Now that the holiday season is in full swing, a lot of us will be going home to see family and friends and bringing your pet with you might not be an option. Choosing the right type of care for your pet while you’re traveling can be one of the tougher decisions to make as a pet owner. It’s a bummer that we can’t always bring Fido with us when we go away for holidays and vacations, and leaving them behind inevitably makes us feel a little sad, nervous and guilty.
It’s important to find the right type of arrangement for your dog, because different pups have different needs: more active and social dogs might thrive in a boarding facility environment, while the more shy or anxious dog might not. Maybe your pup doesn’t get along with other dogs, so hiring a house sitter might be the right option, but perhaps the thought of someone staying in your home makes you uncomfortable so having a pet sitter come several times per day makes more sense for you.
As someone who also works in the pet care industry, I know that the choices available can be a little overwhelming, so here are some suggestions to consider when choosing where your dog will stay and what they’ll do while you’re away.
- Consider your dog’s personality and activity level: Are they more social and get along with most other dogs or do they prefer to keep to themselves? Do they need to run around a lot or are they more inclined to laze about all day? When choosing a boarding facility or doggy hotel, find out if they have different areas or groups for these specific characteristics. A pup who just wants to relax all day might get a little stressed out if they’re put in an environment where lots of excitement is going on all day long and vice versa, a dog who needs to get the lead out might go a little stir crazy if they can’t get enough exercise.
- If in-home pet care is something you’re considering, my first piece of advice is to schedule this as far in advance as possible. Generally pet sitting companies have a smaller staff and therefore only a certain amount of time and manpower available to provide the care needed.
- If in-home pet care is the route you choose, find out if the company is licensed, bonded and insured. This is a precaution any reputable company will take to ensure that if anything were to happen while your pet is in their care, there would be a way to compensate you. You may find that Mom ‘n Pop outfits may have a cheaper price than an established company, but carry no insurance. The idiom “You get what you pay for” is applicable to this situation.
- House sitting is another option. Again, my top recommendation would be to use this service from an established company who is insured. It’s great because the dog’s routines are pretty much kept the same. Spot is taken out for potty walks at approximately the same times that you normally do, feeding routines are the same, and kept in their own home, which eliminates a lot of the stress they may feel when you leave. Often times a house sitter is in daily contact with you as well, providing updates and peace of mind while you’re away.
- Research any company online before you decide to use their services. Yelp and Angie’s List are great tools to aid in your decision, and can give you an excellent idea of the level of care that will be provided.
Remember that you are your pet’s advocate. After all, they can’t make this decision for themselves!
Take careful consideration of what type of care might be best for them, and be aware that sometimes it’s not always the most convenient. Sure, it might be a hassle to set up a meet & greet with a pet sitting company, get copies of your keys made and fill out paperwork, but doing a little extra leg-work to get quality care is worth it. Just think of it this way, ensuring your pet is well cared for while you’re gone makes traveling that much easier and less stressful for you!