You’ve decided to travel this holiday season; in fact, all of your plans are underway, including what to do with your beloved four-legged family member. For some, this can be the most difficult decision of all: Should you take your favorite friend with you? Should he or she stay home with a sitter? Would a kennel be the best option?
Portia Ogara, dog-walker extraordinaire, has 12 years experience in dog hiking, dog sitting and training. The Everyone-N-Their-Dog owner says, “Some dogs thrive in a boarding environment while others do well with a sitter.” Portia adds, “A dog’s temperament must be considered first when deciding the right fit. Some dogs are more social while others do better in a home environment.”
An AssociatedPress-Petside.com poll found that 75 percent of dog owners claim that taking a pet with them made their trip more enjoyable. Most of these owners stayed in a dog-friendly hotel.
When hiring a sitter, always use someone you know and trust, or use a good referral agency, such as the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
“Should you choose to use a dog sitter’s home,” Ogara says, “make sure the environment is clean and free from odors. Multiple daily walks should be included, as well as a comfortable sleeping area.”
Whether you take your pet with you or leave your pet in a supervised environment, make sure all vaccinations are current, ID tag(s) and microchip(s) are in place, and leave emergency contact information and instructions on what to do in the untimely event something life-threatening should happen. When travelling keep a copy of your pet’s health certificate and medical records on hand.
If you choose to place your pet in a boarding home or kennel, humanesociety.org suggests making sure the facility undergoes routine inspections. Also, ask if the dogs are allowed to mingle and, if so, are they screened for aggressive behaviors. Observe the staff to see if they show compassion toward the animals they care for.
Laura Moyer is with City Pet Club, one of Utah’s largest boarding communities that specializes in boarding and daycare with a flair for blending similar temperament dogs together and provides web-cam coverage of their facility. Moyer stresses not waiting until the last minute to find a facility, “The most important thing about boarding is to schedule ahead. Kennels fill up fast, so the earlier the better.”
For more information, great websites are available with countless suggestions on how to keep your pooch healthy, happy, safe and emotionally stable while you vacation this holiday season.
Five Choices to Consider When You Travel And Have A Pet:
- Dog goes with you.
- Dog stays home with a sitter in your home.
- Dog stays at a sitter’s home.
- Dog is placed in home boarding (several dogs).
- Dog is placed in a kennel or dog spa.