Tips for leaving pets at home on vacation

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The itinerary is set and your bags are packed, but what about your furry friends?

The itinerary is set and your bags are packed, but before you leave on vacation, what are you going to do about your precious pets? While hotels and boarding options abound for our furry friends, here are a few tips to keep your pets happy and safe if they’ll be staying at home while you’re on vacation.

Hire a petsitter

Dog walker (Image: dirk.olbertz)
Dog walker (Image: dirk.olbertz)

Whether you’re leaving behind a cat, dog, fish or other pet, you’ll need someone to care for your pets while you’re gone. A petsitter could be a neighbor who pops by daily to make sure your fish are fed or a professional sitter who will walk your dogs twice a day. If your pets are used to having someone home most of the time, you may even hire a house sitter who’s willing to look after your pets. No matter which route you choose, just be sure to have someone available to look after your pets while you’re on vacation.

Call the vet

Let your veterinarian know that you’ll be on vacation and ask to leave a credit card on file for any incidentals that may occur while you’re out of town. This makes it easier for your petsitter to get immediate care for your pet in case of emergency. Be sure to leave the petsitter the contact information for your vet.

Leave plenty of food and water

Cat (Image: Stefan Tell)
Cat (Image: Stefan Tell)

If you’re leaving for a one- or two-night trip, you may feel comfortable leaving plenty of food out to keep some types of pets fed during your entire absence. If you’re having someone come to check up on your pet, be sure to let the sitter know where the pet food is and that there is enough to keep your pet fed while you’re away. You’ll also need to make sure your pet has plenty of access to fresh water while you’re gone.

Keep them comfortable

Set your air conditioner or heater to a temperature that will keep your pets comfortable during your absence. You’ll also want to make sure they have access to their comfy beds and plenty of toys so they don’t get bored while you’re gone.

Get your pet’s ID

Dog wearing a collar (Image: Wonderlane)
Dog wearing a collar (Image: Wonderlane)

Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags with updated contact information before you leave. In case they do get out, this extra measure will help good samaritans make sure your pets find their way back home. It’s also a good idea to have your pet microchipped, as shelters and veterinary offices will almost always check for microchips when they come across a lost pet.

Pet-proof the house

Nothing kills your post-vacation buzz faster than discovering a treasured family heirloom in pieces or your computer cords chewed up courtesy of your curious cat or bored pup. Before you leave, pet-proof your home by hiding wires, tucking away fragile items and putting the toilet seats down. If there are any rooms that could spell disaster if your pets were to run loose in them, make sure the door is closed and access is blocked before you leave.

What are your best tips for leaving your pets at home on vacation?

(Main image: eva101)

Tips for leaving pets at home on vacation was last modified: September 4th, 2013 by Marissa Willman
Author: Marissa Willman (893 posts)

Marissa Willman earned a bachelor's degree in journalism before downsizing her life into two suitcases for a teaching gig in South Korea. Seoul was her home base for two years of wanderlusting throughout six countries in Asia. In 2011, Marissa swapped teaching for travel writing and now calls Southern California home.