If you can’t take your furry friends with you when you leave town, grooming options include hiring a pet sitter, asking a friend to let your Rex down for a few days, or booking a kennel stay.
By visiting Checkbook.org/Inquirer/Kennels, Inquirer readers can access nonprofit Delaware Valley consumer checkbooks and local kennel price assessments for free through July 5 to help start their pet grooming search. Here are a few options to consider.
Traveling with your pet has many advantages. You’ll share the experience with them, know that they’ll receive loving care, spare them (and yourself) the stress of a breakup, and avoid the expenses and hassles of a sitter or kennel.
But taking your pet may not be possible. You may be on your way to work; Your digs may not allow pets; And having a pet can be quite inconvenient. What do you do with Mr. Sprinkles when you go out to dinner or to a museum or show, let alone a business meeting?
There are risks, too. Pets may become frightened or injured if they are treated harshly by airline baggage handlers. Some were left for hours in airline handling areas or shipped to the wrong destinations. Dogs died from heat stroke in the plane’s luggage compartments.
If your pet is not used to traveling by car, he may become anxious. Most importantly, your pet can wander, become disoriented and be lost forever. Finally, you cannot leave your pet alone in the car, even for a brief period.
If you’d like to take a dog with you, check out the list of hotels and motels that accommodate youngsters from the Travel With Your Pet AAA website.
Another option is to leave your pet with a friend or pet sitter. Your pet will not be alone overnight, and you will avoid some inconvenience and expense. But this arrangement may burden a friend with responsibility, and the pet may experience the stress of being separated from you and its usual environment.
Having a pet sitter come into your home has great advantages. Your pet stays in familiar surroundings and continues its usual routine. Your pet will not have the stress of being with other animals. In addition, a sitter can provide services such as receiving mail, watering plants, and making your home seem occupied.
But pet sitters also have their drawbacks. Whether the breeders are from a commercial pet grooming service or a neighbor, you cannot be sure of the skill, knowledge, or diligence they bring to the job. Your pet will be alone for hours unless you provide overnight care. If you use a commercial pet grooming service, you are giving a stranger access to your home. And the cost of care can be high.
Most of what the checkbook hears from pet sitting customers is positive, but there are enough negatives to be wary of.
Most kennels were bleak places. Dogs are usually housed in seclusion; Cats spend most of their days in cages. Kennels have focused on keeping critters safe by keeping them separate.
no more; Most kennels are now run as resorts. It has been decorated and designed to be a cheerful and fun getaway. During the day, dogs huddle together in one large common area or are categorized into smaller groups, depending on their size or arrangement. Usually cats also get play areas. Do you have a pet that doesn’t get along well with others or stays away from home anxious? Some facilities will still accommodate that one in seclusion, but many will suggest finding another spot for your wicked or capricious spot.
The benefit of booking a kennel accommodation is that, assuming everything goes well, your pet will be taken care of and never left alone, and you won’t have to worry about last minute mistakes. Serious health problems will be monitored and referred to a vet. And you don’t have to impose on anyone.
But using a kennel can be expensive and inconvenient. In addition to potentially exposing your pet to illness, staying in a kennel may cause your pet’s separation anxiety. Many kennels largely avoid these issues by employing a caring and caring staff and maintaining comfortable, clean and stress-free facilities. But based on the staggering number of serious complaints the checkbook receives from consumers, care must be taken when choosing a kennel.
Checkbook secret price shoppers also found significant price differences between local kennels. For a week-long average-sized dog, for example, prices range from $200 to over $500. This is only for basic boarding. In some kennels, extras can add up quickly: a pill can cost an extra $3 a day; Arranging for more attention or exercise can cost $10 or more per day.
Also, the very limited drop off and pick-up times for some kennels make it difficult to avoid bombing for an extra day. They can all add up to a significant portion of your vacation budget. Fortunately, some of the higher-rated kennels charge below average prices.
Be wary of kennels that will not allow you to inspect their facilities without warning during normal business hours.
Where will your dog stay? During the day or at set hours, pets usually hang out in the common play areas. At night, the animals are locked in their rooms, tracks, or cages. Pets should have separate areas when left on their own. In the Checkbook survey of pet owners, kennels with shared nightstands and spaces—mostly hospitals and clinics with limited property rooms—usually rated much lower than facilities with separate rooms.
What if your dog doesn’t get along with others? Some facilities charge an additional fee if your dog cannot participate in group play.
If you’re going to board a cat, does the facility have a separate space for it? Kennels may shock a cat that is unaccustomed to constant barking.
Inspect proper sanitary protection. Note if the facility is clean, indoor spaces are kept at a reasonable temperature, all pets have evidence of appropriate vaccinations, and sick animals are isolated.
Measure the size of the staff. Do they answer your questions? Do they show affection for animals? Are they available around the clock?
Determine when the kennel is open for dropping off and picking up.
Ask about veterinary care arrangements if your pet becomes ill. If your pet is on medication regularly, will the kennel offer injections or pills?
Can you check on your pet while you’re away? Many kennels now have webcams that allow customers to monitor their pets.
Delaware Valley Consumer Checkbook Journal Checkbook.org It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help consumers obtain the best service at the lowest prices. It is backed by consumers and does not take any money from service providers that have been rated.