Taking a family vacation usually means trying to find somewhere for your pet to stay while you're away as well (unless you have an RV and plan to go across country with your pet(s) in tow). But when you're new to having pets, or plans with one caretaker fall through at the last minute and you need help it's good to know about the different options available. Here are a few ways you can travel without your pets, while ensuring that the family pet is well cared for while you're gone.
1. The Vet
Some veterinarians offer boarding for cats, dogs, and even reptiles and birds. Though this form of boarding is typically in a cage/kennel with no "play time," it can be beneficial if your pet requires medication, some shots, or medical supervision. In some cases, this can cost a bit less than other pet boarding options. Choose a vet that you've seen before and trust. The employees should be kind, helpful, willing to show you the boarding area, and up front about any and all fees.
2. Pet Store
Like the vet, some pet stores offer boarding kennels where your pet will receive food, water, a clean area to sleep, and a few walks a day if needed. Petsmart Pets Hotel also has an add-on option for doggie day camp, or play time, during the day where dogs can play together and run around or go potty all day opposed to only stretching during walks.
3. House Sitter
If you'll be out of town a while and need to be sure your mail is picked up, trash is taken out, and your multiple pets (or pets not boarded by vets or pet stores) are taken care of then a house sitter is a great option. Your pets can stay in the comfort of their own home and everything at home can be looked after for less than paying to have multiple pets boarded somewhere, too. If you choose this option, be sure to have your pet meet the sitter a few times before you leave for vacation to be sure that the two get along.
4. Pet Sitter
A pet sitter is someone who either watches your pet in their own home with their own or other pets, or who periodically visits your pet in your home to check on them (but don't look after the rest of your home). The benefit of a pet sitter is that your pet can be in a nice home environment instead of a boarding environment. This option can cost less or about the same as a boarding facility. Similar to the house sitter, you should have your pet meet the sitter ahead of time, but in their home or where they would be watching your pet so that any other pets they have can also become familiar with your pets, and you can look into the conditions where your pet may stay.
5. Friends and Family
One of the cheapest and best last-minute options for a pet sitter is a friend or family member willing to watch your pet (and isn't allergic). Since your pet is already familiar with them, it's a more comfortable situation as well. A friend or family member could even house sit.
A camp for your pet, like doggie camp is a place where your pet can run around free all day, similar to doggie day camp at Petsmart, but it's included in the boarding fee. Here, pets aren't walked twice a day since they're left out to play and go potty until they are taken to their cabins or kennels for meals and bedtime.