If you are planning a family vacation this year, you've probably already looked into airline tickets and hotel reservations. You might have even started making a mental list of who needs a new swimsuit and where luggage is on sale. But with all the plans for the family, there might be someone you forgot – your furred, finned, and feathered family members.
There are several options available for your pets. You can decide to take them with you, leave them at home (either with or without a sitter), or check them into a kennel/pet care facility. Before you decide what accommodations are best, there are some things to consider – the age and type of pet that you have, the care that your pet needs, and how long you will be gone.
Taking Them With You
One option that you have when traveling is to take your pets with you. This works great with some dogs, but most cats prefer to stay home. Smaller animals are also better left at home – dragging the gerbil cage or the aquarium around is likely to do more harm than good. When traveling with a dog, keep in mind that special accommodations need to be made. Not all hotels/ resorts allow pets (with the exception of working animals). Airlines have specific rules about flying with animals, and a special arrangement might need to be made.
Not all animals enjoy traveling – some become carsick or nervous in strange environments. If you do travel with your pet, make sure that you have a way to secure them, keep your pet on a leash, make sure that they are up to date on vaccinations, and that they wear a collar with current ID tags on at all times. For long car trips or airplane rides, be sure your carrier is comfortable and meets all airline requirements. It's important that your beloved pet be as comfortable as possible in a well- ventilated environment. There are many options available for your car or the plane, where ever your trip takes you.
If you are only going to be gone overnight, some pets can be left at home alone. This goes for healthy cats, fish, rodents, etc. Make sure that your pets have enough food and water and that anything that could be potentially dangerous is put away. If you are going to be gone for longer than one night, consider having a pet sitter come in or making other arrangements for your pet. When this isn't possible, be sure your pet won't go hungry with pet feeders specifically designed to last, like the 6 Day Pet Feeder.
Home With A Sitter
A sitter can be a great option if you want to leave a pet home alone. Some sitters will stop by several times a day, and they will often take your dog for a walk, or come in and sit with your cat and feed your fish. Some will even spend the night. A sitter is a good option for pets that are more comfortable in their home environment. You essentially have two options when it comes to a pet sitter – the kid next door and the professional.
- The Kid Next Door. The kid next door is your least expensive option. He or she is often very flexible about the time of day and how long they can stay, and are often more than willing to take your dog out to play. The downside to this is that a child or teenager may not be as responsible as an adult, and may not be versed with what to do in an emergency.
- The Professional. A professional pet sitter does pet sitting for a living, and is likely to be bonded, insured, and come with a list of references. Some pet sitters are specially trained to deal with aggressive animals or to administer medication. They do tend to be more expensive, may be less flexible with schedules, and do require allowing a stranger access to your home.
Kennels and boarding facilities are your third option for pet care while on vacation. For most of these places your pet must be current on vaccinations and healthy. Some offer round the clock supervision, others only have people on site during normal business hours. Some are run as a solo business and others as a joint business through a veterinary office. Keep in mind that space is often limited, so book ahead to ensure that you have a place for your pet.
By making arrangements ahead of time, you can make sure that your pet enjoys his or her vacation time as much as you do.