Planning for Pet Care While You Travel

The holidays are all around us! For many, especially us of the younger generation in new apartments, that means travel back “home” is likely imminent! While the travel itself isn’t bad, and visiting old friends and your family in your hometown is probably the highlight of your year, there’s one potential problem: pets!

If you’re like me, you’re a pet person, and didn’t feel complete without a furry, scaly, or fishy friend in your new place. It took me about 2 months to adopt my first dog in my apartment, and as soon as I knew I could upsize to a unit with a bigger yard, I adopted a second!

I’ll be the first to admit that having pets doesn’t make apartment life any easier. It’s another mouth to feed, take for walks, and care for. Worth it? In my opinion, YES! But the holidays pose a tricky predicament if you need to travel to visit your family during this season, because in most cases, you cannot just leave them home alone. Consider the following solutions when deciding how to take great care of your pet while you’re away!pet-default

For dogs/cats/other furry pets:

1. Can I bring him with me?

This can be the best-and-worst option. While it’s definitely fun to bring your pet with you to a new place, or to meet your parents, it definitely adds a layer of stress. While you’re in someone else’s house, you have to keep a very close eye to make sure your pet isn’t making messes inside or bothering anyone else in the house!

If you have to fly to your holiday destination, this option could be pretty limited, but if you’re driving it may be a good one!

2. Is he good with other animals?

If you do bring him with you, make sure to have an understanding of how they react to other people and other animals. If your cat doesn’t like strangers or dogs (and your parents are hosting 10 people and 2 dogs for the holidays), it may be best to make other arrangements for him while you’re away.

3. Can a neighbor watch him? Let him out and feed him at reasonable times every day?

If you have a very good relationship with your neighbors, or a friend that lives nearby, you can arrange for them to take care of your pet while you’re away. Make sure that you are comfortable with having this person in your apartment, and make sure that your lease doesn’t have any policies preventing tenants from letting other people borrow their key.

Also think about the other person’s schedule. If they work all day and into the night, it may not be fair to your pet or to them. If they’re home most of the day, that’s a different story!

4. Can I afford to board him?

Boarding is usually a good option, especially for dogs, since it provides professional care as well as interaction/stimulation for them throughout the day. Should you choose to board, ask for recommendations from local friends, or use websites like Yelp to pick the safest one for your pet. If you have your travel booked in advance, make sure to book the kennel in advance too so they don’t fill up!

For reptiles/fish/birds:

1 . Can I bring him with me?

While these may be more difficult to transport, if your holiday host is up for it, you can bring your pet along! Personally, I drove my pet fish home with me during every college break, because no one was on campus to take care of him! Make sure their cages/bowls are very secure in the car!

2. Can a neighbor watch him?

Probably the easiest option is having a friend or neighbor come over to care for your pet. These generally require less care, so it would not be a major burden on whoever you ask. Again, make sure that it’s cleared by your landlord or leasing office!

3. Is there a nearby vet that boards these animals?

Boarding reptiles and fish is another option if there is a location locally. This provides professional care, so you can rest easy while you’re away. However, you will have to pay the expense, so try to plan early!

Of course, there’s no real simple answer. Make sure to think about how long your trip is, and make sure that you’re fair to your pet in any situation.

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Author My First Apartment

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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