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Caring for Pets When You're Away

If you're planning to travel with your pet, keep in mind that some animals are not suited for travel because of temperament, illness, or physical impairment. If you have any doubts about whether it is appropriate for your pet to travel, talk to your veterinarian.

If you decide that your pet should not travel, consider the alternatives: Have a responsible friend or relative look after your pet, board your animal at a kennel, or hire a pet sitter.

If a friend or relative is going to take care of your pet, ask if that person can take your animal into his or her home. Animals can get lonely when left alone. Be sure that your pet is comfortable with the temporary caretaker and his or her home, not to mention any pets that person has.

If you choose to board your pet, get references and inspect the kennel. Your veterinarian or local shelter can help you select a facility. You can also read our online tips for choosing a boarding kennel.

If you are hiring a pet sitter, interview the candidates and check their references. (A pet sitter may be preferable if your pet is timid or elderly and needs the comfort of familiar surroundings during your absence.) Be sure to check out our online guidelines on how to choose a pet sitter.

Whatever option you choose, there are a few things to remember: Your pet should be up-to-date on all vaccinations and in sound health. Whoever cares for your pet should know the telephone number where you can be reached, the name and telephone number of your veterinarian, and your pet's medical or dietary needs. Be sure that your pet is comfortable with the person you have chosen.

Reprinted with permission from the Humane Association of the United States.

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