06-28-2017  3:30 pm      •     

Let’s talk travel! It’s been 12 hours since I returned from Cuba. I spent five nights and six days visiting the beautiful cities of Havana, Trinidad and Veradero.  The people were welcoming and treated us like family. I was surprised by Cuba’s diversity and many shades of melanin. We all looked alike until we began speaking our respective languages. It is truly an amazing place that I highly recommend visiting.

Traveling with your pet can be fun, but there are times when you are itching to beat the heat at a human-only resort or unable to bring your pet. With so many options – including drop-in pet-sitters, dog walkers and extended-stay boarding -- there is no shortage of people to watch your little fur balls.

Preparing not only for your trip but also your pet’s change of routine will be more enjoyable and lead to less hiccups on your road or flight to bliss.

Start early booking a boarding visit for your pet. Reservations fill quickly, especially during summer and major holidays. If you are hiring a sitter, book and confirm your dates three to four weeks in advance. This will give you time to read reviews of potential sitters and give them the chance to visit your animal and become acclimated. No one wants to meet a pet for the first time on the day they are to begin sitting without the owner present. It will be stressful to the pet and also the sitter.

Keep it simple. Have everything organized and labeled before you leave. Label and place food in a visible area so no one has to search for your pet’s food. Write out the quantity your pet should receive and leave the measuring device near or in the food bin so it is easily accessible. Leave medication on a kitchen counter in plain view with a label or sheet of paper nearby explaining how, when and what amount of pills, drops or ointment to give. I always physically show the caregivers how I apply the medication and allow them to try so that I can answer any questions they have while I’m present. Never trust them to figure it out on their own; it is far better to be overprepared than underprepared.

Prepare for the worst. Nine out of 10 times your pet will be fine while you are away, but you need to make sure your caregiver is ready for emergencies. Leave your contact information, emergency contact information (such as friends or neighbors) and contact information for a veterinary clinic or hospital, as well as a mini-first aid kit (including tweezers, triple antibiotic ointment, gauze, antiseptic wipes, etc.) nearby. Agree and write out a monetary amount you are willing to spend on your pet if they become ill. It will save you time, money, surprises and a headache when you return if this is spelled out before the trip.

With the summer upon us, I know there are many excursions that await. Wishing you and your pet a wonderful vacation season. Happy travels!

Send your pet questions to drjasmine@theskanner.com.

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