Balancing Pets and Travel

Traveling with pets can be a wonderful experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation to ensure the safety and comfort of your furry friend. 

There are several options for pet care while traveling, including in-home pet sitting, boarding facilities, and pet-friendly hotels. Each option has its own set of pros and cons, so it's important to consider your pet's individual needs and personality before making a decision.

Jade, our former wonderful and loving Great Dane.

In-home pet sitting is a great option for pet owners who want their pets to remain in a familiar and comfortable environment. This type of care provides peace of mind for pet owners who worry about their pets being separated from them, especially for those who have pets that are nervous, have medical needs, or have specific routines. Pet sitters will come to your home and take care of your pet while you're away, including feeding, exercising, and providing companionship. 

Dooper, our 'grandcat.'

This option is also ideal for pet owners who have multiple pets, as the sitter can take care of all of them in the comfort of their own home. Our friends at Messy Suitcase recently used Trusted Housesitters to find someone to watch their kitty while they were enjoying the UK. 

I think we will be trying this at some point in the future. It should be pretty easy to find someone who would love to spend a week or two in Puerto Rico with Charlie, while enjoying the beach! (Any takers? Drop us a line! Must love cats ;-)

Dooper and Tanger, cuddle companions.

Another version of this is trading pet sitting with a friend or family member. This works best with pets that are more social, so probably more for dogs than cats! Pros are that the dogs are with someone (and another dog) they’re familiar with so it’s far less stressful than at a pet boarding facility. Another pro, which mostly equates to less stress on the dogs, is that it’s less of a departure from their normal routine. Cons are that sometimes the home dog can be territorial and not overly excited about sharing some personal space or favorite toys. Other cons can be each dog wants to eat the other's food, but as long as there’s no dietary issues that’s probably fine.

Our 'granddog' Allie.

On occasion we have used a boarding facility for our cat. Cats are not particularly social with other cats, so we were very hesitant about this option. We made sure we visited first and asked all the questions we wanted to ask prior to making a reservation. 

For dogs, boarding facilities offer a more structured and supervised environment for pets. These facilities usually provide a kennel for your dog to stay in, as well as opportunities for exercise, playtime, and interaction with other pets and staff. Many boarding facilities also offer additional services such as grooming and training. Note that if your pet is nervous or has separation anxiety, it's this may not be the best option for your furry friend.

Our 19 year old Charlie at the 'cat hotel.'

Maybe if you have separation anxiety you will want your pet to travel with you! Dogs are much more suited for this type of adventure than cats, but some cats do enjoy travel as well. If you are traveling by plane, make sure you check with your individual airline if this is an option. There are many specific rules per airline and per destination that you will want to be aware of. Of course, there will be fees, even if they aren't taking up a seat.

Upon arrival, pet-friendly hotels are another option for pet owners who are traveling. These hotels allow pets to stay in the room with their owners, providing them with a familiar  presence - you! Some pet-friendly hotels may also offer additional services such as pet walking or sitting. It's important to check with the hotel in advance to ensure they have specific pet policies in place, as some hotels may have size or breed restrictions, or require a deposit or fee for pets. It's also a good idea to bring your pet's bed, toys, and other comfort items to make their stay more enjoyable.

Our third 'grandcat' Penumbra, Penny for short.

When traveling with pets, it's important to prepare ahead of time. This includes ensuring that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations, has a collar with identification tags, and is microchipped in case they get lost. It's also a good idea to bring a copy of your pet's medical records and any medications they may need. Additionally, it's important to pack food and water dishes, as well as enough food and treats for the duration of your trip. 

With proper planning and preparation, traveling with or without your pet can be a wonderful and memorable experience. What options have you explored as you've traveled with or without your pets? Drop us a comment below.


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