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Pet Sitting Options when You're Away for Vacation

Posted September 30, 2014 in Dog Checkups & Preventive Care

A person petting a dog inside a kennel

If you’re going on vacation, deciding whether you’ll spend the day by the pool or the beach should be your hardest decision. Vacations are about relaxing and being carefree, but for most pet parents, they can also be stressful. Unless Fido’s coming, pet parents need to figure-out what they are going to do with dogs and cats. Deciding what to do is a huge decision and can be very tough. After all, it’s impossible to have a relaxing vacation if you’re worried about your pets back home. Here’s a breakdown of the options pet parents can choose from:

1. Boarding kennels
Most people are familiar with boarding kennels. These are businesses that primarily exist to provide boarding for pets. In recent years, the number of pet boarding facilities has grown in the United States. In order to distinguish themselves from the competition, many have redefined what we can expect from boarding kennels. Some promote resort-style accommodations with luxury suites complete with plush doggie beds and high definition TV’s showing pet-specific programs. Cats often have luxury kitty condos with multiple levels so your cat has plenty of room to spread out. Others offer cage-free boarding for their canine guests to run amok. Most have pet cams that allow you to check on your pet while you’re drinking a Mai Tai in Hawaii. The best way to decide whether one of these facilities is right for you and your pet is to check it out in person, tour the facility, and see what they have to offer.

2. Veterinary hospitals
Not everyone realizes that many veterinary hospitals also provide boarding. Veterinary hospitals that provide boarding usually have a separate area to house boarders. While they might not offer resort-style luxury-suites or cage-free accommodations, medical staff has the advantage of knowing how to care for animals with medical problems. If your pet has a medical problem, experienced medical staff can insure she gets all medications and is carefully monitored while you’re away. Even if your pet is healthy, if she gets sick while you’re on vacation, medical staff will know what to do, and your pet doesn’t have to travel far to get veterinary care. Ask your veterinarian to find out if they offer boarding. Remember, most have limited space compared to boarding kennels, and some can’t accommodate large dogs.

3. Pet sitters
Pet sitters come to your house at scheduled times

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.