Summer time is a popular season for getting away on vacation, and many airlines and hotels will not allow owners to bring their dogs along for the trip, especially those of larger breeds. True relaxation will prove difficult if you are constantly worrying if Fido is being well taken care of. So, how do you ensure that your beloved canine is properly cared for while you and your family enjoy your trip?
Here are a couple of reliable options for leaving your pet behind and keeping him or her happy and comfortable until you return. You might even receive dog training as an added bonus!
• Boarding kennels – Boarding kennels are brick-and-mortar businesses that have been established for the sole purpose of housing and caring for pets while their owners are away. According to the American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA), there are approximately 9,000 boarding kennels in the U.S. and Canada offering services to more than 30,000,000 pet owners annually. Some kennels even have a dog trainer or two on staff and provide training (also known as board & train) to dogs that are boarded in the kennel, upon the owner’s request. To find a boarding kennel in your area, you may try an internet search, phone book, or better yet, personal recommendations from experienced friends, your animal trainer, or even your veterinarian. Some veterinary facilities also offer boarding services. Make sure to book your pet’s stay as early as possible as boarding facilities can become booked up, especially during popular vacationing seasons. Also, check out the facility personally in advance to make sure that supervision, sanitation, and security are up to par. All boarding kennels should require that your dog is up-to-date on his or her immunizations. For canines, required immunizations are the DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and bordatella vaccines as well as the Rabies vaccine. Inform the kennel staff of any special instructions upon booking your canine’s spot; for instance, if your canine is dog-aggressive and must be kept away from other dogs, it is essential for the kennel to be aware of this in advance.
• Pet Sitters – For some dog owners, hiring a pet sitter may be preferable to boarding their dog in a kennel. A pet sitter is a person who comes to your home to feed, water, exercise, and watch over your pet while you are away. Sometimes pet sitters also work as dog obedience trainers. Many offer the option of staying at your home for 24-hour supervision, though you can also choose to have them stop by once or twice daily instead, depending on your preference. Some families have the ideal situation of a pet sitter who stays in and provides animal training to their canine throughout the vacation. Another one of the benefits of hiring a pet sitter is that your pooch or pooches can stay in the comfort of their own home during your absence. This can be especially comforting for the dog. You can also give more specialized instructions for care of your pet, such as daily maintenance of your canine’s dog training. It is recommended that you meet with potential pet sitters before choosing one to confirm their qualifications. Some pet sitters are certified through Pet Sitters International (PSI) or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), meaning they are pre-screened by the association. These and other sitters can achieve certification in pet CPR as well, which can be an added comfort to an owner away from home. Your pet sitter may also be an ABC Certified Dog Trainer as many of ABC’s graduates become pet sitters post-graduation. If you desire a sitter who is educated in animal training, try browsing ABC’s online database for graduates who market themselves as pet sitters.
No matter which option you choose, make sure to personally check out the facility, sitter, or animal trainer before leaving on vacation. Also, ensure that your pet is essentially healthy, and if he or she has special medical needs, inform the kennel operator or pet sitter of required medications prior to your departure. ABC wishes you and your pets a happy summer!