Perhaps you are finalizing your plans for a late summer getaway. Maybe you have work travel on the horizon. Maybe an emergency has come up. Odds are at some point you may need someone to watch your pet while you are away. Pet parents are often concerned about what to do when they have to trust their animal’s care to someone else. Being prepared can ease some of the stress and worry while you are gone. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Find a trustworthy and reliable pet sitter – Your veterinarian can be a great resource for finding a pet sitter. Many vets keep lists of pet sitters on hand. Depending on the practice, their own staff may pet sit on the side. Vet referrals can be particularly helpful if you have a special needs pet. Your groomer, trainer, or even the manager of your favorite pet store may also have suggestions. Your own friends may be a great resource. Websites listing local service providers can also point you in the right direction. In whatever manner you identify a potential pet sitter, be sure to check references, and ask lots of questions. Have the potential pet sitter meet your pet prior to committing the arrangement so that you are all comfortable.
- Leave detailed instructions – Write out instructions for walks, play time, and litter box maintenance. Have enough food, medications, nutritional supplements, and treats to last a few days beyond the duration of your trip. Even if the food hopper or medication bottle is full, it is a good idea to have a list that outlines the name of the food or medication, how often it is given, where to get more, and any special instructions associated with it. It is always better to provide too much information than not enough.
- Have emergency contacts readily available – Leave a list of emergency contacts for your pet sitter. Emailing or texting the information can offer a valuable digital back up. Include the name and contact information for: you, your family veterinarian, a local 24 hour emergency clinic, and a friend or family member that can provide back up on an emergency basis. Your emergency back up should have a copy of the contact list, as well as a spare set of keys to your house.
- Support your pet while you’re gone – No matter how wonderful and caring your pet sitter is, she isn’t you. This can be stressful for your pet. Leaving quiet music on in the background and providing your pet with special treats or toys while you are gone can help. NPP Anxiety & Stress is an all-natural, homeopathic remedy that supports pets through stressful times, including household changes and travel. For best results, start the product several weeks before you leave. With tryptophan and chamomile, Tomlyn’s Relax & Calm can also help pets cope with stress in more acute situations, such as when you first leave or if storms or fireworks are expected while you are gone.
Following these suggestions should help you and pet navigate your next trip away from home more smoothly and easily. Happy and safe travels!