Midday Fix: Pet care tips for travellers

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Paradise 4 Paws

10510 United Parkway
Schiller Park

5262 S. Kolmar Avenue

(847) 678-1200


Maintain a vaccine and medication log.
Keep a record of your pet’s vaccines and medications and set  a reminder one month before each vaccine or medication is due to expire so you can make an appointment with your vet ahead of time.  Most pet care facilities and dog walking services require for dogs: Bordatella either every 6 months or annually, Rabies  – one or three year protocol, Distemper combination -one or three year protocol, negative fecal test every six months or annually, and should be on heartworm and flea/tick preventative year round; for cats: Rabies – one or three year protocol, Feline Distemper combination (FVCRP) – one or three year protocol, Feline Leukemia, a negative fecal test every six months or annually, and should be on flea/tick preventative year round.  Scan all of the forms so you always have them on-hand when those last-minute trips arise.  Dogs should also be on heartworm preventative year-round and all pets who will be exposed to other pets, should be on flea/tick preventative year round.

Research your options.
There are in-home sitters, dog-walkers, vet boarding, and boarding facilities. In-home sitters can come in the professional variety or in the form of friends and neighbors and this can be the best option for certain types of pets.  With friends and neighbors, while this can be the most cost-effective, it can also be the least reliable as friends may change plans or not realize the extent of the care needed, so always have a back-up option. For professional in-home care and dog walkers, make sure you do your research and check references and perhaps even perform a background check as you are giving this person or group access to your home.  If you do hire a dog walker and your pet is otherwise left home alone, make sure you have a friend or neighbor who can check periodically on them in case of an emergency.  If your pet has a serious medical condition, vet boarding can be a good option but make sure you inquire as to whether someone is on site 24 hours and what type of exercise and accommodations your pet will have.  Lastly, pet boarding is an option many pet parents turn to.  As for all of these providers, do your research, take a tour, talk to other clients, and ask a lot of questions.  Are they staffed 24 hours, do they have emergency plans in place, how are employees trained, how do they assign play groups, what would a typical day be like, what can you bring from home, and any questions specific to your pet.

Be honest about your pet.
Some pet parents have a tendency to fib about their furry children – “oh, my Muffy is just an angel. She never growls at anyone.”- but it is better to be honest.  If your dog has a fear men, for example, the service provider can send a woman or the facility can have women care for your pet.  If dog is leash aggressive, the dog walker or other service provider needs to know. Some will customize their services based on these special needs of your pet.  Others won’t. But it is best to know ahead of time who can accommodate your pet’s special needs, rather than getting a call from across the country that you need to come pick up your pet immediately.

Make it easy for the care givers.
Leave detailed instructions regarding feeding and medications to in-home caregivers. Separate food by meal into individual baggies for boarding facilities and label all of your pet’s belongings.

Create a smooth transition.
Leave your pet with something that smells like you (like a dirty sock) or something that smells of home (like a blanket) or both if you opt to take your pet to a vet boarding or boarding facility. Make your good-byes short and not dramatic.  The less stressed you are, the less stressed your pet will be.  Give your pet a peanut butter stuffed toy or something to distract them.  For pets with separation anxiety, there are special apparel and aromatherapy options available.

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  • Cynthia Deery

    I'm so glad to see someone discussing options available to pet owners. You need to interview the groomers, vets, and dog walkers as if they would be caring for human children. Ask the same types of questions, "what if Sadie gets sick?" Ask about trade affiliations, insurance, and bonding. See if they hold any certifications such as, American Red Cross or Pet Tech – Pet CPR & Pet First Aid. References are nice to check too. Having these options leave pet owners feeling warm and fuzzy!

  • Sara

    Great report.. I think that making sure your pets are properly vaccinated is very crucial. You never know what sort of diseases or viruses your pet may pick-up along his travels… so better safe than sorry!

  • New Sunset Care

    Personally, I don't like to take my little pup on long trips. If we're on a road trip, sure, but when we fly somewhere, usually out of the country, I prefer to let her stay with her grandma. She enjoys it, and then we don't have to worry about her catching something, either.

  • Jeff Lee

    Your all tips are useful .I am mostly using pet boarding facility because due to my work i have to travel a lot .I think its will make pet parent tension free when they are miles apart from their pets.

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