Lots of pet-owners dream of traveling but worry what to do with their animals while they’re away. Because let’s face it, kennels, and pet hotels are expensive and the verdict’s still out on whether or not they’re a good thing for dogs and cats. Sometimes it may be a viable option to travel with Fido or Fluffy….but others the trip presents an unnecessary stress for the animal—a hours in a pet carrier for a short stay in an unfamiliar place.
So what to do? Here are a few ideas:
- Get to know neighbors and coworkers with pets. Suggest a pet-care exchange of sorts. When you’re on vacation, they take care of your hermit crab, and when they’re on vacation you feed their snake. Or whatever. Typically, this works the best when you and your neighbor have the same type of animal–for example, dogs, that can be walked together.
- Ask for a favor from a friend or family member that lives nearby or can be coerced into staying at your place while you’re gone (Mr. Meow loves company). Offer to pay them, or bring them something awesome back from your trip.
- For short overnight trips and more independent animals like cats, hamsters, fish, snakes and spiders, get automatic feeders and waterers and hope for the best. This doesn’t work for indoor dogs, but might work for outdoor dogs in a fenced area? I’m not sure….
- Have a cleaning lady that dotes on your hyperactive shitzu or vocal siamese kitten? Ask her to come in extra while you’re gone and take care of the little bugger while you’re away for extra dollars and cents (or the currency wherever you live).
- If you live somewhere people like to visit, offer up your place to friends and friends of friends as a free place to stay on the condition that they get the mail, walk the dog, and empty the cat box.
- If all else fails, pay someone to take care of and check in on your animal daily or hire a house sitter to take care of your home, and your pets. Someone you know is best, but another option is asking around at your local pet store or vet for someone that comes well-recommended.