Clinch good pet care be­fore va­ca­tion beck­ons

The Progress-Index - At Home - - PET CARE - Kather­ine Roth

When va­ca­tions beckon, find­ing re­li­able care for a beloved fam­ily pet is too of­ten an af­ter­thought, a de­tail to be left to a friend, neigh­bor or the teenager down the block.

It shouldn’t be, ex­perts warn, and dis­as­ters can and do hap­pen.

But with the right plan­ning, a fam­ily hol­i­day can be as en­joy­able for the pets who stay home as it is for their trav­el­ing hu­mans, said Beth Stultz, spokes­woman for the North Carolina-based Pet­sit­ters In­ter­na­tional, an ed­u­ca­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion for pet sit­ters with nearly 7,000 client busi­nesses in 27 coun­tries.

“There’s a mis­con­cep­tion that any­one can care for a pet, but it’s a lot tougher than it ap­pears,” Stulz said.

Find a sit­ter who is ex­pe­ri­enced with an­i­mals, trained in ba­sic first aid and in­sured, she said, and even if you know the per­son, it’s a good idea to have a signed con­tract with ex­pec­ta­tions clearly stated.

Rachel Bow­ers, owner of a pet-sit­ting com­pany, Brook­lyn Bark in Brook­lyn, New York, says, “Friends of­ten of­fer to help, but they tend to be flaky and bail at the last minute, or they show up but re­ally don’t un­der­stand that dogs need to go out three times a day and cats need their lit­ter changed regularly,” she said.

What to do with a pet while you’re out of town de­pends on the type of an­i­mal and its tem­per­a­ment.

Many peo­ple see their pets as fam­ily mem­bers and take them along on va­ca­tions. The North Carolina-based Trip­swith­pets.com pro­vides de­tails on pet-friendly travel op­tions.

But other an­i­mals don’t take well to travel: for ex­am­ple, dogs who suf­fer from mo­tion sick­ness or stranger anx­i­ety, or breeds prone to res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems.

Ken­nels are a pop­u­lar op­tion, and range from mod­est to fullscale re­sorts. And then there is a home set­ting, ei­ther yours or that of a pet-sit­ter.

SIT­TERS IN­TER­NA­TIONAL/PASKAPOO PET SER­VICES VIA AP PET

Pro­fes­sional pet sit­ter Kath­leen Boucher en­joys backyard play time with a client’s dog in Cal­gary, Canada. With the right plan­ning, a fam­ily hol­i­day can be as en­joy­able for the pets who stay home as it is for their trav­el­ing hu­mans.

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