Want to go on vacation? What will your pet do?
Many of you who have pets have run into this issue multiple times. You want to go on vacation, but you can’t bring your pet. You may have even experienced the sad fact of not being able to go on vacation because you couldn’t find someone to take care of your furry friend or the pet care was too expensive.
I have a friend who is 59, very close to retirement and is very excited about traveling the world. One catch: he also loves to bird hunt, and recently became so involved in the activity, that he got a new puppy. A YOUNG puppy. An untrained, non- housebroken, very ACTIVE puppy. It was only a matter of weeks before he was wringing his hands and asking, “what have I done”?!
At this point, my friend had the decision to make. While his dog is now older (a year) and well-trained, he still needs his owner’s companionship. And as John is planning his bigger trips this year, he is becoming concerned about what to do with his dog while he is away.
Pet Care Options When You’re Planning a Vacation
- A trainer, someone who will continue to shape the dog for hunting while John is gone ($$$$$)
- A boarding facility, a group of folks who give a variable level of care while his dog stays in a run or limited space while he is gone. ($$-$$$)
- A pet sitter who will stay at his own house overnights and spend some time and care for the pup. ($$-$$$)
- A neighbor, friend or family member willing to do the above ($-$$$)
- A four-star daycare and boarding facility with exercise areas, walks and personal attention to the dog ($$$$$).
Now how would YOU decide? I have seen friends or family take WORSE care of a pet than a professional. The best choices are usually a private, professional pet sitter willing to stay at the house, or a four-star (translation EXPENSIVE) boarding facility.
What to Consider When Choosing a Place to House your Pet
If using a pet sitter:
- Make sure they are licensed and bonded against theft.
- Make sure you obtain references.
- A good choice is often a veterinary technician working with your own vet. Check with your vet for recommendations.
- Another option is petsitter.com.
If using a boarding facility:
- Get several word of mouth recommendations.
- Take a surprise tour and see if the dogs appear thin.
- Ask if they have cameras for you to monitor your own pet while you are away.
- Ask what they do to control FLEAS, KENNEL COUGH, and PARASITES.
Ultimately, you must decide if owning a dog is for you. If you plan to be away a lot of the time, it may be better to choose not to have a dog, or choose a dog who can travel with you, and plan trips to dog-friendly places.
There are several websites that offer suggestions for dog-friendly hotels, campgrounds and the like. If world travel is the next item on your “bucket list”, though, please be fair and really consider if a dog is the best choice for you at this time. Once you have made your choice, enjoy the journey!!
Have you experienced the tough decision on what to do with your pet when you go on vacation? What methods have worked best for you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.