Vacationing with Dogs

 By: Ann M Stewart
As vacations are quickly approaching again, the question lingers of what to do with your pets while you're traveling. There are two primary options people use if the pets are staying home: 1) kennel or 2) friend, neighbor or relative. Let's explore each of these a little and why they may or may not be a good idea.

The Kennel

One of the first, but commonly dismissed, options for what to do with your dog while you're away is a professional kennel. Not all kennels are equal, so doing a site tour and taking a little time to get to know the people who are responsible for its operation is critical in choosing the right location. With that said, when you do find a respectable boarder, there are several distinct advantages to leaving your pet here.

First, while you're vacationing your pet will have interaction with other pets. If setup correctly, these interactions will be with other like-tempered pets to ensure personality compatibility. This socialization helps relieve some of the separation anxiety associated with an owner not being present. Additionally, if you have an elderly dog, good boarding kennels know how to handle geriatric issues, and will be able to get immediate veterinary care if needed. You can also rest assure your animal is going to be safe while in the care of a good kennel. They'll make sure there is no "escaping" and being endangered by passing cars or terrorizing neighbors.

The Well Intentioned Relative

Many people resort to the well intentioned friend, relative or neighbor to keep an eye on the house while they're traveling; this includes caring for the cat, dog and other pets. This option does has its benefits. First, it's usually pretty inexpensive. Some people will do it for as little as $5-$10 per day; some will even do it for free if they like you enough. Often your pet is already familiar with the person you've asked to house/pet sit, meaning there won't be as much separation anxiety while you're gone. It also means you don't have to pick your dog up from another place when you get back, making it a little easier to get back into your normal routine.

There are some drawbacks to this option, however. First, if something comes up in the life of the person you've asked to care for your pet, like an unexpected family emergency or illness, is your companion going to receive the kind of care they deserve? Second, what happens if your pet gets sick, or decides to run away while outside? Does the person responsible for them know how to handle the situation and do they have the availability to get your pet to a veterinarian if necessary?
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