When planning a summer vacation, many people take trips that include their furry, four-legged family members. However, there will be times when vacations may not be very pet friendly.
Long car trips or airplane rides can be stressful to your pet, said Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, director of Continuing Education, Extension and Community Engagement at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University.
“Even if your vacation destination includes staying with friends or family, they may not be able to accommodate your pet,” Giedt said. “If this is the case, you’ll need to find a reputable kennel where your pet can stay while you’re gone. Kenneling your pet will allow your cat or dog to receive more attention and supervision than they would at home alone if you’re using a house sitter. In addition, a well-run kennel is staffed by trained personnel who will be able to spot any health problems should they arise.”
Much like parents do with their infants when searching for a daycare, do your research for reputable kennels in your area. Get recommendations from your veterinarian, friends and family. It is a good idea to check out the facility in person before your planned trip to make sure you are comfortable with the staff and the accommodations.
Giedt suggests asking if you can bring your pet’s own food, bedding and toys. Also, inquire about what veterinary services are available in the event of an emergency. Check for cleanliness of the kennel and the outdoor area where the pets will co-mingle. Make sure the facility is well ventilated.
“If your pet has any special needs, be sure to discuss this with the staff at the kennel ahead of time to ensure they are capable of meeting those needs,” she said. “Double check the dates you’ll need the kennel’s services and inquire about drop off and pick up hours. For those leaving on a trip early in the morning, you may need to drop off your pet the day before. If you return late in the day from your vacation, you may not be able to pick up your pet until the next day.”
Something else for pet owners to keep in mind is possibly scheduling your pet for a short stay at the facility before boarding the animal for an extended period of time. This will help ensure any issues can be worked out before your longer trip.
Most kennels will require pet owners to have their pets up to date on vaccinations and may ask for documentation. Your veterinarian can provide this information. Plan to bring any medications your pet may be taking, along with detailed instructions on how it is to be administered. Be sure to bring an extra day or two of medications in the event your trip is delayed. In addition, make sure your pet has proper tag identification. You may want to consider having your pet microchipped.
“Going on vacation is a fun and relaxing way for families to spend time together. Knowing your pet is being well taken care of will help ensure you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest,” Giedt said.
Story by Trisha Gedon