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Why You Should Think Ahead When Making Plans for Traveling Without Your Dogs

By DaphneRobertHamilton. | Traveling with Dogs

Is it just me that thinks beyond where my dogs will be when I travel? Do you decide to hire a petsitter or a boarding facility? 

There are pros and cons to each and it depends a lot of what will be best for your pet. When my dogs were young, they were sent to Four Paws Doggy Daycare in San Martin, CA so that they had time away from the house and me and to socialize with other dogs and people. I then did some ‘test’ nights at Downtown Dogs in San Jose, CA before we actually went on a trip to ease them into a new facility. The nice thing about Downtown Dogs at the time, was that I was able to login into their webcam system and see my dogs in their rooms to check on them. I loved that feature. We even flown my parents down from Canada to petsit/housesit while we were going on an extended vacation. One thing that I know about my boy is that he’s a Momma’s Boy and he is very sensitive to the smell of ‘used’ territory. He is just down right miserable at boarding facilities. A better option for them as they are now seniors and both have serious health problems, is to hire a trusted petsitter. She has been petsitting for years and has a background as an Emergency Vet Tech. She completely gives me peace of mind when we have to leave them behind. 

What I usually do is prepare a CARE GUIDE which includes details on feeding, medications, behaviors on cue, crazy behaviors they do and what behaviors to keep an eye out for such as resource guarding. It also includes a general outline of their daily routines, a list of emergency contacts, our traveling contact information, our veterinarian, our emergency vet hospital and our travel itinerary.

Some dogs clue off of your behavior and novel stimuli like the sudden appearance of suitcases. If you have a dog that is on the ‘separation anxiety’ continuum, you might want to prepare your dog well in advance of a trip. 

But let’s dig deeper than their immediate care and comfort. What if something happens to you and/or both of you (husband/wife) when you travel?

There might be a situation where one or both of you might get a severe illness or even pass away, when traveling. It might be a little dark to think about such things, however, I argue that I’d rather have a plan in place prior to travel so that I know, no matter what, my dogs will be taken care of. 

First, we have a living trust and our dogs are in it. If in a tragic event we pass, there is a plan in place to whom should retrieve them, where they should go, whom should be taking care of them and financial assistance to help with their care/needs. 

Then weeks before our travel date, I reach out to a relative that will be in charge of our living trust in case something happens and let them know who our attorney is so that they can access it. We give them the petsitter’s contact information, the dates of travel, local friends that know and can retrieve the dogs. I then send out an email to our local friends that have agreed to be involved in case such an event happens. I supply them with my petsitter’s name and contact info and our travel itinerary. 

To add to all that, now that they both have serious health issues, I have to prepare in case of a sudden turn for the worst in their health and/or death while we are away. I got an Agent Authorization Form from my veterinarian where we can determine what and how much they can do immediately and what our wishes are if they pass away. I will be going over this with our petsitter before we leave.

The bottom line is that I want to make sure that they are well taken care of while we are away and that I know I did everything possible for their care in case we or they pass away during the travel period.

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Daphne Robert-HamiltonDaphne Robert-Hamilton, CPDT-KA

Daphne Robert-Hamilton is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer- Knowledge Assessed by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She was a Certified Equestrian Coach by the Canadian Equestrian Federation before moving into the dog training world. She competed extensively with her two Doberman Pinschers from 1997-2002 and achieved being a finalist in the Top 20 Obedience in 2000 and 2002 with the Doberman Pinscher Club of America. In 2002 Daphne graduated from the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers, which is now defunked. She went on to intern at the SFSPCA Academy and graduated with honors in dog aggression. Daphne became the go-to trainer in the SF Bay Area for aggression cases. Daphne has done webinars, been interviewed in several dog magazines and has written a two part article on "sibling rivalry" for The Chronicle of The Dog. Daphne was the Head Trainer for Washington state for Pets for Vets for about two years. She has fostered many dogs helping them find loving forever homes. Daphne is a member of The Pet Professional Guild. Daphne has been married for 24yrs and currently lives with her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in Washington State. Facebook: | Youtube: | Yelp: | Website is under construction - k9partnership



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