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