Twin Cities Consumer Checkbook: Care Options for Your Pet When Traveling

If you can’t bring your furry friend when you leave town, pet sitting options include hiring a pet sitter, asking a friend to babysit, and booking a stay at a pet sitter. a kennel.

If you opt for the kennel option, by visiting Checkbook.org/StarTribune/Kennels, readers can access Twin Cities Consumers’ Checkbook’s unbiased price and quality reviews of local facilities for free through July 5.

To help you get started in your search for pet care, here are some things to consider.

Bring your pet

You’ll share the experience with them and avoid the expense and hassle of a sitter or kennel. But your accommodation may not allow pets; and having a pet with you can be awkward.

There are also risks. Pets can be terrified or injured if mistreated by airline baggage handlers. Animals have been left for hours in airline processing areas or shipped to the wrong destinations. Dogs have died of heatstroke in airplane baggage compartments.

If your pet isn’t used to traveling by car, he may become anxious. And you shouldn’t leave your pet alone in a car, even briefly.

If you want to bring a dog, check out the list of hotels and motels that welcome puppies on AAA’s Traveling with Your Pet website.

Friends, family, neighbors and pet sitters

Another option is to entrust your pet to a friend or guardian. Your pet will not be alone overnight and you will avoid some inconvenience and expense. But you can put a friend in charge of this responsibility and the animal can suffer from separation anxiety.

Bringing a pet sitter to your home has significant benefits. Your pet stays in familiar surroundings and continues familiar routines. Your pet will not be stressed by staying with other animals. The Guardian can receive mail, water plants, and make your home look occupied.

But pet sitters also have their drawbacks. Whether the sitter is from a commercial department or a neighbor, you cannot be sure of the skill or diligence they bring to the job. Unless you arrange overnight care, your pet will be left alone for long hours.

If you are using a commercial service, you are giving access to your home to a stranger. And the cost of care can be high. Most of what Checkbook hears from customers who keep pets is positive, but there are enough negatives to warrant caution.

kennels

Most kennels were dreary places. Kennels have focused on keeping creatures safe by keeping them separate.

No more; most kennels are now run as resorts. They are decorated and designed as cheerful and fun getaways. During the day, the dogs party together in a large common area or are divided into small groups. Cats also usually have play areas. Health issues will be identified and referred to a veterinarian.

But based on the number of serious complaints Checkbook receives from consumers, choose a kennel carefully. Checkbook’s secret price shoppers have also seen big price differences between local kennels. To house a medium-sized dog for a week, prices ranged from $200 to $500 or more. It’s just for basic boarding. The extras add up quickly: administering a pill can cost an extra $3 a day; extra attention or exercise could cost $10 a day.

Plus, drop-off and pick-up times at some kennels make it hard to avoid shelling out for an extra day. All this can represent a substantial part of your holiday budget. Fortunately, some of the top rated kennels charge below average prices.

Tips for Considering Kennels

  • Beware of a kennel that won’t let you inspect their facilities unannounced during regular hours.
  • Where will your dog stay? During the day or at scheduled times, pets usually hang out in communal play areas. At night, the animals stay in their own areas. When left unattended, it is generally best for pets to be separated. In Checkbook’s survey of pet owners, kennels that have shared runs and nighttime spaces—primarily hospitals and clinics with limited space—generally score considerably lower than establishments with pet owners. separate spaces.
  • Some facilities charge an additional fee if your dog cannot participate in group play.
  • If you are hosting a cat, does the property have a separate area for them?
  • Inspect for proper sanitary protections – cleanliness, air temperature, proof of vaccinations.
  • Evaluate staff members. Do they answer your questions? Do they show affection for animals?
  • Determine when the kennel is open for drop off and pick up.
  • Find out about the modalities of veterinary care, in case your animal becomes ill.
  • Can you check in your pet while you are away? Many kennels now have webcams.

Twin Cities Consumers’ Checkbook magazine and Checkbook.org is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help consumers get the best service and the lowest prices. We are consumer backed and do not take money from the service providers we review. You can access Checkbook’s ratings of local kennels through July 5 at Checkbook.org/StarTribune/Kennels.

About Chuck Keeton

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