Leave out food & water? Friends who visit your home? Expensive kennels? Here’s how to choose.

 

Question:

Soon our children will be back in school and our family has one last vacation planned. We have a cat and a dog but we don’t know where to turn for reliable pet care while we’re gone. Please advise us.

 

Dr. Nichol:

You show real concern for those other family members-your pets. Here are some bad ideas first. Do not leave a pet home alone (indoors or outdoors). It’s Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong will. The water bowl gets dumped over, the critter gets stranded in the sun, or he or she gets sick and no one is there to care for them. Also, do not ask a neighbor child to stop over and feed and water. True, pets are great for teaching responsibility but the wisdom to know when a pet is less than healthy is best left to an adult.

 

How about a few good ideas? A trusted adult friend to visit 2-3 times daily is usually fine. Another good option is a home pet sitting service. Good pet sitters are bonded and can provide references. Finally there are boarding kennels for dogs as well as cats. Like most things in life-some are better than others.

 

How do you know who’s good? Call your veterinarian’s office and ask the staff for recommendations on pet sitters and kennels. They’ve had experience with the good and the bad.

 

Lastly, be sure that whoever looks after your beloved pets has the phone number and name of your veterinarian and a number where you can be reached too. If a problem does develop, we’ll want your consent to take care of it right away.