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Tips for Caring for Your Pets While You Travel: Questions You Should Ask

If you're looking to board a pet while traveling to Cynosport, to future trials, or for business/personal travel, here's some helpful advice on finding the best place for your pet to stay.

As competitors, judges and dog enthusiasts, many of us may need to board a dog(s) or other pets that we will not be able to bring to competition events or for personal travel. There are three basic options for having someone care for your pets when you're away; a friend or family member, a professional pet sitter, or a professional boarding facility. This first of a two-part article series will focus on finding a professional boarding facility thats best for your pets.

Before entrusting the care of your pet to anyone you should:

  • Notify your veterinarian and let them know that someone else is caring for your pet and may be contacting them in case of an emergency.

  • Set up an opportunity for your pet to meet those that will be caring for them. Make sure that your pet is comfortable around them. Likewise, the caregivers need to be comfortable with your pet. If your pet will not be staying at your home, it is a good idea to give your pet an opportunity to familiarize themselves with where they will be staying ahead of time.

  • Make sure that the people caring for your pet understand their behavior and any health issues. It is absolutely essential that you be completely upfront and honest about your pet's health status and behavioral quirks, as not disclosing them can put your pets and/or their caregivers at risk.

  • Make arrangements for an emergency contact who can authorize medical care for your pet in case you cannot be contacted. This individual may also be needed to care for your pet if the pet care provider indicates that they cannot care for your pet. Your contact may need to assume financial responsibility for your pet in your absence. Most veterinary practices, especially emergency clinics, require payment upfront. If the pet is a senior or has existing health issues you may want to leave written instructions for the veterinarian with your pet care provider, just in case they require medical attention in your absence.

  • Whoever is caring for your pet should have contact information for you, your veterinarian and the closest emergency veterinary clinic and has a copy of your pet's most recent vaccination records and any other information applicable to special health concerns for your pet.

Questions to ask anyone who is entrusted with the care of your pet:

  • Have you had formal training in pet first aid and are you able to apply first aid if necessary?
  • Have you had training in and experience with supervising interactions between pets that do not interact on a normal basis? Are you familiar with basic body language for your type of pet?
  • Do you have experience in giving pets medications; pills, ointments or injections?
  • Do you promise that you will not use any of the aversive tools or techniques defined as harmful in theĀ AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines?

I hope these tips were. In our next article I will go over specific questions to use when finding a pet sitter or kennel.

You can visit part one of this article here.

Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME a pet-friendly pet care facility where they been caring for pets since 1965. Don is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He has a blog at


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