When going on vacation, is it better to board your pet while you’re away or find a pet sitter to stay in your home?
Either can be a good choice if you do your homework beforehand. A veterinarian clinic may be the best choice if your pet has a medical condition that requires medication. If you have decided to board your pet, have your veterinarian recommend a licensed and accredited kennel. Visit the kennel and ask questions. Be observant of details, such as cleanliness. Are the dog runs of adequate size? Are there solid partitions between the kennels? How frequently are the dogs walked and where? Are there separate boarding areas for cats? Is there adequate space for the cats to get exercise and comfortably use the litter box? Are the cat cages far enough apart to avoid close contact between cats? Do the current animals that are being boarded have fresh water? Ask if you can bring your pets’ favorite food and toys. Discuss the procedure regarding your pet’s medication, if necessary. Don’t forget to ask about the course of action should your pet become ill.
Make reservations early, especially around holidays. Confirm that your pet is current on vaccinations. Many kennels require that dogs be vaccinated against bordatella, a contagious viral and bacterial complex. Find out what you need to bring for your pet’s stay at the kennel. If your pet will be boarded for a long period of time, you might want to consider a night or two at the kennel beforehand to help your pet adjust, especially if he suffers from separation anxiety. Most dogs do well with boarding and even seem to enjoy the chance to play with other dogs, if possible. Young kittens do well. Cats generally don’t enjoy the change of environment but overall, do well. On the day you intend to drop off your pet, remember not to overfeed or over react on leaving. And when you pick up your pet, wait four hours before feeding. Sometimes, dogs will become so excited that it can cause stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea. For the next few days, don’t be surprised if your pet sleeps more than usual. This is normal.
Having a pet sitter come to your home is a good idea if your pet doesn’t do well in a kennel. Ferrets are pets that actually do better left at home looked after by friends, neighbors or pet sitters than taken to a boarding facility. Pets will generally feel less stress from separation if they remain in their own comfortable surroundings. You can find a pet sitter by asking your veterinarian or friends; or contact Pet Sitters International at 336-983-9222. Call the pet sitter and have them come to your home to discuss the details. Items for discussion include sitter’s fees, will they administer medication, if necessary, and are additional services offered? If the pet sitter is not going to stay at the house, how frequently do they plan on coming over. Will they be able to clean a litter box or walk the dog? If it becomes necessary, will they take your pet to your veterinarian? Find out what experience they have and ask for references. Meeting the pet sitter in your home will provide you with insight on how he/she will interact with your pet.
Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags or are microchipped with current contact information. Be certain to leave your veterinarian’s telephone number and your information of where you can be reached. And don’t forget to tell the pet sitter where the pet food and supplies are stored.