Tips to travel with your pet safely – Being a responsible dog owner entails having additional factors to take into account, whether you’re traveling to visit family at home, relaxing in an exotic location, or seeking some solitude in a remote location. Make alternative plans that, ideally, leave you and your furry friend feeling at ease if you are unable or unwilling to bring them with you.
There are three main options to think about: hiring a pet sitter to watch your dog in your home, boarding your dog at a kennel, or leaving your dog with a dependable friend or relative.
You should consider the following before making your choice:
- Does your dog need any particular care? What medications are they taking?
- Is your dog particularly prone to contagious illnesses?
- What kind of care and attention is your dog used to receiving?
- Is your dog’s vaccination record up to date?
- Are there any behavioral problems with your dog?
You’ll have a better understanding of the type of care your dog requires and which of the following options is best once you’ve given these questions some thought.
Hiring a pet sitter
One of the many advantages of hiring a pet sitter to watch your dog at home is the ability to keep your dog settled in their regular routine, well within their comfort zone. They will be able to continue their regular exercise routine in a familiar setting and eat the same food at the same time every day. The drawbacks include higher costs and having a close friend or relative stay at your house while you’re away. However, a pet sitter might be your best option if your dog is anxious, immunocompromised, or behind on their vaccinations.
Asking friends and family for recommendations is the first thing you should do if you decide that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. The best recommendation is always from a trusted source, and it will help you feel more at ease. A college veterinary student is another choice because they are more likely to be interested in animals and, at the very least, may already have a lot of experience with them.
Ask the right questions to your shortlisted candidates for pet sitting after you’ve whittled down your list:
- What kind of pet-sitting experience do you have? Do you have references available?
- What would you do if my dog got sick or hurt while I was gone?
- How often and for how long can you walk them?
- Will you have to be away from them for any extended periods of time?
- Will you be concurrently observing any other animals?
- Do you have access to a reliable vehicle in case of an emergency?
Give your dog’s needs clear, upfront communication. Describe any peculiarities they may have, along with any preferences (treats, toys), and any fears (e.g., ringing doorbells or loud noises). Of course, schedule a meeting time for them to meet your dog so you can observe how they get along.
Once you’ve chosen a pet sitter, stock up on your dog’s food, favorite treats, and medications in anticipation of their stay at home. Write out all relevant information succinctly and in an understandable format, starting with:
- Name, era, breed, and medical background
- Contact information for your veterinarian
- Your telephone number while you are traveling
- In case of emergency, contact information
- information about their behavior, such as tricks they enjoy doing or foods they enjoy eating.
- A complete daily schedule that specifies meal and exercise times
- where everything is accessible to them, including food, toys, and leashes
Leaving your pet with a dependable person
Ask a friend or family member to watch your cherished pet at their home if you don’t feel comfortable letting a stranger stay in your house while you’re gone. It’s more cost-effective and your dog will probably feel more at ease with a familiar face, especially if your friend is willing to do it for nothing! Even though a close friend will try to keep your dog’s routine as similar as possible, it’s unlikely to be exactly the same because someone else’s home is still not as familiar as your own.
However, if choosing this option makes you feel the most at ease, prepare for your dog’s staycation by gathering the same supplies as you would for a pet sitter and giving your friend the same precise instructions as stated above. Once you’ve done this, you can relax knowing that your adorable dog is in the loving, capable care of a close friend, allowing you to take full advantage of your own vacation.
Boarding your pet
There are dog kennels to think about in addition to the previously mentioned options. They give your dog the chance to socialize with other dogs and may be more affordable than a pet sitter. There are a lot of potential drawbacks, though, so you may want to do some thorough research first. Before making your final choice, you should discuss your worries with each kennel you are considering. These worries should relate to safety, unsanitary conditions, and the possibility of transmissible diseases.
Begin by asking friends and family for recommendations for kennels, then do your research—read the reviews, speak with a staff member, and then visit the establishments in person—taking note of the following:
- How neatly does the facility seem to be maintained? A dirty facility might not have enough staff to properly care for your dog.
- How safe do you feel in the building? If necessary, are there separate entrances and exits to keep dogs apart? Are there security precautions in place, or is access to the facility open to all? Is it possible for a dog to elude capture and remain undiscovered?
- What kinds of lodging are offered? Cages? Runs? Determine your comfort level when it comes to your dog.
- Do the dogs at the shelter appear to be well-cared for? In a good mood?
Don’t forget to ask the right questions while you’re there:
- What is their procedure for ensuring proper hygiene? What sort of cleaning supplies do they employ? How frequently do they dispose of human waste?
- How many employees are there? Do they have staff on duty overnight to keep an eye on the guests?
- Is the staff knowledgeable? Are they competently educated?
- Are there any veterinary technicians on staff?
- What happens if your dog slips and gets hurt? Do they want to take your dog to their vet or yours?
- How are the dogs exercised, and how frequently?
- Do the dogs interact with one another? How will this be resolved? Any interactions between dogs that are unfamiliar with one another should only take place with the owners’ permission and under close observation.
- Small dogs and large dogs are kept apart, right?
- What vaccinations are required?
- What types of insecticides are used to control fleas?
- Do they plan to feed your dog on the same schedule and with the same food that you do?
- How much does each night cost? What are the added costs? You should request their standard boarding agreement as well as a written estimate in advance that you can review.
- Will they send pictures and updates every day?
Take your dog there for a test day trip after you’ve toured the facilities, asked your questions, and whittled down your options. After that, pay close attention to their attitude and behavior. Do they appear to be who they usually are? Do they appear scared or quiet? Each dog has a unique personality, so there is no one-size-fits-all kennel. You should match your dog with the appropriate facility.
Stock up on their food, favorite treats, and any medications they take to bring with you if you decide to use a kennel. You should also bring along their dog bed or crate, if necessary, as well as any favorite toys from home to make them feel at home. Your dog’s medical history, the veterinarian’s contact information, your travel contact information, and your dog’s emergency contact information, in case you cannot be reached, should all be included on the kennel’s standard information form that you fill out. You might want to draft a written document authorizing your emergency contact to make choices for your dog while you’re away.
Regardless of the situation you choose, if you carefully considered your dog’s personality and needs, sought out personal recommendations, and did your homework, you can relax knowing that your furry bundle of love will be safe and well-cared for while you’re away. You’re free to take pleasure in your holiday travels and anticipate meeting up with your best friend again.
Additionally, make sure to always protect your four-legged friends with Progressive pet insurance. Click here for more information on pet insurance.
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