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Who Takes Care of Your Pets When You're Away?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/25/2006 | Pets and Animals
Can your dog wait 10 hours to go for a walk? Will the cat have enough food and a clean litter box if you are away for a week? What if you can't come home Wednesday nights because of a prior commitment?

Anytime a pet owner needs to go away on vacation, stay long hours at work or has regular scheduled activities that take them away from home they must consider how their pet will be cared for. Pets provide entertainment and companionship but are also a huge responsibility. You show respect for your pet by taking its needs into consideration and planning accordingly.

Fortunately there are many services available to assist you in caring for your pet during times when you can't personally give them the attention and care they need. What are they? Which is best for your pet?

DAY CARE

Social animals, like dogs, can suffer emotionally from a lack of attention. If your dog has access to the outdoors they will be able to relieve themselves when necessary but a house-bound dog will physically require a walk or you will come home to an accident on your rug and a frustrated animal.

Day care centers provide the needed social stimulation most dogs crave. At the day care your dog will spend time with other dogs and have people looking after its physical needs. If you have a young dog this can be especially important as your dog may become destructive with a lack of supervision and an abundance of unused energy.

BOARDING KENNELS

If you plan to be away overnight or for longer your dog or cat may be placed in a boarding kennel. This can be expensive but will ensure your pet is cared for daily and overnight.

IN-HOME CARE

If you are comfortable leaving your dog at home all day you may find the in-home services of a visitor or dog walker to be sufficient and less costly while still providing personal attention.

Cats and other animals may not need daily visits if you come home in the evening but will need some attention if you are away overnight or for several days. Cats prefer their own homes rather than the highly social aspect of day cares or boarding kennels. Other pets, such as birds and reptiles, will most likely do better with in-home care as well.

In-home care can be as basic as someone taking your dog for a walk in the middle of the day or as inclusive as having a sitter stay in your home with your pet.

Examine your situation and budget when choosing a method of care. Take your pet's best interests in mind. If you are having someone come to your home be sure they are reputable. Licensed businesses should be insured and bonded when employees are trusted with entering and locking up your home.