Vacationing With Your Pet?

This summer, families across CT will be going on vacation – Gas prices or not!  Now, when you DO go away, what do you do with the dog & cat?  Well, there are a few choices – We’ll go over them quickly here…..


Boarding is good but there are a few things to remember.  Boarding places require that your dog (or cat) be vaccinated for Rabies (this is also a State law)….  They also require that your dog be vaccinated against Kennel Cough.  Now, that’s all well and good but remember, it takes 30 days for the vaccination your dog receives to properly cover it against this virus.  SO if you vaccinate your dog the week before you put him / her in the kennel, there’s no guarantee he / she won’t come down with a cough.  So don’t blame the kennel! 


Now, how to pick a kennel?  Well, you can go with your veterinarian’s recommendation or the recommendation of a friend.  Or you can go check them out.  Just as you’d want to stay in a clean hotel, you’d want your baby to stay in a clean kennel!  Call around – the cheapest doesn’t mean the best.  Go visit!  See the place!!!  Make sure it’s clean and well ventilated – Does it have inside / outside access or is Fido going to be confined to a small kennel?  Can you bring blankets or Fido’s bed?  Do they have resting beds or is Fido going to be on a cement floor? Is there play time offered for Fido?  Nothing worse than a bored pooch.  Do they bathe your pets before you come pick them up?  Nothing worse than picking up a smelly pooch!!   Make sure you’d be comfortable with where your pooch is going to stay – Cats are different in that they LIKE smaller spaces but do make sure Fluffy will be ok there – Again, clean, ventilated, enough space for a litter box AND a resting area? Quiet?  Cats like quiet spots so if it’s screaming loud or you can hear dogs going nuts, steer clear.  If the kennel won’t let you see where your baby is going, walk out.  Really.  If you wouldn’t stay there, don’t have your pets stay there.


Option #2 – Have someone come and care for your pets at your home.  There are many pet sitting services offered – make sure you find a bonded one.  Ask for references.  CALL the references!  See how many times a day they’ll be over.   Dogs require at least 3 times a day – and see if they’ll walk the dog.  How much time do they plan on spending with Fido?  Have them meet Fido before-hand.  If your pooch isn’t comfortable with this person while you’re there, there WILL be issues while you’re gone! 


Option #3 – Have a relative stay at the house – This is the one I personally use.  I like it.  It keeps the stress to a minimum for everyone.  I know it’s tough for some to find someone to actually stay at their house, but see if you can!  Remember to leave emergency numbers!!


Option #4 – I’d LOVE to be able to do this but with so many critters here, it would be NUTS!  TAKE THEM WITH YOU!  Find a hotel that takes dogs!  Going camping?  Great!  Dogs LOVE to go camping (cats, not so much!)!!!  Just make sure you bring a few things – Water (remember the saying about drinking the water in Mexico?)… Fido will VERY much appreciate his OWN water from home.  If, however, you run out of home water, and there is an, um, issue,,,,,, get some Imodium…. It works.  OR call your vet ahead of time and ask for some anti-diarrhea meds for “just in case”…. Make sure Fido has identification on his collar – or write your CELL number ON his collar!  This way, IF he gets lost, they can find you!  Make sure you have something to tie him / her out with – and remember that dogs can chew through rope, so maybe one of those plastic covered wire runs?  Bring plenty of food as well – and plastic bags to pick up Fido’s droppings.  Always have a crate to keep Fido in, especially if you’re planning on staying at a hotel.  Cats will also need a crate – some hotels require it so check ahead (but it’s always a good idea to have one)…. Get a folding one – they’re GREAT and convenient.  Is Fido a barker?  Take a towel or blanket from home and put it OVER his crate when you’re not there.  The darkness and smell of you will be comforting.


So have a great vacation!  Whether you take Fido or Fluffy with you or not, you ALL can have a nice “time away” – Just remember to plan ahead and be comfortable with those plans!


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