By Dr. W. Mark Cousins, DVM, DABVP

Want to go on vacation but don’t know what to do with your pets? Consider these options:

In-House Pet Sitting
Hiring someone to come to your house and take care of your pets in THEIR environment is a great advantage for pets that don’t board well. Also, it may be more economical instead of paying individual boarding fees for each pet. Usually, the sitter will negotiate a fee based on what services he or she will provide for your animals and how many visits per day will be included. But before you hire a pet sitter, ask for a list of personal references and make sure the business is bonded and insured.

Traditional Boarding Facility
Veterinary hospitals and other pet related businesses do a great job providing this service. Make sure to visit the location before choosing a boarding facility. You will want to make sure cats are kept separate from dogs and that the area looks and smells clean, is relatively quiet and well lit. If your pet takes medications, make sure your veterinarian’s instructions will be followed and ask if there is an additional charge to administer them. Ask if you can bring special diet food, toys or blankets for your pet. Also, find out if your pet will get “play time” and if there is an extra charge for dog walking.

Travel with Your Pet
Most pets travel very well, however there are a few things to consider before taking a pet on vacation. If you are flying, ask if your airline requires a pet health certificate (your veterinarian can provide this). Remember that there are two time limits on the health certificate, the date you obtain it prior to flying and its expiration date. International travel with your pet can be a big deal. Make sure you get all the information you need from either the USDA or from the consulate for the country where you are travelling. Depending on the length of the trip, ask your veterinarian whether you should give your pet sedatives.

Remember, planning ahead for your pet, whether they are joining you on vacation or staying at home, will save you future hassles when it comes time to leave. 

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