Midday Fix: Pet care tips for travellers

Posted: Feb 26, 2013 / 11:10 AM CSTUpdated: 02/27/2013 11:04 AM CST

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Paradise 4 paws

O’Hare
10510 United Parkway
Schiller Park

Midway
5262 S. Kolmar Avenue
Chicago

(847) 678-1200
www.paradise4paws.com

Tips:

Keep a vaccination and medication log.
Keep a record of your pet’s vaccines and medications and set a reminder a month before each vaccine or medication expires so you can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in advance. Most pet care facilities and dog walking services require for dogs: Bordatella either every 6 months or annually, rabies – one or three year protocol, distemper combination – one or three year protocol, negative stool test every six months or annually and should be turned on, heartworm and flea- / Tick prevention all year round; for cats: rabies – one or three year protocol, feline distemper combination (FVCRP) – one or three year protocol, feline leukemia, a negative stool test every six months or annually, and should be used year-round for flea / tick prevention become. Scan all of the forms so you always have them to hand when you travel last minute. Dogs should also receive heartworm preventive care year round, and all pets exposed to other pets should have flea / tick preventive care all year round.

Research your options.
There are in-home sitters, dog walkers, vets and boarding schools. In-home sitters can come in professional form or as friends and neighbors, and this may be the best option for certain types of pets. While this can be the cheapest for friends and neighbors, it can also be the least reliable as friends may change their plans or fail to realize the level of care required, so you’ll always have a backup option. For professional home grooming and dog walkers, make sure you do your research and check references and maybe even do a background check whenever you give that person or group access to your home. If you hire a dog walker and your pet is otherwise left home alone, make sure you have a friend or neighbor who will check on them regularly in an emergency. If your pet has a serious medical condition, a veterinary boarding may be a good option, but be sure to check to see if someone is on site 24/7 and what type of exercise and accommodation your pet will have. Finally, pet housing is an option that many pet parents turn to. As with all of these vendors, do your research, take a tour, talk to other customers, and ask lots of questions. Are they manned around the clock, are there contingency plans, how are employees trained, how are playgroups assigned, what does a typical day look like, what can you bring from home and specific questions about your pet?

Be honest with your pet.
Some animal parents tend to gossip about their furry children – “Oh, my Muffy is just an angel. She never growls at anyone. ”- but it’s better to be honest. For example, if your dog is afraid of men, the service provider can send a woman or the facility can have women look after your dog. If the dog is aggressive on the leash, the dog handler or other service provider must know. Some will tailor their services to meet your pet’s specific needs. Others won’t. But it’s best to know in advance who can cater to your pet’s special needs, rather than getting a phone call from across the country saying you need to pick up your pet right away.

Make it easy for the caregivers.
Leave detailed feeding and medication instructions for caregivers at home. After the meal, separate the food into individual bags for the catering facilities and label all of your pet’s belongings.

Create a smooth transition.
Leave your pet with something that smells like you (like a dirty sock) or something that smells like home (like a blanket), or both, if you choose to move your pet to a kennel or kennel. Say goodbye briefly and not dramatically. The less stressed you are, the less stressed your pet is. Give your pet a peanut butter stuffed toy or something to distract them. There are special clothing and aromatherapy options for pets with separation anxiety.

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