By: Maurine Anderson
Heading out of town soon for a few days, or even for an extended period of time? Here are some tips you’ll want to remember as you begin to arrange accommodations for your pet.
Remember your two priorities for your pet: safety and care.
A lot of dog owners go over-the-top with pet hotels and ultra luxe accommodations for their pets while they’re away, but the truth is that these extra luxuries for your pet are probably serving you more than they are your pet. So before you shell out a ton of extra money for luxury accommodations for your pet, remind yourself that the two most important things to you are that your pet is safe, and that it is well cared for.
Know that there are money saving options.
One major barrier that keeps pet owners from leaving town for even just a few days is the cost of pet care. As mentioned earlier, luxe accommodations for pets can quickly become expensive and over-the-top, not to mention unnecessary. There are definitely ways to save money on pet care. You might consider trading animal sitting services with a trusted neighbor, watching your neighbor’s pets every so often and having your neighbor watch your pets every so often. Or, if you have a cat that lives primarily indoors, you might have a friend stop by a few times each day to watch your pet. And even if you do end up needing to go with a kennel, keep in mind that your pet probably doesn’t need amenities such as a big-screen TV or music tailored to your pet’s tastes. Your pet is going to miss you regardless of whether or not there is a TV or music present.
Leave important details for the person watching your pet.
A kennel will likely have its own protocol for taking care of pets in the event of an emergency, but if it so happens that a friend or neighbor is going to be watching your pet, it’s important to prepare them as best as you can. Leave your friend or neighbor with your vet’s phone number and important health conditions and idiosyncrasies to be aware of. If you have an emergency fund stashed away for your pet’s medical emergencies—a financial tip you can read more about here—it might be a good idea to tell your friend or neighbor that as well. (This information, of course, should only be left with those you trust completely.)
Consider your pet’s needs.
When weighing out your options for having your pet cared for while you are away, be sure to consider things from your pet’s perspective. Is your cat low key, spending the majority of its time indoors? It might be best to have your cat stay at home, and then have a neighbor stop by and check in on your cat a few times each day. Do you have a dog that is particularly shy? Maybe it’s best not to bring your dog to a highly social pet care service facility. On the other side of the coin, if your dog is extremely social, then maybe you should shy away from a traditional kennel. Dogs that have separation anxiety, meanwhile, may need to be gradually introduced to having you gone for extended periods of time. Your dog or cat’s personality and needs can help you determine which accommodations are best for it and how long you can afford to be away from home.
Consider the age of your pet.
It’s important to consider the age of your pet as you are planning your time away from home. Young dogs and older dogs, for example, are best left alone for shorter periods of time than middle aged dogs. (Dogs that are less than 18 months in age can be considered young dogs, while medium sized dogs older than 8 years and large dogs older than 6 years can be considered older dogs.)
Be sure that your pet is wearing a collar and tags.
This is especially true if you are having a neighbor or friend watch your pet while you are away. You may know how to call your dog back to you when you’re outside, or how to keep your cat from escaping your home during the day, but that doesn’t mean that your friend or neighbor will. Ensuring that your pet is wearing a collar and up-to-date tags can ensure that someone in the neighborhood will know who to contact should your dog or cat run away while you are gone.
Display pet stickers in the front of your home.
This is good way to prepare for an emergency at any time, and there is perhaps no better time than when you are about to leave home. Tell the fire department in case of an emergency how many pets are in your home by displaying a sticker somewhere near your front door.
Take your dog on a walk before you leave.
If you have a dog, it’s a good idea to take your dog on a walk before you leave—for the simple reason that your dog will be tired. When your dog is tired from a walk outside, it is more likely to remain calm when you leave, and the transition into your absence will go much more smoothly.
Don’t make a big fuss.
Animals have remarkable intuition, and your pets may even be able to sense an upcoming absence if you make a big fuss out of it. Leave home as if it’s no big deal and as though you are going to be home very soon. This approach will also make the transition much easier for your pet.