During last night’s thunderstorm, my almost 4 year old dog – who happens to have the courage of a 4 month old puppy – kept waking up in alarm every. single. time. he heard thunder rumbling, so I sang him lullabies to help calm the poor guy down. And that was when it hit me: I’d miss doing this when I go on my planned Southeast Asia trip next year. Draco (that’s my small, black, and heavy canine menace) comes to me for cuddles right when I wake up and as soon as I arrive home from school, and although it has been months since I’ve last sang the little bugger to sleep, that remains to be one of our best bonding activities. The thought of not having this guy around for 50 consecutive days never really crossed my mind until last night, but now that I think about it, I wonder how we’d both cope with each other’s absence.
Where to leave their pet(s) is every pet owner’s dilemma whenever a trip comes on, and unless you have family living in the same house to look after your furry friend, then trying to find a solution to that problem can be somewhat daunting. Between packing your luggage and fixing your trip details, it’s hard to squeeze in time for animal placement planning, so I’ve compiled a list of ways on what to do with your little or not-so-little one while you’re away.
1. Leave them with your friends.
Find the person you trust most and ask them to look after your pet while you’re away. If possible, ask somebody your pet is already familiar with (and vice versa) so they won’t get shocked by the change of environment. It would be best to break them into the new routine slowly, but if you’re out of time, just choose the person who best fits your petsitter criteria.
2. Leave them with your neighbours.
If there’s one thing your pet will thank you for, it’s for not uprooting them from their home base. Look for a neighbour who won’t mind the extra animal, and make sure your pet will be well taken care of. Always remember to choose a person your pet is familiar with, or else things could go down the drain, and you’ll either go home to an irate neighbour or an irate pet. Or worse, both.
3. Ask somebody to stay in your place.
Call in a friend or a family member to live in your place for the amount of time you’ll be away, and leave them specific instructions (e.g., when to take out the trash, what and what not to touch, what and what not to clean, how to operate the necessary machines, etc.) to avoid any form of miscommunication between you and your house (and pet) sitter.
4. Check your pet into a hotel.
You’re probably thinking, “A hotel? For pets? Are you kidding me?”, or maybe you’re not, but let’s just pretend you are. There are boarding places for pets these days, and although I have yet to find one based in Cebu, there are a couple of places in Manila where you can let your pets stay for days. You can check this document for a list of references, or you can try Dluxe Pet Hotel & Spa, or CARA Welfare Philippines.
5. Send them to school.
If you were waiting for an opportunity to give your pet some training, use your trip to send them to school. You’ll be able to find a place for your pet to stay, and when you come back, voila!, they’re trained!
6. And if you’ve tried everything I’ve enumerated, and they have all flopped… Send your pet to the vet.
This is more expensive than a pet hotel, but if your pet is behind their vaccinations (because you were too busy to take them to the doctor) and other check ups, approach your pet’s veterinarian and ask about possible stay-ins.
- Write down specific details about them
- Name, Age, Birthday, Allergies, Habits, Medications, Vaccination Information, Past Health Conditions, Food, Mealtimes, etc
- Leave the details of at least one other contact person aside from you
- If possible, give your petsitter a couple of your pet’s toys
- Have an emergency fund ready for, well, emergencies
Also, talk to your pet beforehand. They won’t answer you verbally, of course, but they’re smarter than you think they are, and they’ll get the idea. Before I leave on trips, I always make it a point to reassure my dog, and he understands me just fine.