Twin Cities Consumer Checkbook: Travel Care Options for Your Pet

If you can’t take your furry friend with you when you leave town, grooming options include hiring a pet sitter, asking a friend to sit the pets, and booking a boarding house.

If you go with the kennel option, by visiting Checkbook.org/StarTribune/Kennels, readers can access the unbiased quality and price ratings of Twin Cities Consumer Checkbook for local amenities for free through July 5.

To help start your pet grooming search, here are a few things to consider.

Take your pet with you

You will share the experience with them and avoid the expenses and hassles of a sitter or kennel. But your accommodations may not allow pets; Owning a pet can be inconvenient.

There are risks, too. Pets may become frightened or injured if they are treated harshly by airline baggage handlers. The animals 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. And you should never leave your pet alone in the car, even for a short time.

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.

Friends, family, neighbors and pet groomers

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 you may burden a friend with responsibility, and the pet may suffer from separation anxiety.

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 be stressed by staying with other animals. The incubator can get the mail, water plants, and make your house look busy.

But pet sitters also have their drawbacks. Whether the sitter is from a business service or a neighbor, you cannot be sure of the skill or diligence they bring to the job. Your pet will be alone for hours unless you provide overnight care.

If you are using a commercial 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.

kennels

Most kennels were bleak places. 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. Usually cats also get play areas. Health problems will be monitored and referred to the vet.

But based on the number of serious complaints the checkbook receives from consumers, choose a kennel carefully. Checkbook secret price shoppers also found significant price differences between local kennels. To ride a medium-sized dog for one week, prices ranged from $200 to $500 or more. This is only for basic boarding. The extras add up quickly: Taking a pill can cost an extra $3 a day; Extra attention or exercise can cost $10 a day.

And drop-offs and pick-up times for some kennels make it hard 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.

Tips for looking into kennels

  • 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 remain in their private areas. When left unattended, it is usually best to separate pets. In the Checkbook survey of pet owners, kennels with shared night stands and spaces—most are hospitals and clinics with limited space—usually rated much lower than other separate facilities.
  • 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?
  • Appropriate health protection check – hygiene, air temperature and proof of vaccinations.
  • Measure the size of the staff. Do they answer your questions? Do they show affection for animals?
  • Determine when the kennel is open for dropping off and picking up.
  • Ask about veterinary care arrangements if your pet becomes ill.
  • Can you check on your pet while you’re away? Many kennels now have webcams.

The Twin Cities Consumer Checkbook Magazine and Checkbook.org is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help consumers get the best service at the lowest prices. We are powered by consumers and do not take any money from the service providers we rate. You can access Checkbook ratings for local kennels through July 5 at Checkbook.org/StarTribune/Kennels.

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