Deciding how to care for you pets while you’re on vacation can be tough. An increasing number of travel destinations will allow you to bring Fido or Fluffy, but it’s not the right decision for everyone. If you are thinking of bringing your furry friends with you, it’s important to do you homework.
Check to make sure your destinations are dog or cat friendly, and make sure your pet has what they need to feel safe and comfortable for the entire journey. Traveling long distances in particular can be extremely stressful for your pets, especially if they have to be separated from you for a long time. Many countries have strict requirements for traveling animals. Your pets may require additional vaccinations, veterinary inspections or even a quarantine period before they’re allowed to join you on your vacation.
For these reasons, many people decide to leave their pets at home when they go on vacation. As long as you’ve made the proper arrangements, they will be safe and well cared for.
You know better than anyone that your pets have specific needs. Sick or sensitive pets will need extra care, and exotic pets require specialized care. It’s important to pick for the right pet caretaker, and arm them with complete information. Before you leave, make sure they have detailed instructions with information about food, supplements, medications, exercise, temperature requirements, feeding and cleaning schedules. Make special notes for special needs and delicate temperaments.
Always make sure all needs or supplies are available in advance and that you have a few days extra in case you can’t run off to the store as soon as you’re back.
While a friendly neighbor can drop by and feed pet fish on a schedule, more difficult tasks such as cleaning, grooming or administering medication will likely need more specialized experience or facilities that only an advanced hobbyist or professional can provide. It is up to you as the pet parent to determine the best person to take over your job.
With all these options there is bound to be something perfect for your needs. Here are the Pros and Cons.
A professionally run mass pet housing or hospital.
To make sure your pet is suitable for a kennel or veterinary shelter, take him there beforehand and see how he responds to the place, the other animals and the people. Check the kennel for Pet Care Services Association’s (PCSA) accreditation. If they have this, they’re the real deal.
Putting your pet in the home of a pet care giver.
The best pet boarding homes have services that can let you see your pets when you’re away. If you want to monitor your pet even when you’re away, find a pet trainer that lets you see your dog or cat over Skype or other online services. Take your pet to the pet boarding home to see if he likes the place and can get along with the other animals. List down everything the home owner needs to know about your pet and check the insurance claims related to the house.
The home of any willing and trusted person.
A professional house sitter that’s experienced with pets is a complete solution to leaving your home while on vacation.
Make sure your house sitter has your veterinarian’s number and clinic address. Don’t forget to check your prospective house sitters’ credentials such as clearances, insurance policies and recommendations. Let your pet meet the house sitters before you choose, good chemistry is important!
A professional pet expert drops by your house to feed, check, play with, walk and take care of your pet for a set time.
So which should you choose?
Each setup has its pros and cons. Cats might be better left with a house sitter or a pet boarding house that have places for temperamental, isolated animals. Dogs may prefer to be with a lot of other animals that get walks and exercise. Fish can be left for short periods of time without food as long as the water is very clean.
Do you have a bunny? Rabbits are very hard to put in any environment that isn’t your home—so your only option may be to get a house sitter who knows the delicate handling of a rabbit.
The last thing you want is to go home to is a pet that is missing, sick or worse. As the pet parent, their welfare is your responsibility so choose wisely and enjoy a stress free vacation, knowing that your pet is in good hands. After all leaving our pets can be harder for us than it is for them.
And don’t forget that if you have plants they will need care too!
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