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Vacation Plans? Who Will Care for Your Pet?

Garden State Veterinary Specialists

This year’s summer season promises to be a popular one for travel, with many people anxious to vacation away from home after a long pandemic-induced hiatus. Our pets have been spending more time than usual with us and are not used to being separated from their normal surroundings. Part of your vacation plans should include who will care for your pet while you are away. 

Whether you decide to have a trusted friend, a veterinary hospital, or a pet resort care for your beloved pet, there are things that should be done to prepare your pet for their vacation during yours. Although cell phones have made keeping in contact easier, your pet’s medical condition and your personal choices for medical care are important to communicate to the caregiver. 

Perhaps the best place to start is to have a folder (paper or digital) for your pet containing some important information about them that you can share with the caregiver. The information folder should include: a copy of your pet’s vaccination history, any special dietary needs or restrictions, a list of medications or supplements your pet is taking, known medical conditions, name and contact information for their veterinarian, behavioral issues or stress triggers, and details about their daily routine. All of this should prepare the caregiver to better understand and address your pet’s particular needs. The last part of this packet of information should be a written document signed by you stating what you are authorizing the caregiver to do on your behalf. 

A pet care authorization should outline your preferences for treatment in your absence. That authorization may cover certain tests, procedures, treatments or even euthanasia. Your pet’s pre-existing condition or financial constraints may influence the extent of the authorization you will extend to a caregiver. Consideration should also be given to how payment for treatment will be made. Although pet resorts and veterinary hospitals may have payment policies in place should emergency treatment be required, private arrangements with friends or family members typically do not. To avoid any issues, should an emergency situation arise, it should be clearly communicated who will provide payment for treatment, whether you will pay directly or if you will reimburse the caregiver. 

Another consideration that may help your pet adjust to your absence would be to have your pet spend some time with the caregiver ahead of your vacation for a short period. Pet resorts and your veterinarian will sometimes offer a daycare or overnight stay option; friends or family members may likewise spend some extended time in advance of your trip with your pet, so they have some familiarity with them. 

Taking a few steps to prepare for a vacation always makes the trip smoother. Including your pet’s care plan when preparing for a vacation this summer, will put you at ease and give your pet an enjoyable vacation as well. 

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. 

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