The dog days of summer are upon us here in Columbia, SC and Ogden, UT and that means it’s time for a well deserved break from your everyday life. Planning a dog-gone good vacation often means paying a lot of attention to the smallest of details. In all your planning you may find yourself overwhelmed with the consideration of what to do with your pet. In general you’ll have just two options; leave the pet behind or pack the pooch for the trip.
Conversely, if the additional burden of traveling with an animal will cause you to enjoy your vacation less, it is not at all selfish to consider finding a pet sitter for your animal. Often times this break can give your pet a vacation of her own, and lead to a happy reunion full of excitement for everyone. Your pet needs you to be recharged and playful after vacation, even if that means giving her a break of her own.
If you’ve made the decision to vacation without your pet, the first thing you need to do is secure a pet sitter. This person needs to be someone with whom you can trust and feel comfortable having in your home. Before hiring any specific person you may want to take a few steps to ensure a proper match is made.
• Invite the potential sitter to a mutual place to introduce the animal to the care keeper. Public dog parks work well for this. You should watch for a natural relationship to form between the two. If your pet does not make up with the care taker, you should likely continue your search. Away Home & Pet Care provides a free meet-and-greet in your home prior to beginning service. This allows you and your pets to become comfortable with your pet sitter.
• Always check with references of the pet sitter or agency. These are people who will be coming into your home while you are away and you need to trust them. Good agencies and individuals will have no problem supplying you with positive character references. Away Home & Pet Care has hundreds of satisfied pet sitting and dog walking clients in Columbia, SC and Ogden, UT.
Following these two steps can help you establish a pet/pet sitter relationship that can give you peace of mind while you, and your pet, vacation.
If you choose to take your pet with you on vacation the best thing you can do to ensure a stress free trip is to plan ahead. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile you will be best suited to do a bit of leg work before heading out. For example, most airlines have vastly differing ideas of what should be permitted in the way of pet transportation. Everything from breed restrictions to fee schedules can change simply by carrier. Knowing which lines have the best pet friendly policies could change the company you prefer to do business with.
If your travel carrier, hotel or other vacation vendor does not explicitly state their pet travel policies, it is far better to call and ask direct questions before placing your booking. You should also make sure that companies who claim to be “pet friendly” are indeed well suited for your type of pet. This includes checking for green space for walks (some hotels will even have gated off areas for running) as well as noise policies.
You’ll want to make sure to check along your route for pet friendly hotels and rest areas. Stopping to take frequent walk, potty and play stops will keep your pet in a better mood. www.tripswithpets.com is a strong resource for this sort of information. Beyond finding Fido friendly places to stop, you should also make sure you:
• Prepare for the long trip by taking several short car trips in the weeks leading up to vacation. This can help avoid the anxiety of a long trip.
• Pack a bag especially for your pet’s needs. Include food, a water dish, a favorite toy and even a favorite blanket that smells like home. These comforts can help calm a stressed out pet along the route. (A Tip- Fill water bottle with your own tap water so that you can offer your pet a drink that you know is pure and tastes familiar.)
• Check out your local pet store for puppy training pads. While the ASPCA recommends kenneling your pet for car travel, this isn’t always an option. A well placed absorbent pad on a seat can save frustration if your pet slobbers or has an accident on the road. Rubberized floor mats are also a smart investment.
If your travel plans having you and Rover soaring by jet plane, there are several things you can do to help ease the scary transition of air travel. The first thing you need to do is talk to your vet to ensure your pet is an ideal candidate for flying. Some breeds, like collies and pugs, have natural respiratory issues that can be aggravated by high altitudes. Other times a vet may discourage air travel based on your pet’s health. Once you get the OK from your vet, here are a few tips to ease the anxiety of air travel:
• Ensure that you understand your airlines pet policy from every angle and are able to abide by their rules exactly. This can include having a specific size of travel carrier and being able to produce current and up to date shot records.
• Try to book a nonstop flight in order to speed up the process and delay animal transfers. Also consider flying at the times of day that will provide the most comfortable temperatures in the cargo hold. In summer, aim for early morning or evening flights. Midday flights are a bit warmer in cooler months.
• If your pet flies in cabin with you, be sure to have a leash on hand. You’ll want to be able to step outside of the terminal during a layover to walk the pet. If you get a direct flight your pet will need to be walked as soon as possible at the end of the flight.