We are fortunate to have a friend who takes care of our furry friends when we are away. It's really a personal choice but if she were not available, I would probably consider hiring an experienced pet sitter.
This week has been National Professional Pet Sitters Week. For many of you, Spring Break is coming up and lots of folks are going to take advantage of the chance to get away for a few days. But there’s the question of what to do with the family pet. It may not be possible to take an animal with you on vacation; leaving it home alone is not an option either. A pet who must stay locked away by itself for several days, even with a full water bowl and a dish piled high with food, is a dangerous practice. So you’re left with a couple of options – either board your pet or find someone to pet-sit while you’re gone.
From the animal’s point of view, the pet-sitter is probably the best choice. Your pet can stay in a familiar environment rather than being uprooted to a strange noisy place and confined in a cage. There will be less disruption in its routine and no change in its diet. It also reduces your pet’s risk of exposure to other animals who may be sick, a benefit for both you and your pet. And if you have more than one pet, it could save you some money.
So how do you go about finding someone to look after your pet in your absence? Friends, neighbors and other family members are always good possibilities. Choose a person who knows how to care for the kind of pet you have, whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, fish. Or you may want to hire a professional pet sitter – ask other pet owners, or your veterinarian, for recommendations. Make sure the person caring for your pet is experienced, bonded and can provide references. Let them where to reach you in an emergency, and leave your veterinarian’s number, as well. Tell your vet someone else will be taking care of your pet while you’re away, so there won’t be any delay if treatment is needed. A pet sitter may also be willing to bring in your mail and water your plants.
You may decide instead to board your pet with your veterinarian or a reputable kennel, and that may be the best (and safest) choice for your situation. But for many pet owners, while they’re traveling they know that, for their best friends, there’s no place like home when you’re speaking of pets.