Have pets? The best option for a worry-free vacation

Pets prefer to be in their own homes

March 6 – 12 is Professional Pet Sitters Week which was created to inform pet parents about the benefits of choosing a professional pet sitter.

With warmer weather around the corner, many people begin looking forward to a much-needed vacation. But often there is one nagging worry – who will look after the pets while you’re away? After all, unless you can bring your pet with you, it’s difficult to relax and actually enjoy the vacation until you’re certain that Fido is in good hands. The key is to begin your planning now so you will have peace of mind knowing exactly who will be looking after your dog or cat when vacation time rolls around.

Options for pet care when you go on vacation

First, you’ll need to decide whether to board your pet, or leave him at home. Staying in a luxury hotel is fun for us, but dogs and cats feel happiest and most secure in their own homes. Leaving your pet in an unfamiliar environment can add to the stress he’s already feeling about your absence. In addition to feeling safer at home, boarding subjects your pet to the stress of traveling to the kennel as well as potential exposure to other pets, illnesses and parasites. You’ll also have to coordinate your schedule with the operating hours of the facility; if you arrive home from vacation after business hours, you’ll have to wait until the next day to be reunited with your pet. Many boarding facilities are booked far in advance, so booking can be challenging, especially around popular holiday times.

If you do choose to let your pet stay in the comfort of your home while you’re away, the next step is to select a caregiver. You could simply ask a neighbor, coworker, friend or family member to look in on your dog or cat, but are you 100% certain that they’re reliable and would know what to do in an emergency? It can also be awkward to always impose on others to care for your pet, especially if you travel frequently. This is where a professional pet sitter becomes invaluable.

Consider a professional pet sitter

Professional pet sitters are experienced and have been trained to deal with pets of all types, and to recognize when veterinary care is needed in an emergency. A professional pet sitter will be licensed and bonded, and can be relied upon to show up as scheduled and take excellent care of your pet, even giving medications if necessary. Most pet sitters will also provide basic care of your home, such as bringing in the mail and watering the plants, if requested.

There are several resources that can help you find a trusted pet sitter, such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), Rover.com, or Pet Sitters International (PSI). It’s best to set up a time well in advance of your vacation to meet with the prospective pet sitter and go over your pet’s needs. Some things you should be prepared to discuss:

  • What’s included in the service? Ask about fees, and frequency and duration of visits
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for references
  • Go over your pet’s diet, any required medications, and treats
  • Provide the pet sitter with your contact information and departure/arrival dates
  • Provide the pet sitter with your vet’s contact information
  • Ask how you can contact the pet sitter while you’re away

Vacations are the perfect time to relax and unwind, and with proper research and planning, hiring a professional pet sitter can ensure your pet is in good hands during your time away.

Win a FREE vacation pet feeder!

Whether you’re going for a short overnight trip or just can’t get home at your pet’s regular feeding time, an automatic food dispenser will ensure your pet is fed at his or her regular mealtime. For a chance to win an Aspen Pet  Lebistro Programmable Food Dispenser (holds 5 pounds), leave a comment below telling us who watches your dog or cat when you’re away.
Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Food Dispenser
The random winner will be drawn next Thursday, March 17, 2016, so everyone who participates has a chance to win. Good luck! (Limited to residents of the U.S.)

Congratulations to the winner of our drawing, Guillermo! 

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41 Comments

  1. Family or.friend who lives nearby. Easier on pets & less stressful too

  2. We have friends or family feed them.
    We onley go 3 or 5days at a time

  3. My wife and I will be taking a vacation om March 19th through March 23 to go to Kansas City. We usually board our 8 furry children , but this time we are going to try a professional pet sitter to come to our house several times a day while we are away. We have already found the company we want to use and they have already come to the house so we can meet each other and go over everything and discuss the contract. They was also able to meet the dogs as well.

  4. family are the best pet sitters for our cuddly pets!

  5. My son takes care of the cats while we are gone.

  6. Generally we take our babies with us when traveling. We depend on our sons to check on our chi’s when away for more than a night. Might be interested in a pet sitter the next time.

  7. Usually, my neighbor, Tiffany, will care for my pets and kindly comes to the house so my fur family can stay at home while I travel. I have taken them with me in the past, but they do seem to fair better at home when I’m gone. But we do miss each other very much.

  8. When my husband and I go on Vacation we call a professional pet sitter. We don’t like boarding them, I have a 2 year old that has to take pills 2 times a day. They love going out side to play

  9. When we go on a trip, my dog (shih tzu) stays at the animal hospital, which is where we also see the vet. I feel comfortable with him staying there because they have a chart on him, and can treat him if any problems arise.

  10. My amazing adult stepdaughter cares for our furbabies when we are away 😉

  11. When we travel and can’t take our chihuahuas we usually have one of our younger siblings (18 years old +) come stay at our house. And have them take care of them for a couple of days…it’s a bit of a getaway for them too lol!!

  12. My best friend, known to Brewtus as “Grandma Maddie”, loves him as her own. She gives him lots of love and care when I am gone. If she cannot, I have another neighbor with 3 Neopolitan Mastiffs. We trade with each other, caring for each other’s dogs like family.

  13. My brothers watch my shorkie and two cats when I’m away. Unfortunately they make me pay them for taking care of my pets, which is horrible! But I love them anyway haha.

  14. I have three adult children, and one of them stays at the house to care for pets if I’m away. The pets know them, and the kids know the house. It’s worked so far.

  15. My neighbor Judy watches DOLLY , Judy has five dogs of error OWN
    I trust her

  16. My friend watches Pucca when I am away. She adores him.

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