Pets can sometimes make travel difficult, or at least challenging.
Do you leave them at home and have someone come in and take care of them? Or do you board them at a kennel? Should you take them with you?
It can be quite a dilemma. Here are some pet care tips for travelers that may help you decide what’s best for your pet.
1. Leaving Your Pet at Home
Some experts point out that this is often the least traumatic way of leaving your pet when you go on vacation. While your pet’s routine will be somewhat different, it won’t be the huge change that boarding would be. If you go this route, see if you can hire a neighbor, friend, or family member that your pet is familiar with.
If your pet has not interacted with the caretaker before, take some time before your vacation to let your new caretaker get to know your pet(s). Then take your caretaker through the routine. Writing it down to help them remember all the steps is important, but do take them through the routine in person at least once.
There are some cons to leaving your pet in your home. For example, some people are uncertain about having another person in their home when they are gone. Also, if there’s an emergency or problem, a pet staying in your home may not be discovered right away, and would have to be transported to the vet.
Boarding’s biggest asset is probably the availability of vet care. At a professional boarding kennel, your pet will have access to veterinary care close by if necessary. You can also schedule a bath or flea treatment while you’re gone, so your pet is clean and ready to go when you pick him/her up.
Some of the cons to boarding are the expense and the possible trauma to your pet. If your pet gets anxious easily or is very attached to you and your routine, then boarding can be anxiety-producing for your pet.
3. Taking Your Pet With You
If you decide to take your pet with you and you are sure that all destinations (hotels, your final vacation spot, etc.) accept pets, then you will have a different type of preparation to do.
For one thing, getting your pet groomed very well before travel is a good idea. He or she will be more comfortable for travel that way (especially if the grooming involves clipping to keep him/her cooler), and your pet will be less likely to leave hair in the car and where you’re staying.
If your pet is coming with you, he/she will need a carrier of sorts. A travel crate or carrier is ideal, and keeps your pet safer that if he/she is bouncing around loose in the car. Also, some hotels require or prefer that your animal is crated or in a carrier.
So you want to take your pet on vacation with you! It can be a lot of fun, but especially if you plan a bit. Here are some tips for successful vacationing with your pet.
1. Be Prepared
It may be tempting to think you’ll just buy everything for your pet when you get to your destination, but that plan (or lack of a plan) might not work out. It’s probably not a good idea to “chance it” when it comes to pet supplies. So bringing along items to meet your pet’s needs is a big help. Here are some ideas as to what to bring.
-Food and water bowls (collapsible ones can save space)
-Brush and comb
-Medications (if applicable)
-Towels and sheets to cover car upholstery and furniture
2. Be Considerate
If you’re bringing your pet along, whether you’re staying in a rental home, condo, hotel, or elsewhere, make sure your pet has adequate housing. A crate for your dog, a cage for your rabbit, a carrier for your cat, etc. are important for minimizing mess and maximizing enjoyment and preservation of the property on which you’re staying.
Of course, your animal does not have to be confined all the time (that wouldn’t be healthy anyway!), but it’s a good idea to confine your animal when you are not around to check its behavior. Dogs and cats can destroy furniture, and other pets can be messy and/or destructive as well.
As you consider where to go and what kind of place to stay on your vacation, consider your pet. Obviously, the place you’re staying must accept pets; but there are some other characteristics you might want to look for in your destination. Here are some thoughts.
-High-rise condominiums may not be a good choice if you are bringing along a dog that needs to be walked regularly. Consider easy outdoor access and ground-level facilities if you’re bringing a dog along.
-For pets like cats, you may want to go the opposite way and choose a facility that is a little harder to “break out of.” If you want your cat to stay in, a house or hotel where he/she could slip out into the woods as soon as the door is cracked may not be the best idea.
If you are going to the trouble to bring your pet on vacation, there seems to be little point in leaving him alone all day while you go out and enjoy your vacation. As you plan your activities, try to choose outings that can include your pet.
Alternatively, you might want to leave your pet with a pet daycare service so she can have a vacation, too.