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.
Written By : Heather Mains
Animal Care Foundation
Providing elderly and disabled community members access to veterinary care for their beloved pet.