Pet Care-Taking While You Travel.
Someone once accused me of being more concerned about my pet than a family member, and to this I responded: pets are family members! It is so important to make sure they are taken care of while you are traveling, and this has to be planned out well in-advance. It is also necessary to have a last minute back-up plan, should the original fall through. It is also always tempting to want to take your pet with you, but some pets cannot travel because they are physically impaired, they do not have a good temperament for travel, or they are suffering from an illness. The only way you can adequately enjoy your vacation is if you know your pet is happy and well-cared for in your absence. The following are some ideas on how to find someone to care for your furry pal while you are gone.
A good starting point is to talk to your veterinarian. It is highly likely that they know someone that can be trusted. Trust is the biggest issue when it comes to finding care for our pets. Personally, I don’t love the idea of my pet being home alone for long periods, but finding someone you can trust to stop by, combined with use of a security camera, can keep you in touch with your pet while you travel.
Many security cameras allow you to talk to your pet, and even spy on them, while you are gone! They won’t be able to deny chewing up your shoes once you have adequate security camera footage showcasing such deviance! That being said, they will not be so alone if you talk to them, and you found someone, with the help of your veterinarian, who can stop by and care for them while you are gone.
Finding a pet sitter should only be done through either your veterinarian, or an approved service that has done background checks. You should also make it your point to meet with any sitter first, bringing your pet along. With cats, it is usually best to have sitters come to your home, unless your cat is comfortable traveling in cars, and on a leash and harness.
The benefits to finding a sitter is your pet will receive more one-on-one attention, and often times you can find someone that will only care for one pet at a time. This means while your pet is in their home, there are no other pets around. Make sure if you do find a pet sitter that there are not young children in the home where your pet will be cared for, if you are leaving them at the sitter’s residence.
If your pet is used to young children, it might be okay, but usually keeping your pet out of an unfamiliar home, where there will be young children to contend with, is very important. Children can be unpredictable in their interaction with pets, and though they know not what they do, it is better to keep your pet away from such circumstances.
There are always boarding facilities, and these can be really high-end, and more like a vacation for your pet while you are traveling. There is a menu of services with most pet hotels, and they also have larger rooms for your pets to enjoy while you are away. Every boarding facility will want current shot records, and a facility that does not require this should be avoided.
The benefits to the pet hotel option are that your pet gets to socialize with other animals, will have interaction with all the staff, and daily activities to look forward to. Some of the higher-end pet hotels also have lap pools and massage options, as well as bed-time treats and camera service so you can talk to your pet while gone. Through the use of a tablet or Ipad, they connect you to your pet via Skype or Face Time, for example. You can then talk to your pet and they can hear your voice and see you. This is a wonderful added service and one that your pet would likely tell you is comforting, if only they could speak!
A special note about our pets who require special care. A single, dedicated pet sitter is really the best option for elderly or timid. You can likely negotiate to have a single pet sitter stay at your home while you are gone, if your pet that has gotten on in years. In this way they can be in familiar surroundings while you are gone. It is absolutely imperative that these sitters have a current background check, and if you are relying on a service to find this person, make sure the background check is current. Outdated background checks are perfectly useless, and if a background check is older than 90-days, it should be updated.
Finally, if you leave your pet at a facility, or at home with a caretaker, make sure you leave both your mobile number, as well as an alternate way to reach you, should cell service fail, like the hotel phone number for example. In this way you can always be reached in an emergency. If your pet has any particular medical needs, make sure you leave notes on this, their prescriptions, and the name and phone number of your vet in case they need attention while you are gone. Pets are loved ones, make sure they are cared for and protected, and in this way you can relax and enjoy your vacation. Happy tails!