No hard felines: How to plan an international trip without your pet

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No matter how incredible your travel plans may be, leaving your beloved pets behind is always heartbreaking.

But even though they don’t understand why you’re leaving, you can make sure they are well cared for while you’re gone.

If you’re planning an international trip, here is your step-by-step guide for organizing your pet’s care so you can enjoy your travels knowing they’re safe and having fun back home.

Step #1: Find The Right Caregiver

Pet caregiver

You’ve got two options for pet care while you’re away: in-house babysitters or kennels. As soon as you decide to go on vacation, you should start looking into the best care options to ensure your dates are available.

Boarding Kennels

If you decide to go for kennels, go on a property tour and check you’re happy with the level of care provided. Here are a couple of things to look for:

  • Spacious kennels with heat lamps.
  • Beds with clean blankets.
  • A range of food options (or the ability to bring your own food).
  • Daily walks in a safe, enclosed area.
  • Trained staff to administer medications if required.
  • On-call emergency vet care if required.
  • Safe, secure premises with CCTV.

In-Home Pet Sitters

Not all pets are suited to kennels, so in-home care is also a great choice for timid or more unique pets.

“Parrots aren’t often accepted into kennels, and there are few that understand the unique needs of these precious birds. I always recommend experienced in-home care from someone who specializes in bird-sitting.” – Dr. Daisy A. May from All About Parrots

Finding a pet sitter to come to your home takes more time. You want someone with plenty of experience and a reliable history of happy clients to ensure your home and pet are safe. Here are a few tips for finding the right person:

  • Schedule an in-person meeting to see how they interact with your pet.
  • Ask for references and call at least two to check on their experience.
  • See if they have any qualifications or training.
  • Ask about their daily routine and how they plan on caring for your pet.

Step #2: Schedule a Meet-and-Greet

Pet meet and greet

Whether you’re entrusting your pet’s care to a professional pet sitter, family friend, neighbor, or boarding kennel, it’s important to have a meet-and-greet to make sure you and your pet are comfortable with the person.

A meet-up will also give your pet a chance to get used to their carer, which will make the process of leaving a little less stressful for them on vacation day.

Step #3: Create Your Pet Care Plan

Pet care plan

The more information your pet sitter has, the safer and happier your pet will be – and the more peace of mind you’ll have on your trip!

Now is the time to go full-on pet parent mode and create a binder outlining everything there is to know about your pet, including:

  • Schedules for meals, walks, sleep, medication, and bathroom breaks.
  • How to prepare their food.
  • Any rules you have for your pet in the house.
  • Important temperament and training information.
  • Grooming and bathing needs.
  • How to access your home, alarm codes, etc.
  • Your vet’s name, address, and contact information.
  • Your neighbor’s or family’s contact information in case of emergency.
  • Time differences in the country you’re traveling to.
  • Housekeeping tasks, if applicable.

“You know your pet better than anyone, so you need to spell out every detail that your pet sitter should know. Think about any important medical information, such as existing conditions, symptoms, or signs to look for that could help your sitter know when the vet is needed and what’s normal for your pet.” – Dr. Sara Ochoa from Hound Games

Step #4: Agree on a Routine

Pet routine plan

Your pet probably has set times for meals, walks, exercise, and bathroom breaks. In a perfect world, your pet sitter would follow their existing routine exactly. But they might have work obligations or their own routine that clashes, so a new routine might have to be agreed upon.

Talk with your pet sitter about when they can walk your dog, feed them, and let them out for potty breaks. Try to get it as close to their normal routine as possible, but be flexible – after all, they are doing you a big favor by caring for your furry friend while you’re away.

If there are differences in your pet’s routine, practice them during the lead-up to your trip. This will help your pet get comfortable with the new schedule and reduce the stress of the change.

Step #5: Practice Training

Practice Training

If your dog has some temperament issues or doesn’t walk well on a leash, now is the time to start practicing training. Although you might be comfortable with their bad behavior on walks, it could be a problem for a pet sitter, and you don’t want to worry about your dog getting lost or injured while you’re away.

In the lead-up to your trip, practice some leash training and implement a few simple commands that will make walking your dog much easier for your pet sitter.

You might also want to think about crate training if your pet will be left alone for any period of time during the day, but this is something you can discuss with your sitter.

Step #6: Take a Trip to The Groomer

Pet groomer

Just before you leave to travel, take a trip to your groomer’s for a trim and nail clipping. This will get them clean and ready for their sitter and prevent problems like matting or split nails while you’re away.

Of course, accidents do happen, and if your dog gets caked in mud or roles in something they shouldn’t make sure your pet sitter knows who your groomer is and how to book an appointment.

If possible, leave your payment details and let them know you have hired a pet sitter to make the process much smoother.

If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, your pet may need to be brushed or have their nails trimmed, so make sure you add this information to your pet care binder.

Step #7: Set Housekeeping Tasks

Housekeeping

Most petsitters also take care of light housekeeping to ensure your home is well kept while you’re away. This is something you need to plan with your pet sitter, but here are a few key tasks you should set:

  • Take out the trash on the right day.
  • Sort through the mail.
  • Water the plants.
  • Vacuum or brush the floors.
  • Receive any parcels scheduled for delivery.

You can’t expect your pet sitter to become a live-in maid, but add a section to your pet care binder with all the information they’ll need to keep your house tidy while you’re away.

Enjoy Your Trip!

It’s never easy leaving your pet behind to go traveling, and you’ll think about them every day, no matter how fantastic your trip may be.

But by following this step-by-step guide, you can make sure your pet has the very best care while you’re away, giving you the peace of mind to enjoy your trip and make exciting new memories. Just don’t forget to bring your furry friend a souvenir!

This article originally appeared on TheRoamWild and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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