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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  1. We normally have friend or family watch our dogs while we are away. Unless it is a longer trip, then we will have them go to the Kennel and stay. They have doggy day, care, walks etc. there. An automatic feeder would be lovely. As you know, there tummy’s are like alarm clocks. I could not even imagine not having to get up to feed them at 5am each morning. Even on the weekends! Wouldn’t that be awesome to sleep in!

  2. Our friends Pete and Lisa feed our cat almost anytime we’re out of town

  3. When I am lucky, I can get my brother to come here and watch our dog while away. Otherwise, he goes to back to his breeder who will keep him.

  4. My grandmother watches our dog while we’re away.

  5. I have my friend Tina feed my pets while I am out of town. She is very reliable and my pets love her!

  6. We board them at a really nice place called Lucky Dog, someone is there 24 hours and they are not in a cage they are in a 4X4 indoor pen and let out every hour and my 2 dogs can be in the same pen.

  7. When my wife and I go on vacations, we have her uncle watch our dog while we are gone. He’s legally blind, so something like this would be a tremendous help for him, to help us with our furry family member.

  8. We normally take our dogs with us but this time we are going on a boat and will have a professional dog sitter stay at our house.

  9. We leave our cat home by herself with plenty of water and food available. We also have two litter boxes for her convenience. Our neighbor comes in every two days to check on her and to scoop the boxes.

    The dog is another matter. She sometimes stays with friends and sometimes she has to go to ‘camp’. At camp she enjoys an indoor and an outdoor play yard with dogs of her size. She does ok at camp, but one time came home very sick which cost over $500 at the vet’s office. We don’t like to ask our friends too often because we don’t want to take advantage of their generosity.

  10. Usually my inlaws will watch our dog while we’re away and my husbands cousins feed the fish and lizard!

  11. I am very lucky to live in an extremely dog friendly area (right outside of Washington DC) so I have tons of friends and co-workers that have and/or love pets. Since my dog has spent a lot of time around their pets and they all get along, I feel comfortable having her stay with a friend or co-worker. Likewise, I trust that they are experienced and attentive enough as a pet parent to take good care of her while I am away. Likewise, I am always happy to return the favor and let their pets crash with us for a few days!

  12. A neighbor always watches my cat.

  13. Miss Diamond has only been left in a caregivers hands once. She did well but I was suffering separation anxiety!

  14. I don’t go on vacation…my cats couldn’t handle it! But I will look into the professional pet sitters listed in your e-mail. If they can stay in their home, that would be a comfort to all!

  15. when we adopted our cats, we mentioned our travel concerns to the volunteer there helping us. Turns out she was a vet tech!! What luck!! We have confidence they are well looked after and loved when we go away. And the shelter has the added bonus of getting to see how happy the adoptees are, which she tells us is very satisfying as they usually don’t know for sure. WIN WIN!!!

  16. My sister watches my dogs when I am away

  17. We get a pet sitter for the cat and take the dog to an awesome boarding facility.

  18. Sit Stay and Play Petsitters is my professional pet sitter! Awesome sauce!

  19. My groomer is my pet sitter. My pets know her and I trust her. She comes twice a day and I have never had a problem

  20. We are very fortunate to have my husband’s aunt be our pet sitter. She loves our dog and is happy to stay at our house and keep her eye on Cinder when we are away.

  21. My mother will usually pop in, but usually if she can’t go with us one will stay home

  22. We’re really lucky that my parents live four blocks away, so they can come over and feed our fur babies, let them out to potty, play with them, and give them tummy rubs while we’re away. No matter how much fun we’re having, we always miss them!

  23. My daughter, son-in-law, and grandson com to stay at our house with their two dogs while we are vacationing. That way my furbabies, 2 dogs and 2 cats, are not alone and it keeps stress level down for them. They are happier. We tried where my daughter only came ever 3 to 4 hours for a short period of time but definitely went home at night and they were stressed when she would come in the morning and she had a problem with them leaving her side and going out.

  24. Usually my sister or mother. But if all of us are going one of my friends will cat sit for me.

  25. Family or.friend who lives nearby. Easier on pets & less streetlamps for is.

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