Ruff Ride: Taking Pets Along When You Travel
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
DH and I often talk about taking a “family” vacation. And for us, that means an escape with either his side of the family, mine, or both. Still, while the option’s a viable one, we are often hesitant about MAKING plans because we’re reluctant about leaving our “baby” at home. And, when we say “baby” we mean our full-grown cat.
And, we are not alone. There are plenty of others out there who, whether they have children or not, have pets that have become part of the family, and just the thought of leaving them alone can put a damper on vacation plans.
Still, is it fair to put plans on hold as per your pet? Well, even if you can’t or don’t plan on bringing them with you, experts suggest you don’t have to.
And, they offer the following options:
1. Boarding Facility:
· Costs and Fees: $15 to $65 per day
· Advnatages: You can have the confidence that your pet is being looked after and taken care of by a trained professional. And, there will be round-the-clock “supervision”. Also, some facilities offer social playtime, grooming services and luxury accommodations.
· Notes Of Caution: You really have to know your pet and if this IS the right option as some animals/pets don’t board well. Older pets or those that have never been to a kennel before, as well as aggressive animals that doesn’t “play well with others” should not stay at boarding facilities, according to experts.
· In The Know: Keep in mind that professional kennel operators will make every effort to alleviate stress for your pet and make him or her feel as comfortable and welcome as possible. Also, the facility should be neat, clean and orderly and make sure that your pet has all his or her immunizations before you admit. Don’t forget to leave information about where you or someone can be reached in case of emergency.
· Inquiring Minds: Don’t forget to ask about specifics such as if there is anyone on staff that can tend to your pet and his or her special or medical needs if necessary. Also ask about they type of food offered, noting that some provide a variety of brands while others may request you bring your own. Finally check their disaster preparedness plan and make sure it’ s current and updated.
· Insider Tips: Keep in mind that (most) kennels are most busy during the holidays, so, if you know what you’re plans are, it’s best to book well in advance.
Professional Pet Sitter:
· Costs and fees: $15-$22 per pet per visit
· Advantages: This allows your pet to continue enjoying all the “comforts” and familiar surroundings of home. And, that means a less “stressed” or “distressed” pet. Plus, the sitter can look after other aspects of everyday living such as watering plants or bringing in the mail.
· Notes Of Caution: Hiring someone to look after your pet on your turf can get costly, especially if it requires a stringent schedule such as them being there for special times for walks, baths, etc. And, you may want to rethink the sitter if you pet needs constant attention and supervision.
· In The Know: Make sure the person whose services you secure is bonded and insured. Also make sure to give him or her an in-hour run-through and go over all his or her responsibilities. Sign a contract and a Vet Notivication Form, so, in your abscense she can make medical decisions. And, don’t forget to leave a number where you or a close friend or family member (who can make decisions of find you) can be reached.
· Inquiring Minds: Make sure to check references and that the same person will be taking care of your pet daily, so that your pet builds up confidence and trust. You should also have your pet “meet” the sitter a few times before you head out on your sojourn. And sitters should also keep a record of your pet’s diet, attitude and activities.
Just Calling On A Friend:
· Advantages: A friend whose an animal lover may be the ideal option for checking up on him or her, especially if they already have a good rapport.
· Notes Of Caution: You’re friend may lack the professional skills necessary for taking care of your pet and may require detailed instruction regarding routine, pet care, feeding and walking routines.
· In The Know: It’s best to have your friend pay a few visits before you hit the road and for you to encourage a test run.
· Inquiring Minds: Don’t forget to set up a schedule and find out when and how often your friend can allocate time to tend to your pet. Also, don’t forget to discuss money matters. While some friends may be willing to help you out as a favor, others may want and expect some sort of compensation.
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Ruff Ride: Taking Pets Along When You Travel