Vacation Pet Care: Keep them Safe while you're AwayPublished December 15, 2008
You've waited all year for your vacation, that chance to visit with family and friends, or maybe just escape to someplace exotic. But as a responsible pet owner, you need to consider what to do with your pet. Read on for tips on keeping your pet happy and healthy while you're away!You've waited all year for your vacation, that chance to visit with family and friends, or maybe just escape to someplace exotic. But as a responsible pet owner, you need to consider what to do with your pet.
A well-mannered dog is welcome in many places. If your dog is polite, you might want to take him along. Just be sure that the place you're going to is pet-friendly and that includes a relative's home. You have to show responsibility as a guest by cleaning up after your dog and not leaving him alone to bark or destroy a room.
Always bring along a first-aid kit, a photo of your pet in case he escapes from you, the phone number of a local veterinarian, your pet's regular food and bottled water, toys, and plastic bags for cleaning up poop.
While cats can travel, that's not usually the choice for the majority of felines.
"The best and safest way to do it is to have somebody that you trust take care of your pet, whether that's a pet-sitter, a relative or a neighbor," advises Pam Johnson-Bennett, a respected feline behaviorist. Never leave a pet home alone.
Unfortunately, many people think they can do that with cats. Cats get lonely and even leaving your cat alone for one night can be dangerous because you don't know what can happen to your cat or your house overnight.
While not everyone can afford a pet-sitter for their cat or dog, Johnson-Bennett suggests exchanging favors with a friend, relative or neighbor, taking care of each other's pets.
"Cats in general would prefer that you go on vacation and send them a postcard and they get to stay home. Your version of a vacation is seeing exotic locations, eating different food every night, sleeping in a great hotel. For a cat it's my bed, my litter box, my couch, my food," Johnson-Bennett points out.
Most people think that cats are loners but that's not true, they love feline and human company and many have canine companions.
If you have one cat, your cat will do fine at home while you're on vacation as long as you've prepared by having your pet meet the person who will take care of him before you leave. To reduce your pet's stress, have that person come over before you're going to go on vacation to spend time with your pet. Johnson-Bennett had her neighbor come over for play sessions with her cats and see how the neighbor played with them, long before the neighbor came in to care for them.
If you must board your pet, inspect whatever boarding facility you're considering for cleanliness, safety and the assurance that the staff will meet your pet's emotional, physical and medical needs. Bring along your pet's food, some toys, your cat's regular litter -- those touches of home that will make your pet comfortable. "You can also take a tee-shirt or towel that has your scent on it, and if you're going to be gone a long time take a few, put them in a plastic bag. Ask the staff to put them as cozy little beds," suggests Johnson-Bennett.
Vacation should be fun and worry-free. Following these tips will help to ensure that it is, and that your pet is comfortable all the while.
Darlene Arden, CABC, is an author, journalist, speaker, and teaches part of the Dog Training and Management Course at Kutztown University. You can visit the Certified Animal Behavior Consultant's website at: www.darlenearden.com