If you are planning your vacation and have a pet at home, you might be wondering what to do. It will always depend on the type of vacation we take and the type of pet we have. We might want to be with our little pet all the time but it is not always possible. Before we decide to take them with us, we should visit the Veterinarian. Many animals are not fit to travel due to their temperament or physical condition. And in many cases, animals get stressed more than when they spend some time away from their owners.

If you decide to travel with your pet, you need to have the necessary vaccines. You can also give your pet a sedative to travel more comfortably. Never give your pet any medication without the Vet’s approval!  And never take your pet in the plane’s cargo hold! It can be stressful and dangerous. Your little pet can even suffocate to death! Before travel, check the pet regulations of  the airlines and hotels where you will stay. Be sure to have everything you need on hand, so your pet can be comfortable during the trip.

If you cannot take your pet along based on the type of trip you will take (You might have to travel for long hours with your pet confined) or by recommendation of the Veterinarian, there are several pet care options available to you.

The most simple, convenient, reliable and easy option is to leave your pet in the care of a family member or friend who loves animals. On one hand, you can directly leave them at the home of the person (if they are used to this option), or you can ask them to run by on a daily basis to feed and care for your pet.

In the case of cats, they don’t really like changes. So it is preferable to leave them at home and have someone care for them during your absence.

Other options include the Vet’s office, a kennel or spa for animals. You may also choose to hire a pet sitter.

The Vet’s office is not the most recommended option unless your pet has an important health issue. The animal will not have enough space and may be in a cage all day. If you decide to leave your pet at the Vet’s office, be sure the Vet has enough open space set apart, a kennel or a space where the animal can roam free. If not, it is not worth it!

If your dog is kind and sociable, a good kennel might be the most appropriate choice. Before you depart for a long journey, train your pet during the weekends to adapt to the new situation. This will help you note how your pet will react and behave. If you use a kennel services, it is convenient to do prior research and references before choosing one. You may consult with your Vet and ask if they know a reliable place.

Some great questions to ask the kennel or pet care center, is this:

How many animals are there per assistant?

How frequently are the animals exercised and for how long?

Do the dogs receive individual attention?

Will you follow the special meal instructions I give you?

Can I leave my pet’s favorite toy or litter?

It is important that the facility request your up to date vaccination chart. The facilities should be clean without the extreme smell of urine. It should also not have a strong chlorine scent! Confirm if the animals can run freely and interact with each other. Proper controls should be available for those pets with aggressive temperaments.

Once you have made your choice, book the reservation well in advance of your trip. Kennels are usually full during the holidays and peak vacation periods.

A pet sitter might be preferable if your dog is shy, nervous or elderly. If you search for a professional sitter, get references on the individual. Be sure your pet is comfortable with the person and, just like at a kennel, get your pet used to the idea by adapting to the circumstances. You can visit the person, have them feed your pet for a few days or take them for a walk. If you have a lot of animals, a sitter might decide to care for them at your home if you do not have a family member or friend to do it for you. This is the less expensive and most convenient option. Of course, you may run a privacy and security risk! This is why personal references are so important. You also need to meet the individual beforehand. Many great pet sitters belong to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. They also offer a full certification program.

A final option is to take and install your pet at the home of the sitter. If they get along well both pet and sitter, this is the ideal choice! This personalized care will help your pet to adapt to the sitter’s daily routine and they will feel as comfortable as they do at home.

In any case, whether you travel with your pet or leave them in the care of a third party, be sure the microchip, immunizations and the medical card are up to date.

Have a great trip!