ZFF Tips for Taking Pets on Vacation or Hiring a Pet Sitter

Going away and can’t decide whether to hire a pet sitter for your cat, dog or both vs taking everyone on vacation? Long or short term? Business or pleasure? Do you really need to be worrying about your cat or dog when you are in work mode? If pleasure, is the trip genuinely pleasurable for your cat or dog?

Dogs love going on vacation with you if they can hike, smell new smells, see new sights, be admired and patted by new people. Of course all of the above depends on the age, breed, temperament of your dog and your vacation plans.

Cats do NOT. They hate a change of environment as they are very environment bound and they hate traveling in carriers be it in the car with you or in cabin (don’t even think about boats!)

Here is some information to help you make that decision: take, leave at home, or put in boarding

Boarding

Unless your dog/s go to doggy day care which has additional boarding options, boarding for either cats or dogs is stressful. Surrounded by other unfamiliars (people and animals), smelling different cleaning agents, noises (for example, whining, loud voices), sleeping in cages/crates, and the list goes on, are all reminders of being at the vet’s office.

Taking with

If you stay in a hotel, most likely you have to pay an additional fee. Some hotels will not clean your room when you are out if you leave your furry friend in the room. While you are out, your angel is alone in an unfamiliar environment waiting for you and most likely anxious about you coming back.

If you go to visit family or friends, make sure everyone is really on board having your furry family member visit. Two rules: If other furries are there, are they friendly to newcomers on their turf? No resource/food guarding? And, is there absolutely no way your cat or dog can escape? Losing either in unfamiliar surroundings is a nightmare, time consuming and an emotional rollercoaster.  (Make sure your cat or dog wears a collar and tags with names and phone numbers at all times during the trip.)

Staying home

Pet sitting is definitely the way to go if you have a shy or older furry friend, or one who needs medication.

And cats really like staying home! They don’t have any desire to go visiting, they prefer visitors come to them. If your cat/s stay home, you can have a cat sitter come in one or two times a day or sleep there. Most cats enjoy the royal treatment of a staff to take care of them and are purrfectly fine with a visit or two daily from a cat sitter to clean the litter and put out fresh food. However, some cats, believe it or not, do want a cat sitter to sleep over.

Dogs, on the other hand, are a bit needier as they have to go out to potty 3 or 4 times per day. Some need playtime in the park with doggy friends so you want someone trustworthy to stay with your pup.  Give  instructions on your dog’s routine (eating and going out) and anything else useful to know.

How to find that purrfect pet sitter?

Paying someone is more reliable than asking a friend or neighbor without the guilt associated with not paying.  After all, it’s your pet sitter’s job!  Ask your friends or neighbors with pets or, if you are in NYC, simply ask us!

Have your pet sitter meet you and your furry friend.  If you have a dog, have the dog sitter come by your house, get your dog ready according to your usual routine: put on collar or harness, does your dog need a sweater?  Show the candidate how you like to do it and then go for a walk together and see how the potential pet sitter handles your dog. While walking, ask questions important to you and be sure to describe your dog’s behavior, triggers or favorite potty spots.

With cats, have the potential sitter come over and see your cat’s reaction and interaction.  Is your cat comfortable with this stranger?  If your cat needs medication, try to schedule the meeting for when you usually give  meds so you can demonstrate how to do it.  Give explicit instructions on what to feed when and your cat’s litter box cleaning schedule.

At the end of the day, go with your gut and choose the purrson you and your furry friend feel comfortable with.

Remember to leave keys, a note with your doorman (NYC), a list of your travel details, any special instructions/medications and veterinary information.


ZFF is proud to recommend the services of our very own pet sitter, Francesca Kennedy

Francesca has fifteen years professional experience walking dogs and providing cats with care. She is an experienced pet sitter for both cats and dogs and has extensive experience with medications, subQ fluids and special diets. Rates start at $20 per day for a once daily cat visit. Call or text 917-213-0640 or email devilkittie@gmail.com