So you want to go on vacation…what about the animals!!?


It is July which means that summer is in full swing and most likely, the majority of us will be headed somewhere for vacation. But, before you put that final bag in the car and start the engine, have you made adequate plans for your furry family members? Two very unfortunate incidents (one to my brother and one to a friend) have put in stark focus the need to have plans in place for your pets. Here are things that we do before heading out of town. Please feel free to share your to-do list tips so that all of our pets have a safe vacation.

  1. Make sure you leave your contact information for your animal’s caretaker. We leave multiple cell numbers so that at least one person will have their phone on them and is reachable if an emergency should arise. We also leave the address and phone number of where we will be staying.
  2. Give your vet’s contact information to the barn manager, kennel staff or pet sitter. You should also consider noting where the closest emergency clinic is located.
  3. Let your vet(s) know you will be out of town. We call and tell them who is caring for our pets and who can make critical decisions if we can’t be reached. Yes, this is terrible to think about, but better you have it thought out rather than your animal suffer in your absence.
  4. I also work out payment options with our vets so the pet sitter does not have to worry about the cost. Some will let you pay when you return; others just keep our credit card information on file.
  5. Check the supply of critical medications and make sure you leave instructions for how to administer them. Don’t leave your pet sitter wondering what to do when your dog chews a raw spot due to his/her allergies.
  6. Is there enough pet food and supplements on hand to last through your vacation? Clear feeding instructions should also be left. If you have a pet that is a picky eater or who decides to have random hunger strikes (I speak from experience here), you should share that info so there is no undo worry for the sitter.
  7. Does your pet panic with storms or fireworks? Share with your sitter what can be done – wearing a Thundershirt, anxiety treats, happy drugs or what ever works for your animal.
  8. We have one dog who has to be kept separate from the others for behavioral reasons, so we leave clear instructions on how to manage him. Do you have an escape artist who likes to slip out the front door? Does your dog eat things they shouldn’t? Share any of those quirks with the sitter!
  9. Does your horse have shoes? Let the barn manager know who your farrier is in case your horse decides to play hide-the-shoe in his/her paddock.
  10. Make sure your fly spray supply is adequate. The green headed flies are out in force this year and the dive bomber horse flies are also lurking.

A little planning goes a long way for a restful vacation. Don’t forget to pack the camera and enjoy the journey!



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