As much as we would like to take our pet with us on on our vacation, for reasons due to safety, cost, rules/regulations and health risks, we unfortunately cannot. Finding vacation pet care for our furry companion can be daunting, but luckily options are available. It’s just finding the right one that can suit our pet’s needs as well as our own.
Pet Boarding and Lodging facilities are typically used for cats and dogs as well as small pets (rabbits, ferrets, birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc). They can be found at pet kennels, boutique pet hotels/spas and even at your Veterinarian’s office. All facilities will charge a fee and they can range from the obvious of providing shelter, feeding, play, exercise (walk), groom and give your pet medications as needed. Such services will have a trained staff on hand to handle your pet. Most places will offer unique services such as priced packages that give your pet extra attention or extra exercise and more elaborately equipped accommodations that will make your pet’s stay more comfortable. For cats and dogs these can be private compartments, rooms with windows and better spacing and fancier accessories and toys.
When choosing a pet kennel, some people just go by their instinct after talking to the staff members to get preliminary information. Getting a referral from owners who had their pet at the facility is a plausible option as well… Basically these people had first-hand experience with the kennel and if they were happy with the service, they would be more than happy to talk about it. Also, getting recommendations on exemplary kennels from your current vet and friends and family who are pet owners, is a great way to weed out the good places from the not so good spots. Doing your own research to learn of any good or bad press or recommendations on pet kennels and even visiting the pet kennel is an excellent way to determine if the facility is right for you and your pet. Do they can large rooms as shown on their website? Is the equipment up to date and in good working order? Is the place clean and maintained? Are the staff warm and friendly? If you do decide to leave your pet at a boarding place, inform the staff of any unique traits your pet has. Bring along a couple of their toys to play with, their own food (especially if they are on a special diet), and a recently worn piece article of your clothing (if you own a cat or dog) There is no doubt that your cat or dog will be stressed out for the first couple of days from being in a new environment. As long as your scent is close at hand, they won’t feel as anxious and nervous knowing that something of familiarity is nearby.
Hiring a professional pet sitter to take care of your pet may be the way to go, depending on the needs of your pet. Your pet sitter can stay at your home when you’re away or can come by your house at whichever time intervals you prefer. Most pet sitters have a background in animal care and veterinary medicine. Hence, they are familiar with the mechanics of animal behavior and physiology and can recognize signs in your pet if something seems off with them. Their utmost priority is your pet and will give it the attention it requires. It is always a good idea for a pet sitter to come to your home beforehand to get acquainted with your dog or cat so that when you leave for your vacation, your pet won’t be as alarmed and frightened to be with someone new. As the same with the pet boarding option, get referrals and recommendations when seeking a certified pet sitter. Moreover, pet sitters are great for looking after cats. It’s a known rule that cats are territorial and if you remove a cat from its home/territory it can be extremely stressful for them. Overall, by having a pet sitter, the only thing that your pet would have to stress about is when they are going to get a meal and will there be anyone to pet and play with them.
Friend or Family Sitter
Have a family member, friend or trusted neighbor provide vacation pet care. This can be especially good for pet owners who have small pets that would be difficult to remove from the home, such as birds or fish. Even nocturnal pets such as guinea pigs, hamsters, and mice may not be whole heartily taken in by a friend or family member. Have your relative, friend, neighbor spend some quality time with your pet to get used to their behaviours and possible idiosyncrasies. Do a trial run to see if it is something that they can actually manage. Even though your relative, friend, or neighbor may love your dog or cat, feeding, grooming, playing, walking (dog or even cat) may be too much work for them. You may or may not decide to pay your neighbor, friend or relative for minding your treasured one, but because they will be returning the favor in the near future or they just adore your pet, is reason enough for them to extend a helping hand.