As spring approaches many families are getting ready to go out of town. When you are heading out of town it is important to ensure that your furry family members are well cared for in your absence. Here are 5 options to consider for your trips out of town:
1. Friend, Family Member, or Neighbor:
Asking a friend, family member, or neighbor to care for your pet is often the most economical option. But because they are not being paid much, or at all, be sure to check that they are familiar with how to care for your pet before choosing this option. Ensure that you tell them things that you feel are common knowledge (like fish water needs to be treated before it is put into the tank) and write down directions for them to consult later. If you are not paying them, consider bringing home a souvenir or offering to care for their pet in the future. You could also arrange a pet care trade with a neighbor utilizing resources like Nextdoor. This has the added benefit that your sitter does not need to travel far and might make it easier for them to visit multiple times a day.
2. Professional Pet Sitter:
Hiring a professional to come into your home 1-2 times a day is another option. A professional sitter will charge for each trip and will spend dedicated time caring for your pet. In addition to feeding them, they will take them for walks or play with them. This option is great for animals that do better in familiar surroundings. Be sure to check references before hiring someone and arrange a time for the sitter to meet your pet before you leave town. During this visit you can also show them where all the important pet things are located and review expectations for what they will do at each visit (it is a good idea to put these things in writing).
3. In-home Boarding:
In-home boarding is an option for pets that enjoy new places. Basically, you bring your pet to a home where they will stay for the duration of your trip. Professional in-home boarders often have multiple pets at a time, so this option is best for dogs who get along with others. You may also have a friend or family member who can take your pet into their home while you are gone. This can be a win-win if your friend loves animals but is unable to have their own. Again, check references and visit the home before signing your pet up.
4. Traditional Boarding:
Finding a boarding kennel or cattery is another option. If going with this route be sure that they are licensed with the Pet Care Services Association. Kennels and catteries will require proof of vaccination so be sure that your pet is current on their shots and that you have a copy of the records from your veterinarian.
Dogs are social animals so ensure that the kennel you choose provides ample time for them to run and play with other dogs. If you have a cat, be sure to find a cattery that provides individual accommodations that include cat boxes, toys, and hiding places. Most cats also do better at a location that only houses cats.
If you know that your pet does not get along well with other animals, consider one of the other options or check whether the site has a private kennel option.
5. Bring them Along:
If possible, you can bring your pet along on vacation with you. If you are traveling somewhere pet friendly it may be a treat for you and them to go together. If going this route be certain to check that your pet will be allowed or that there is some sort of day care available in the area. Reservations and proof of vaccination will likely be required at the day care. There are many public areas in which dogs are not allowed, even if they are leashed.
Image from: Dog photo created by freepic.diller - www.freepik.com
The holidays are jam packed with fun activities, family, and festive decorations! While these times are great fun for us humanoids, they can be dangerous for our pet family. Check out these tips to keep your pet safe this season:
Whatever holiday is being celebrated (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, or New Year’s) we love to decorate! Unfortunately, all the new things we bring into our homes can be dangerous for Fido and Fluffy. Often these new items are potential toys to our furry friends. Chewing on them can cause mouth lacerations, while eating them can cause digestive blockages. Both likely resulting in a trip to the emergency vet. Block off new and interesting decorations from your pet family or consider decorating in a room that can be closed off when you are not able to monitor your pet’s activities. Some specific dangers to pay particular attention to include:
Confetti from New Year’s celebrations can cause intestinal blockage if eaten by your pet.
Christmas Tree water from pines, spruces and firs often contains pesticide residue. The sap in some trees is also toxic to pets. Make sure they can not access the tree’s water reservoir.
Pets will often investigate your Christmas Tree. Ensure that it is well supported by the stand and tie the top to a hook in the ceiling with fishing line to prevent it from falling during your fur family’s explorations. Check that the bolts in the base are tight every few days as they can loosen over time.
Tinsel is especially tempting to pets. Eating tinsel can lead to intestinal problems including blockages.
Many plants are poisonous to pets. Avoid placing holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias where pets can chew on them.
Lights pose a problem if pets chew on them or their cords. They can also become tangled in them and potentially be strangled. Make sure they are not accessible to your pet.
We often exchange gifts with family, friends, and neighbors at this time of year. Keep these out of reach of your pets until you know what is in them. It would be a real bummer if Fido at that fancy chocolate you didn’t even know was there and had to be rushed to the vet! By keeping presents in a location inaccessible to your pet until it is time to open them, you’ll ensure that you got the chocolate, not Fido!
Your furry friend is likely interested in tasting the delicious food surrounding them. Be aware some of it is very poisonous to them! Be especially aware or grapes, raisins, chocolate, and alcohol. Left over bones from your meal should not be shared with your pet. They splinter as your pet chews them and can cause cuts in the mouth and lacerations to their intestines as they travel though the digestive track.
Food bags should not be left alone with pets as they may stick their head inside to eat the leftovers or simply lick the residue. This can lead to suffocation in just minutes as the bag suctions onto their head.
While many pets enjoy the extra company and noise that comes with the season, some do not. And some pets that are normally very social could become overwhelmed. If your pet is showing signs of stress or acting oddly provide them with a break in a room away from the noise and stimulation. The last thing anyone wants is to need to doctor a bite to a family member or friend.
The Holiday Season is a time filled with joy and excitement for many of us. Make sure to keep your beloved pets safe during this time by following the advice above!
Additional information can be found at:
Pet MD “10 Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays”
ASPCA “Holiday Safety Tips”
Dog Time “6 Helpful Christmas Safety Tips for Pet Owners”
Image created by rawpixel.com accessed at www.freepik.com
Winter can be a dangerous time for pets. Keep these recommendations in mind during the cold months to keep your pets healthy and happy.
Adapted from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tips
Photo from www.freepik.com
Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.