Cheryl Wicks: So, you plan to travel …
What will you do with your pet? If you have a pet you must PLAN AHEAD. This will allow you to have a great trip and travel worry free. If you are planning a vacation part of your budgeting should include planning for pet care.
When I go on a vacation I like to place my pets where I know they will have fun and feel like they are on vacation too.
If you are planning to kennel your dog either at a commercial kennel or a veterinary facility plan ahead. If your trip is around a popular holiday, available kennels will be booked, often months in advance.
If you plan to leave your pet in something more like a day care, it will also be booked in advance.
If you are leaving your pet somewhere for the first time it is important to do some reference checking to be sure your pet will be receiving the kind of care you want it to have.
If you leave your pet with a pet sitter you may want to know that person is bonded and has good references.
Always make veterinary arrangements when you are gone. Let your vet know that you have a pet caretaker and that it is OK to treat the animal in your absence.
Be absolutely sure that your pet caretaker knows how to find you and you know how to find them. You also need to have a plan in place if your pet becomes ill or injured during the hours your vet is not open.
Please have your animal well identified. It is not unusual for Sammie’s Friends to receive pets with no identification and then we cannot contact you and all we can do is wait and hope someone shows up.
We will always hold a pet for six days before adopting it out and many times longer. This would all get handled so easily if there was a proper ID.
Microchips are great; the animal can be scanned at either of the two shelters or a veterinary office.
However, if your pet is picked up after hours then what? If you have a simple little name tag from a pet store with the animals name and number you or your pet sitter can be reunited immediately, saving you worry, time and redemption fees.
You can leave your dog at a board and train facility. This is a good plan if you have an unruly dog that needs some professional help to become a better behaved dog.
You will have to continue to reinforce whatever your dog was taught once you take it back home.
Be sure you package your pet’s food in sufficient quantity to last during the time you are gone.
If your pet is on medication be sure that whoever you are leaving the pet with is willing and capable of administering the medication and that all medication instructions are very clear.
You don’t want to find out on your way out the door that the person you have hired cannot give your difficult cat its medication. Then what? Cancel your trip? Or?
Cats do not adapt as well as dogs so if at all possible have someone come to your home and care for your kitties. Make sure you have someone that will give them attention in addition to handling the custodial tasks of caring for your kitty.
Kitty’s need attention and love too.
Depending on where you are going and how you are getting there you can also consider taking your pet on vacation. This is a more viable option for dogs than cats.
However, I once had a cat that traveled in the car just like a dog (loose and on a leash) I wouldn’t advise this for most cats. If you do take your pet consider whether it will be welcome if you are going to visit friends or relatives. Be sure you have located dog friendly inns and even dog parks along the way.
Plan ahead and both you and your pet will have a good time. Most pets are family and we wouldn’t leave our children with just anyone and I certainly wouldn’t leave my pets with just anyone.
For their sake I want them to be safe, for my sake I want to enjoy my travel whether it be for work or pleasure.
Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie’s Friends.
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