Who will care for your Puppy when you travel?
So, you’ve added a canine child to your family, and you are planning a trip out of town. How do you decide who will take care of puppy while you’re gone? There are a variety of options to choose from, and the best decision may well depend on the size, health, and temperament of your furry companion.
You can leave the puppy at home with friends, family members or a professional pet-sitter, or you can locate boarding accommodations at either a pet resort or veterinarian. Whether you choose the stay-at-home or the home-away-from-home option will depend on factors such as your pet’s temperament and health. It will also depend on whether you can find a sitter that you trust!
While friends and family members may seem like the best alternative, you should always make sure you know how often they will be there and how much instruction they will need to take care of your best friend correctly. Written instructions as far as feeding, medications, exercise and sleeping arrangements should be provided, along with emergency contact information such as your veterinarian. Always have a backup plan! If something should happen and your friend is not able to take care of your pet at the last minute, who will take over?
Professional pet sitters may also care for your puppy in a home environment and may be a good choice if your puppy is not used to boarding or does not adapt well to new people or new situations. You should evaluate a pet-sitter the same way you would a babysitter. Ideally, they will be affiliated with an organization such as the National Association of Pet Sitters and will be bonded and insured.
A reputable pet-sitter will want to meet your puppy before agreeing to care for them, to make sure that puppy is comfortable with them and they feel they can safely handle the puppy. If it is an agency, you will want to know if the same person will care for your pet every day or if your canine friend will be exposed to many people. Understand how many times your sitter will visit each day, what they will do for your puppy while at your home and how long they will stay during each visit. Some pet-sitting agencies offer overnight stays as part of their services while others do not – so if this is important to you, make sure that your sitter is available for overnight care. Similar to having friends or family members stay with the puppy, you will need to provide written instructions and emergency contact information. Always check references before hiring a pet-sitter!
Pet resorts and boarding facilities offer an away-from-home alternative for your furry children. Puppies who do well in this environment tend to be better socialized with both people and other dogs, and some facilities are better able to cater to special needs than others. Tour the facility to make sure you are comfortable with what they offer – any famous pet resort should be willing to show you the facility at almost any time during regular business hours. Ask questions as far as staffing, feeding, medications, potty arrangements, climate control and type and size of the enclosure your puppy will inhabit. You will also want to know about options for extra activities such as playtime or doggie day-care and bathing/grooming services. You should find out what procedures they have in place in case of a veterinary emergency and how they will communicate with you and care for your puppy should he or she require medical attention.
Finally, particularly for very young puppies, with serious health problems that require monitoring, you may consider boarding with your veterinarian. He or she will be better equipped to spot potential medical concerns before they become severe, and will be better able to provide immediate care in case of a crisis.
All of the options listed in this article provide alternatives for caring for your pet while you are away from home. There are pros and cons to each choice, and you should carefully evaluate your canine companion personality, temperament, and general health as well as the various facilities and services in your area before selecting the right environment for your dog.