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Traveling Without Your Pet

  • Hiring a pet sitter. Ask a relative, friend, neighbor or co-worker to watch over your four-legged friend while you are away.
  • Vaccinations. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations and in sound health.
  • Thorough instructions. Write down any relevant or helpful information about taking care of your pet, including:
    • The location of your pet's food, treats, water and feed bowls, toys, grooming tools, crate, litter box, etc.
    • What, how much, how often and where to feed your pet.
    • Sleeping arrangements.
    • Appropriate exercise.
    • Grooming hints, such as: "Be sure to clean his ears."
    • The proper use of your dog's crate.
    • How to clean the cat's litter box.
    • How to administer any required medications.
    • Your pet's routine, such as what time he prefers to eat and how he likes to play.
    • Any "rituals," such as: "I ask him to 'sit-and-stay' while he waits for dinner."
    • Any precautions, such as: "He loves to sleep on the couch but we don't let him. Make sure he sleeps on the floor."
    • The phone number(s) where you can be reached while away.
    • Names and phone numbers for the veterinarian and pet emergency clinic.
  • Meet with the sitter. Introduce the sitter to your pets, show the sitter where the pet's supplies are kept, and review your instructions about caring for your pet.
  • Boarding. Ask a relative, friend, neighbor, vet, humane society, animal shelter or dog trainer for a recommendation. If your board, be sure to meet with the staff who will be caring for your beloved pet and ask for a list of the company's references.
  • Check out the kennel. Be sure to get references and inspect the kennel. Also consider the following:
    • Does the facility look and smell clean?
    • Is there sufficient ventilation and light?
    • Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
    • Is there enough space for dogs or cats to move around comfortably?
    • Does each dog have an outdoor run or a schedule for exercise?
    • Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
    • Can you provide your pet's special food?
    • Will the staff administer any necessary medications?
  • Make boarding reservations early. Kennels fill-up quickly during peak travel periods such as the holidays.
  • O.K. to act. You should provide written and signed authorization allowing whomever is watching over your pet to make decisions on your behalf in your absence.
  • Medical care. In case your pet requires medical care while you are away:
    • Make prior arrangements with your veterinarian for any care to be provided while you are away. Prepay or arrange to be billed upon your return.
    • For emergency care, check to see if your vet or emergency clinic will accept a signed authorization for pet care, with your credit card number and expiration date.