With 62 percent of households owning one or more pets, the question, “What shall we do with the cat and dog?” is commonly found on the checklist of many travelers. Pet Sitters International (PSI), who claims to be one of the world’s largest educational associations for professional pet sitters, is offering travel tips and resources to help pet owners consider the family pets in their travel planning processes.
Carefully consider if your pets should stay or go, PSI advises. According to data from the U.S. Travel Association, 14 percent of all U.S. adults (29.1 million) say they have traveled with a pet on a trip of 50 miles or more.
“If you are thinking about traveling with the family pet, closely consider your travel plans, lodging accommodations and trip agenda,” says the PSI. “If you are traveling in a personal vehicle, taking your pet has fewer implications, but be sure to verify that your hotel, resort or campground is pet friendly.”
If your clients' lodging accommodations allow pets, there’s more involved than just checking their furry family member in at the front desk.
The PSI says, “Hotels impose restrictions that can include the size and number of pets, expensive non-refundable pet fees and rules against pets being left unattended in hotel rooms. Be sure to confirm all pet restrictions before making reservations. Also ensure that the tourist attractions, amusement parks and restaurants you plan to visit are pet friendly. If not, you will need to make special arrangements for your pet.”
PSI advises travelers to consider their pets’ health as well and to consider when their pet had his/her most recent veterinary check-up. A pet’s age or physical condition should also be considered.
If Fido is flying, plan ahead, says PSI.
“Keep in mind that buses, trains and cruise ships do not typically allow pets. Most airlines allow pets to travel in the cabin or as cargo. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends that pet owners not fly their animals unless the pets are small enough to fit under the passenger seats. If you’ve already committed to transporting your pet on a commercial airline, the ASPCA offers a list of helpful tips for safe air travel with your pet.”
If the pets don’t go, hire a professional, PSI says. The process of locating a quality caregiver for companion animals may seem daunting. PSI provides an Official Pet Sitter Locator, a zipcode-driven search tool that enables pet owners to conduct criteria-based searches of nearly 7,500 professional pet-sitting businesses. Users can download a Pet Sitter Questionnaire and search the database for custom-tailored services ranging from daily dog walks to caring for pets with special needs. And pet owners can refine searches even further by specifying credentials such as bonding, liability insurance and pet first-aid training, PSI says.
”There is no substitute for using the services of a pet-sitting professional,” says Patti Moran, PSI president. “Friends, family and neighbors are not always the best solution for ensuring your pets are cared for while you’re away, even for shorter weekend trips.”
In addition to caring for pets, professional pet sitters can also provide basic home-care services, such as bringing in the mail and alternating lights to give your home a lived-in look. For pet owners traveling with their pets, a professional pet sitter can be a valuable resource for pet-care while visiting attractions or restaurants that are not pet friendly.
Whether Fido and Fluffy accompany you on the trip or stay in their home environment under the care of a professional pet sitter, planning ahead can ensure their safety, comfort and contentment.