Preparing for Vacation: Ensuring Your Pet is Well-Cared For

Preparing for Vacation Ensuring Your Pet is Well-Cared For

Last Updated on July 1, 2023

Pet ownership introduces us to a new dimension of love and companionship. The flip side, however, manifests when you plan a vacation, leaving you in a predicament of deciding how to ensure your beloved pet is well-taken care of during your absence. Whether it’s an energetic pup or a senior feline, your extended family member deserves optimal care while you’re away.

When vacationing, you generally have three options for your pet’s care – keep them at home under someone’s supervision, arrange for them to stay at someone else’s place, or bring them along with you. Your final choice largely depends on your trip’s duration, your budget, and the level of trust you place in those taking care of your pet.

Option 1: Your Pet Stays Elsewhere

In certain situations, having your pet cared for outside your home is a preferable option. This can be through a professional pet sitter, a friend, or a family member, or through services like dog boarding kennels, boarding facilities, or pet hotels.

Professional Pet Sitters, Friends, and Family

Similar to hiring a pet sitter for your home, many professionals also offer services to take care of pets in their own homes. This can provide your pet with the companionship of other pets under the care of the sitter. On the other hand, leaving your pet with friends or family, especially those familiar to your pet, can also be an excellent and cost-effective option.

Boarding Facilities or Pet Hotels

Professional boarding services usually have the necessary facilities and knowledge to provide good care for your pet. However, there may be some limitations, like your pet being confined to a cage more than you’d prefer. Hence, it’s crucial to inspect the facilities and seek references before entrusting your pet to them. Subtle as it may be, amidst the plethora of options, numerous dog boarding kennels are also equipped to care for other pets like cats.

Veterinarian Boarding Service

Many veterinary clinics offer boarding services, providing round-the-clock care for your pet. This is ideal if your pet has medical issues that might require attention during your absence.


Volunteers, usually found through shelters or the humane society, can offer affordable pet care. They usually have a deep love for animals, ensuring your pet is in passionate hands.

Option 2: Your Pet Stays Home

For pet owners, especially those with felines, keeping your pet at home while you travel can work well for shorter trips. This option allows your pet to stay within their comfort zone. However, it does require arranging a caretaker, which can be a professional pet sitter, a neighbor, a friend, or a family member.

Hiring a Professional Pet Sitter

Though it can get costly (roughly $20 per visit), professional pet sitters come with a reliable reputation and proper training to care for animals. They are insured and often possess a pet first aid training certificate, providing you peace of mind. Pet sitters usually visit cats once a day and dogs twice, offering regular interaction and care for your pets.

It’s crucial to vet your pet sitter thoroughly by checking references and reviews. Platforms like Trusted Housesitters can help find reliable and experienced sitters. It’s also important to make sure the pet sitter communicates effectively and frequently, preferably sending updates and pictures of your pet during your absence.

Enlisting a Neighbor, Friend, or Family Member

If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, asking a neighbor or friend can be an excellent choice. This works well if your pet is familiar with the person, allowing for a smoother transition. However, this also relies on the responsibility and availability of the person you ask, which can sometimes be a challenge, particularly when they see it as a favor rather than a duty.

Engaging a House Sitter

House sitters provide constant supervision and attention to your pets by living full-time in your home during your absence. While this option offers excellent care for your pets, it requires a high level of trust as they’ll have access to your entire house. This can be an affordable option, with pet care being exchanged for accommodation.

Option 3: Traveling with Your Pet

If your travel plans allow, you may also consider bringing your pet along. This is especially feasible for road trips or when planning to stay in one location for an extended period. However, it’s crucial to consider and prepare for any border requirements or quarantine rules when traveling internationally.

Regardless of your chosen option, trust and thorough vetting are essential when delegating your pet’s care to others. If your pet is staying elsewhere, a pre-visit can help familiarize them with the new surroundings and reduce any anxiety. Moreover, providing the caretaker with your pet’s toys or belongings can make their stay more comfortable.

Pets’ needs vary based on their species and personality. While cats can manage relatively well with a daily visit from a sitter, dogs usually crave more social interaction and constant attention. Therefore, they often fare better living with someone during your absence.

Finding professional pet sitters or kennels can be done through various avenues such as your local humane society, vet’s office, online classified websites, and even large pet stores. National or regional pet sitter associations can also provide reliable references. In the end, pets are adaptable and can enjoy new experiences, whether it’s a chic dog boutique stay or a temporary residence at grandma’s with her four other cats. The critical factor is ensuring their comfort, safety, and happiness during your absence. With proper planning and consideration, you can have a stress-free vacation, knowing your pet is in capable and caring hands.

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