Home Alone: Leaving pets behind on vacation

by | General Pet Care |

Whether it’s a day trip or a multi-week vacation, summer is the perfect time for a getaway to enjoy the warm weather. If you have pets, planning for their care in your absence is a major part of your vacation preparation.

Before you hit the road, water, trail – or wherever summer takes you! – here are a few tips to help ensure your pets’ needs are met, even in the event of an emergency.

9 Tips for Leaving Pets Behind

  1. dog kennel, vacation
    photo credit: Hey Dawg via photopin (license)

    Make arrangements in advance for a responsible family member, friend or neighbour to care for your pet. Hire a pet sitter or book with a boarding facility. For many dogs, staying at home with someone they are familiar with will be the less stressful option for them. Regardless of which option you choose, don’t forget to confirm those arrangements prior to departing.

  2. If you will be leaving your animal in the care of a pet sitter or kennel you aren’t familiar with, personally inspect the kennel beforehand and get references. If you’re hiring a pet sitter, don’t be shy about interviewing candidates and asking them for references. It’s also a good idea to invite them to your house to ensure your pet is comfortable with them. This should ideally happen before the stress of preparing for the trip.
  3. If you don’t already have your pet microchipped, now is the time to do it. If your pet does have a microchip, ensure your contact information is up to date. If your dog or cat were to get away from the pet sitter or kennel, a microchip can help reunite them with you.
  4. Leave your emergency contact information with the person or boarding facility that will be caring for your pet. Appoint someone who you would feel comfortable making decisions about your pet for you to be an alternate contact. This will help in the event of an emergency when you can’t be reached.
  5. Request daily updates from your pet sitter so you know your pet has been cared for. If your pet will be enjoying a “staycation” at home, leave a key with a friend or neighbour. They can take over your pet’s care should something happen to your sitter.
  6. Post your veterinarian’s name, phone number and location of their clinic in a prominent place.  Leave written authorization for the caretaker to seek medical care from your veterinarian if they become ill or injured. If possible, leave emergency cash as well.
  7. Notify your vet of your absence. This way, your vet will know you’re responsible for payment should your pet arrive for care with someone unfamiliar to them.
  8. Leave detailed written instructions for your pet’s caregiver. Outline your pet’s diet and feeding schedule, routine (walks, any medical requirements) and other special considerations they will need to know. Go over the instructions with them before you leave in case they have questions.
  9. Leave two dishes of water and ensure there is extra food in the house in the event your return is delayed.

Want to take them with you on vacation?

10. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your pet at home, remember that bringing them on vacation with you comes with its own set of challenges. Consider how you will meet your pet’s dietary and exercise requirements on the road. Also think what you will do if you want to stop at sightseeing locations, or if your car breaks down. Parked cars can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the car parked in the shade and the windows slightly open. Learn more about keeping your pet safe and cool at nohotpets.ca .