For those of us who consider our pets as part of our families, getting away for the weekend or for a quick trip, may mean leaving them at home. If you’re in that boat and are starting to get nervous about leaving your pet or you’ve decided against traveling because it’s hard to leave your pet, know that you aren’t alone!
Here are a few tips that might help you with an upcoming trip or might make it easier for you to get out and explore the world sans Fido:
- Ask friends, neighbors, and your vet for recommendations of quality kennels or boarding locations. If you have time, make an unannounced visit to these businesses and ask for a tour. Ensure that animals have regular human interaction, the kennel area is generally odor-free, and the play areas are sanitary. Check out this blog from Care.com to start making your list of questions as you interview boarding facilities.
- If you have an elderly pet or a pet that doesn’t do very well with other animals, consider hiring a pet sitter. Take your time with the hiring process and be very thorough. Ask lots of questions, ask for references, let your animal meet the pet sitter with you around, and if you’re able, try out the pet sitter before your big trip (maybe he or she could swing by your house while you’re at work). For more information on hiring a pet sitter, check out this blog post from Petmd.com.
- Whether you decide to kennel your animal or hire a pet sitter, ensure that your animal is able to stay on their same diet. Additionally, if your animal takes any medications, make sure the care provider/team understands the medications and when and how they have to be given.
- Prepare your animal ahead of time for boarding or a pet sitter. If you have a big trip coming up in six months, consider taking your animal to the boarding facility for a short overnight stay. Also, if you have a dog, many kennels now offer “doggie day care.” It might be worth the extra money to let your dog do a few days of doggie day care so he or she can warm up to the staff and become comfortable with the facility.
- If you choose to board or kennel your animal while you’re away, consider sending a t-shirt that you’ve worn or your animal’s favorite blanket along with them for their stay. Just like we take comfort items with us when we travel, animals are calmed by having something familiar with them when they’re away from home.
*Side note – bring a trash bag or something similar with you when you pick your animal up and place any items that were in your animal’s kennel in the bag so you can wash them as soon as you get home.
- If you’re a dog owner and your dog has had outdoor play time while being kenneled or boarded, you may want to consider having he or she groomed or bathed before you pick them up. This obviously isn’t mandatory, but it could make your reunion a lot more pleasant…at least for you!