Choosing a Kennel or Dog Sitter for the Holidays
I hate to admit this, but it is time to be preparing for the holidays. While many of us will be off to visit family and friends across the country or abroad, some of us will not be able to take our dogs (and other pets) along with us. The question for pet lovers is “what do we do with our pets while we’re away?”
While bringing pets – particularly dogs – on a trip can be fun, it’s not always practical and, may not really be in the best interest of the pet. Before deciding to bring Fido or Fluffy along, consider what his accommodations will be and how much time can be devoted to him. Will he be left alone for long periods while you’re off doing family things? And just as importantly, will your high energy pet be welcome if he gets stressed out and starts to destroy things, or bark or whine excessively? If these are concerns for your dog, then leaving him home may be less stressful for everyone.
Once that decision is made, the next question is “who should care for him?” Many people opt to have a neighbor watch over the home. This is a good option if you have a dependable, caring neighbor who knows and loves your pets. Unfortunately, during the holidays, neighbors may also be traveling or busy with their own families, so they may not even be available.
The next best thing to being home with your pets is to have a home service care for them while you’re away. Look for a reliable service and ask for references. There are services in most communities that will watch over your pets and take care of other household needs such as bringing in mail, putting out the trash, and watering plants. There are many advantages to this type of service, but the most important is that your pets won’t have the added stress of being away from their home. For many dogs and cats, this is far less stressful than a kennel environment.
If an in-home service is not for you, the next option is to kennel your pets. The advantage of this is that your pets may get more supervision than in your own home. If your dog is sociable with other dogs and with people, there may also be doggie day care and boarding options available in your area. Keep in mind that the quality doggie day care providers all require pre-admission evaluations, and most require at least a few day visits prior to any overnight stay to reduce the likelihood of the dog becoming overly stressed during his stay. So get in touch well before your departure date in order to be ready in time.
Remember that most pet care providers book up well in advance of the holidays. Don’t wait until the last minute to make arrangements or you may be left with few options. If you’re in doubt as to what would be best for your particular pet, your local trainer or behavior counselor may be able to provide advice as well as referrals to the best options in your area.