Here are some options for leaving the family pet behind when you travel.
Although Grandma may welcome the kids with open arms as families travel for holiday visits, bringing along the family pet may elicit a different response. Here are some options:
Boarding the family pet
Boarding is particularly popular among dog owners, but book early as slots in kennels and veterinarians' offices fill up early.
Many places that board dogs require the animals to visit in advance to determine their compatibility in a canine group environment. Quality facilities also require proof of vaccines.
Professional pet sitters
Pet sitters can be found through mutual friends or on websites such as www.petsitters.org.
Pet sitters will come by once daily -- or twice for a slight additional charge -- to make sure the animal has proper food and water. A pet sitter will take the dog for a walk, clean the cat's litter box and spend quality time with your pets.
Friends make good sitters
A good friend who gets along well with a pet may be the most economical option. There are multiple bonuses: You know the person, and the pet knows the individual, as well. Just be sure the friend is aware of where the food is kept, how much the pet eats and drinks daily and whom to call in the event of an emergency.
Taking them with you
If you do take Fido and are traveling by plane, talk with the airline about charges and potential hazards during transport. Air flight can be potentially traumatizing, and many airlines require sedation for the pet.
If you're driving, it can be fun, or a nightmare, pet owners say. Cats generally don't enjoy car rides, unless socialized from youth. Don't forget to bring a small portable litter box.
Generally, dogs see road trips as a fun outing. Bring along doggie treats and chew toys, and something familiar for sleeping with. Plan ahead if you want to stay at a hotel to see what its restrictions may be.