So, your vacation days are fast approaching and you are just itching to get away, kick back and relax. But, there is one small matter that keeps eating at you at the back of your mind, what to do with the pets?
Before you buy plane tickets, book a hotel room and clear your schedule, the first person you should call when planning your vacation is a pet care provider or sitter. Without someone to look after your dogs, cats, birds, ferrets …you name it, you’re grounded.
Figuring out what to do with the pet(s) when you are vacationing can prove more difficult than solving calculus unless of course you are lucky enough to have a good friend or member of the extended family who agrees to take on the responsibility. Most people scratch their heads on this one.
The following are five tips to make the process as painless as possible.
1. What Kind of Care Do You Need?
This will depend on your budget, comfort level and your pet’s unique needs or temperament. You can go for a pet ‘hotel’ also now known as pet daycare centers or identify a pet sitter to look after your pet in their own home or your home. Research a couple of options in case one falls through.
Give yourself lots of time to book a pet care provider. Many providers tend to get booked up during holidays and peak vacation periods. You also need to give your pet(s) time to interact with the pet care provider before you leave them together. Your pet needs to get used to this other person otherwise you may get back to find that things have gone wrong.
You need to find someone you can trust. If possible, it is always best to go with an individual pet care provider whom you can establish a relationship with. For example, in the case of dogs, you may already have a dog walker whom you have established a good rapport with. Find out if they would be willing to act as a pet sitter while you are away.
4. Meet and Greet
This is very important. Bring your pet care provider into the home and let him or her meet the pet(s). This should happen every day for at least a week before you leave. Your pet needs to interact with them and become accustomed to having them around. More importantly, your pet needs to trust the provider and form a connection with them.
5. Put it Down on Paper
Think of every pertinent issue that the pet provider needs to know. This includes detailed instructions on type(s) of food, feeding times and exercise times. You should also let the pet care provider know if your pet is sick or taking any type of medication. Also, if you have rules about your pets accessing certain areas of the house, write that down as well.