So, you’re planning a trip and you’re not sure whether or not you should bring your pet with you. You love your fuzzy friend, but you’re a bit overwhelmed by what all is involved in driving or flying your pet to your destination. Should you take Mittens with you or leave him at home? If you’re going on a short trip to a faraway place, it’s probably best to leave your pet at home. And if you’re taking a more long-term trip, or even a moving to a new place permanently, you’ll likely want to take your pet with you. But what about a trip that falls somewhere in the middle? We’ve listed some of the pros and cons of each option below to help you decide what to do with your pet when you travel.
Bring Your Pet With You
According to a recent PetRelocation Pet Travel Survey, more than half of surveyed pet owners plan to travel with their pets this summer. People are increasingly taking their pets with them when they travel, and companies (hotels, airlines, etc.) are making it increasingly easier to do so. Traveling with a pet often involves making special travel arrangements, having equipment (such as a travel crate), and adhering to various regulations (such as those enforced by airlines, hotels, or national pet importation laws).
- Don’t have to worry about your pet being taken care of properly if he never leaves your side
- For pets with separation anxiety, staying with their owner may prevent stress and/or destructive behaviors
- Don’t have to worry about making boarding arrangements or roping a relative into watching your pet (apparently a common concern of traveling pet owners)
- For young pets, exposure to various people and places is good socialization training, which contributes to better future behavior
- The companionship of your pet, of course!
- Can be quite expensive, especially if traveling by plane
- Can be stressful for pets with travel-induced anxiety
- Requires a lot of planning well in advance of the trip, especially if crossing borders is involved
- Requires that your pet be crate-trained in order to travel safely and comfortably
- Not all pets are capable of travel, especially very old, young, or sick pets
Leave Your Pet at Home
While traveling with pets is on the rise, many pet owners still find traveling with their pets to be too stressful and complicated, and opt to leave their pets at home. There are multiple options for leaving your pet at home, including: leaving him with a friend or relative, hiring a pet sitter (independently or through a pet sitter service), and boarding him (either at a pet boarding facility or the home of a qualified host). There are plenty of services out there for finding pet sitters or boarders, such as Rover and DogVacay. Check out tips for boarding your pet here.
- Can significantly cut down on travel expenses, especially for shorter trips
- Less planning in advance (there’s still planning required if you’re going to leave your pet in a boarding facility, but less than if you take your pet with you)
- More comfortable for your pet to stay in one place, rather than getting in and out of a series of cars, planes, and hotels. Especially comfortable if your pet is staying at home with a sitter.
- Pet is in a more controlled, stable environment. Especially beneficial for very old, young, or sick pets who cannot easily travel.
- Pets (or humans!) with separation anxiety might find being apart very stressful
- Long-term boarding can become very expensive, as opposed to the one-time cost of moving the pet
- If boarding your pet somewhere other than home with anyone other than familiar faces, your pet will need to be properly socialized with other pets and people in advance in order to prevent anxiety or aggression
- Lack of pet companionship, which can be especially rough on longer trips or permanent moves
What do you think? When do you travel with your pet and when do you leave him at home? Does your pet prefer one option over the other? Let us know in the comments below.