One of the hardest parts about traveling is leaving our pets behind. We all want to make sure our fur babies get the kind of attention and care that they deserve. After all, they have given us all of their loyalty and depend on us to make the best choices with their well-being at the top of our priority list.Options you have when you are going on a trip and need to leave your pets behind.Learn all about the pet care before travel planning .
Two popular choices for pet care during vacations are doggy daycare and pet sitting services. This article will help you decide which is best for you, and how to make sure the service you choose is a good one for your dog.
We will take a look at each in turn, but before we do, here are three general tips that are good starting places for using either type of service:
- Ask about the training staff receive as well as what dog training methods are embraced. You are looking for companies that focus on positive reinforcement or reward-based training, rather than “Alpha Dog” or dominance-based methods.
- Check online reviews or ask for references so that you can get feedback from other dog owners that have used their services. Doing a little homework up front will give you peace of mind when you are away.
- Take advantage of day packages to give your pooch a chance to try things on well in advance of your planned trip. Once you have found a good fit, you will be able to relax knowing your dog is in good hands.
Most of doggy daycare facilities offer long periods of supervised exercise with other dogs in large outdoor playgrounds throughout the day, with a space to call their own for downtime at night. This will leave your pooch tired at the end of the day, making sure that she gets restful sleep at night. This is a major advantage over home pet sitting services.
Although these facilities have screening procedures, there is no way to completely eliminate the possibility of a dog fight. If you already know your dog isn’t a social butterfly, then doggy daycare probably isn’t the right choice.
Here are some tips for making sure you find a top-notch facility in your area:
- You should be welcomed to tour the facility, including the “back of house” areas where dogs are kenneled in between sessions outdoors. The facility should be clean with fresh water in every kennel. Bedding should be clean and there should be laundry, kitchen and first aid facilities on site.
- Take a tour of the play areas. Are the grounds well kept? Is the waste cleaned up? What sanitization procedures are in place? Is there shade and fresh water for swimming on hot days? Staff should be forthcoming with answers to these very reasonable questions.
- The best doggy daycare facilities also usually offer training opportunities for their clients. Puppy classes, basic manners and dog sports such as flyball or agility are often a part of the culture at quality facilities.
- What measures are in place to screen new dogs for health and sociability? Do they require a Bordetella shot? What precautions do they take in terms of flea and tick control? Do they have a veterinarian on call in the event of an emergency?
The primary advantage of working with a pet sitting service is that your pooch gets to stay in a familiar environment. For dog’s prone to stress in new situations, this may be your best bet.
Here is what you should be looking for in a professional pet sitting service:
- Good accountability measures such as hand-written notes, daily email’s, or other check-ins that keep you posted on your dog’s well being while you are away.
- Minimum visit lengths and exercise requirements so you can count on the fact your furry friend will get the attention they need each day.
- Insist that you meet the pet sitter that will be caring for your pet during your absence. The occasional substitution for scheduling is one thing, but a service should make sure that your dog is always cared for by the same pet sitter that can best meet your dog’s individual needs.
Both doggy daycare and home pet sitting services offer distinct advantages. A little bit of preparation well in advance of your next trip will help you find the perfect solution for pet care while you are away on your next big adventure.
Don’t worry about shopping around, either. Doing some day visits with either service will give you a chance to “try it on” to make sure it is a good fit. Plus, it gives your dog a chance to adjust to being left with a new caretaker for a short period of time, making longer stays down the road a more comfortable and familiar experience.
Mat Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of Wiley Pup, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for pet parents everywhere.