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Finding the Right Pet Sitter

It’s that time of year where we start to think about getting away to somewhere warmer. For some of us this includes our pets; for others, it means finding someone to look after them. This is a big decision, and these are members of our family, we want them to be well looked after. Some people are lucky enough to have a family member that they trust that can care for their fur baby.

Some people like the idea of taking their pet to a kennel where it can socialize with others and have a vacation of its own. There are a number of good boarding facilities around that are trying to make your pets stay much happier. When choosing a boarding facility, you will want to make sure that you visit the facility prior to leaving your pet there. Is it clean, does the staff seem organized and happy? What do the runs look like, do they have a bed for your pet. Is it noisy? Are there any safety concerns, a bent wire in the run, torn fencing or jagged edges? How much time out of the run does your dog get? Is it supervised play time, or is it a personalized walk? Some boarding facilities are also offering an experience in a house setting as opposed to being in a run. Is staff on site 24 hours, or what hours are they there. What are the hours for pick up and drop off? Will you need to board an additional day if your flight comes in later in the afternoon? If you are boarding your pet, also ask the facility what vaccine requirements your pet needs. You will want to make sure your pet is up to date on vaccinations like rabies, distemper, parvovirus and bordetella prior to its stay.

There is also the option of having your pet go to someone else’s home. You will want to discuss where your pet will stay in this person’s home. Will your pet be crated or free to roam the home? Does your pet go on the furniture at home, and will they be allowed on the furniture at this house? Are there other pets in the household? Do those pets get along with your fur baby? Do they have a fenced backyard? This could be someone you know personally or someone that was recommended to you either through a pet sitting service or a friend or your veterinarian. You will want to meet them and see their place before leaving your pet there. You will want to ask similar questions as if you were boarding at a kennel.

Another option is to have someone come and look after your pet in your own home. This can be less stressful on your fur baby because they are in their environment. This could be someone coming a few times a day to spend time with your pet and make sure it is fed, or it could be someone staying at your house for the entire time you are not home. There are now companies that specialize in this service. You can also ask around with friends or co-workers to see if someone is willing to look after your pet. You will want to make sure that you go over any medications that are being given to your pet and your pet’s feeding schedule. You will also want to discuss how much exercise your pet will get while you are away. If the person is not staying at your place, discuss how much time they will be spending with your pet. Your veterinarian may have a list of people that they know that offer pet sitting services or a list of boarding kennels in your area that they recommend.

In either scenario, you will want to discuss what will happen if your pet gets sick. How will the boarding facility or person staying in your house deal with it? Will they contact your veterinarian or take your pet to a veterinarian of their choosing? How will they contact you? You may also want to notify your veterinarian that you will be going away and give them the name of who is looking after your pet for the duration of your vacation.
You want to enjoy your vacation content with the fact that your furbaby is being pampered just as if you were there.

Written by: Jacqui, RVT

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