and we can’t get a hold of you.
If your pet is staying at a kennel make sure they have the appropriate vaccines. Make sure to leave clear directions for feeding and medications including quantity and time of administration.
Make sure you have the number of the caregiver in case your plans change or you just want to check in and see how your pet is doing!