WORCESTER, Mass., Dec. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Anticipating a much-needed vacation or holiday family reunion? Travel can be unpredictable and cause stress, rather than relieve it, especially for pets.
While booking airfare and hotels, consider making arrangements to allow your pets to remain calm and safe at home, advises Maggie Delano, D.V.M., and the team of veterinarians and technicians at the Lenfest Animal Health Center at Becker College.
Finding a trusted pet sitter and establishing a reliable system for home care will be well worth the investment. Routine and familiarity can be important to pets, and you and your family may be less worried about leaving your family pet behind.
First, find the right person to connect with your pet. Conduct a thorough search for a pet caregiver; seek recommendations from friends, neighbors and local vet clinics. Local, established animal shelters may also be a worthwhile source of information and contacts. Interview prospects—be clear about your expectations—and then check candidates' references. Established pet caregivers may be registered with the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. Allow some time for your pet and the new caregiver to get to know each other.
Once you have found the right companion:
- Conduct a thorough tour of your home—inside and out—to familiarize the caregiver with the environment and where necessities are stored.
- Exchange contact information with the caregiver, including your regular veterinary clinic, reliable neighbors, nearby relatives, and local dog officer or animal control.
- Organize your pet's health and ID documentation: health records, vaccination records, microchip number, tags, and photos.
- Establish a means of communication and schedule in advance: phone calls (some pets need to hear their owners' reassuring voice), video-mail, emails, texts, or Skype.
- Leave detailed instructions with your pet's idiosyncrasies, standard schedules, medications and supplements, feeding and watering, food and play likes and dislikes.
- Ask the sitter to have a summary of daily interactions ready for your return home.
Be sure you have clean transport crates; leashes/harnesses; animal towels, blankets and comforters; an adequate supply of food, including a few days extra, in case you encounter a delay in getting back home.
If in-home care is not an option, exercise the same care in choosing a boarding facility as you would in selecting a sitter.
- Check references, Angie's List, and inquire with the Better Business Bureau or local chamber of commerce.
- Plan ahead to see how your pet adjusts to a short stay at the boarding facility before you leave on a long vacation.
- Some facilities allow owners to bring a few of their pet's favorite things; be sure to note those items in the boarding records.
If you decide to include your pet in your travels, advance preparation is equally important. The American Veterinary Medical Association offers many helpful tips for planning the trip at http://www.avma.org/animal_health/travelingwithpet-faq.asp.
A little extra planning will ensure an enjoyable trip for you and harmonious experience for your pet.
SOURCE Becker College