By Sari Reis
With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be seeking care for your pets while you travel. The two basic choices are either boarding or having someone come to your home to look after them. Making the best decision depends on several factors. To assist you, I have listed some things you need to consider.
Is your pet a cat or dog? Cats are very territorial and do not like change. For them, staying at home with an experienced caregiver is the preferred choice.
Do you have a senior pet? Many seniors, although quite social, prefer to maintain the status quo and stay at home. Familiar surroundings are much less stressful when family is away.
What is the health of your pet? Dogs or cats with medical concerns often have special needs. Sometimes they require medications. In this case, you will want to have a caregiver who is skilled, experienced and comfortable administering medication as required. Medically compromised pets should probably remain in their home environment. Some veterinary technicians offer pet sitting and may be an excellent choice for your caregiver. If your pet requires round-the-clock attention, getting someone who is skilled and can stay at your home is ideal. Alternatively, you may want to consider boarding your pet with the veterinarian while you are gone. Most veterinary clinics offer this option.
What is your dog’s personality? Is he social? Does he enjoy the companionship of humans and other dogs? For those of you who work from home, your pet is used to having someone around a lot. If you are going away for more than just a few days, your dog is really going to miss the human contact, and in this case, I would recommend boarding. Make sure you do your due diligence and are comfortable with the care your pet will receive at the boarding facility.
Do you have more than one pet? With two or more dogs or cats, they have each other for companionship. Also, if you have several pets, one skilled caregiver coming to your home would be much more practical than boarding the dogs and getting care at home for the other animals.
What is the duration of your trip? If you decide on home care, be sure the frequency of visits will be appropriate to keep your pet from feeling lonely and depressed. For dogs, a minimum of two visits a day and preferably three works best. For kitties, a minimum of one daily visit.
What can you afford? When planning your holiday vacation, factor in the cost of pet care and remember this is not the place to skimp. These are your family members and you want them to get proper care.
By taking these factors into consideration, you can move forward in finding the best in-home caregiver or boarding facility for your furry kids, ensuring both you and your pets have a good holiday vacation.
—Sari Reis is a Certified Humane Education Specialist and the owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services. For more information you can contact her at 760-644-0289 or visit www.missionvalleypetsitting.com.