If you're a pet owner planning a business trip or vacation, the decision to take your pet along or leave him behind is an important one for both you and your companion. While you may want to take your furry friend with you, some animals are not suited for travel because of temperament, illness, or physical impairment. If you have any doubts about whether it is appropriate for your pet to travel, speak with your veterinarian.
If you decide to travel with your pet, you will need to devote extra time to prepare for the journey.
- Have your veterinarian examine your pet within 2 weeks of travel.
- Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines.
- Bring vaccine and health records with you.
- Bring your pet's health certificate if you cross state lines.
- Make sure your pet has a securely fastened collar and identification tag.
- Bring a sufficient amount of your pet's food.
- Bring bowls for food and water.
- Bring filled water bottles for the trip.
- Bring leashes, toys, and bedding, if possible.
- Make sure you are prepared for fleas and ticks, either with sprays, collars, or with applications like Frontline.
- If your pet is on medication, make sure to bring enough to last throughout the trip.
If you're looking for accommodations that take pets,
check the following 2 websites: www.petswelcome.com, and www.dogfriendly.com.
Obviously, the first 3 options have the greatest degree of comfort for your pet - with either the responsibility of home care, or the familiarity of your pet's normal environment. When these are not available, boarding can be an excellent choice. For all choices except the first, be sure to get several references, and check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints. Inspect the Kennel or Veterinary facilities before deciding.
- Have a responsible friend or relative look after your pet.
- Board your animal at a pet sitter's home.
(PetHealthStore maintains a list.)
- Hire a pet sitter to come to your home.
(PetHealthStore maintains a list.)
- Board your pet at a Kennel.
(PetHealthStore maintains a list.)
- Board your pet with a Veterinarian, preferably your veterinarian.
Pet sitters do much more than provide your pet with food and water while you're away from home. A good pet sitter also spends quality time with your pet, gives him exercise, and knows how to tell if your pet needs veterinary attention. What's more, pet sitters typically offer additional services, such as bringing in mail and newspapers, watering plants, turning lights on and off, and providing homes with a lived-in look to deter crime.
But just because someone calls themselves a pet sitter doesn't mean they're qualified to do the job. This information will help you find the best pet sitter for you and your pet.
It's important to learn all you can about prospective pet sitters' qualifications and services. Before selecting a pet sitter, interview the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out the following:
Even if you like what you hear from the pet sitter and from their references, it's important to have the prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your pet before actually hiring them for a pet-sitting job. Watch how they interact with your pet. Does your pet seem comfortable with the person? If this visit goes well, start by hiring the pet sitter to care for your pet during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. That way, you can work out any problems before leaving your beloved pet in the pet sitter's care for longer periods.
- Can the pet sitter provide written proof that they have commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
- What training has the pet sitter received?
- Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet, such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
- Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
- What will happen if the pet sitter becomes ill? Do they have a backup?
- Will the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog walking, dog training, and play time?
- ·Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
- If the pet sitter provides live-in services, what are the specific times they agree to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
- How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
- Will the pet sitter provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have agreed to serve as references?
Of course, even the most trustworthy, experienced pet sitter will have trouble if you haven't also kept your end of the bargain. Here are your responsibilities:
- Make reservations with your pet sitter early, especially during holidays.
- Ensure your pet is well socialized and allows strangers to handle him.
- Affix current identification tags to your pet's collar.
- Maintain current vaccinations for your pet.
- Leave clear instructions detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.
- Leave pet food and supplies in one place.
- Buy extra pet supplies in case you're away longer than planned.
- Leave a key with a trustworthy neighbor as a backup, and give him and your pet sitter each other's phone numbers. Be sure those extra keys work before giving them out.
- Show the pet sitter your home's important safety features such as the circuit breaker and security system.
If you are considering a kennel, ask if it belongs to the American Boarding Kennels Association (719-667-1600), a trade association founded by kennel operators to promote professional standards of pet care. Besides requiring members to subscribe to a code of ethics, ABKA offers voluntary facility accreditation that indicates the facility has been inspected and meets ABKA standards.
If your pet is in any way infirmed, or needs daily medication, your Veterinarian may be your best choice for boarding.
- Does the facility look and smell clean?
- Is there sufficient ventilation and light?
- Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
- Does the person (people) seem knowledgeable and caring?
- When being boarded with other animals, are pets required to be current on their vaccinations, including the vaccine for canine kennel cough (Bordetella)? This helps protect your pet, and the other boarders.
- If not being walked 3 times daily, is there an indoor-outdoor run, and a schedule for exercise? Is it protected from inclement weather?
- Is there bedding provided off the concrete floor, or can you provide it?
- Are cats housed away from dogs?
- Is there enough space for cats to move around in?
- Is there adequate space between food and water bowls, and the litter box?
- How often are pets fed? (Twice a day should be a minimum).
- Can you provide your pet's normal diet?
- Are veterinary services available nearby?
Be sure your pet knows basic commands and is well socialized around other people and pets; if your pet has an aggression problem or is otherwise unruly, she may not be a good candidate for boarding.
It's also a good idea to accustom your pet to longer kennel stays by first boarding her during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. This allows you to work out any problems before boarding your pet for an extended stay.
Have a great trip, either with or without your loved pet! Don't forget to bring your sitter's/boarder's phone number with you if you're traveling without your animal.
Call us at PetHealthStore for any more information.
Back to Top