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If you’re like me, I prefer NOT to travel during the holidays. I really don’t like traffic. Bit who does? Since you’re not me, and I’m not you, traveling during the holidays might be something you want to do. Visiting family and friends or just taking advantage of lower resort rates. At least until New Year eve kicks in. But what to do with your pets when you’re away for the holidays? Choosing the best option for your pets while you’re away for the holidays depends on several factors. Keep reading to learn more.

Type of Pet: Different animals have different needs and preferences. Most people have dogs or cats. However, many folks can have more exotic pets that need attention while they’re gone, like hamsters, snakes or birds.

Length of Trip: A short weekend getaway requires different arrangements than a longer vacation. Cats can pretty much take care of themselves for a couple of days, as long as they have food, water, a clean litter box, and a sun beam to lounge around in. Dogs are a little more needy. If 1 human year equates to 7 dog years, then 2 days equates to 2 weeks in a dog’s mind. That’s why they’re so excited to see us when we return from the grocery store after an hour. To them, we were gone all day!

Personality: Some pets are more adaptable than others and may be okay being left alone for longer periods. Snakes and lizards would be a good example of this. They don’t eat too often, so if they’re fed before you leave, they’re probably set for several days.

Here are some common options and things to consider depending on your budget and your circle of friends:


  • Pros: Ideal for social pets who enjoy interaction with other animals. Provides structured playtime and exercise. Staff trained to handle emergencies.
  • Cons: Can be stressful for some pets who prefer familiar surroundings. Potential exposure to illness from other animals. Relatively expensive.
  • Things to Consider: Research reputable kennels in advance. Visit the facility and meet the staff. Ensure they have appropriate accommodations and security measures. Ask about vaccination requirements and any additional fees.

Pet Sitting:

  • Pros: Allows your pet to stay in their familiar environment, reducing stress. Customized care according to your instructions. Can include dog walking, playtime, and other services. Some pet sitters even provide pooper scooper service. Of course, you can always hire that out separately if they don’t.
  • Cons: Requires finding a trustworthy and reliable sitter. May not be suitable for pets with separation anxiety.
  • Things to Consider: Choose a sitter with experience caring for your specific type of pet. Especially when it comes to exotic pets. Get references and check online reviews. Schedule a meet-and-greet beforehand to discuss your pet’s needs and expectations.

House Sitting

  • Pros: Offers the best of both worlds – your pet stays home and receives personalized care. Provides peace of mind knowing someone is also watching your house. To find a reputable house siiter, try House Sitters of America. 
  • Cons: Requires finding a responsible and trustworthy sitter comfortable staying in your home. This option is great for olde folks who don’t mind staying in someone else’s home.
  • Things to Consider: Similar to pet sitting, research thoroughly and choose a sitter with suitable experience and references. Provide clear instructions about house rules and security measures.

Asking a Friend or Family Member:

  • Pros: Most cost-effective option. Familiar face for your pet, reducing anxiety.
  • Cons: Requires relying on someone’s availability and commitment. May not be comfortable or experienced caring for specific animals.
  • Things to Consider: Discuss expectations and responsibilities beforehand. Ensure they understand your pet’s needs and are comfortable with the tasks involved. Provide detailed written instructions and emergency contact information.

Additional Tips:

  • As soon as you know for sure that you will be gone for the holidays, look for a solution to your pet sitting needs. Home pet sitters are usually booked for the holidays, so don’t wait for the last minute.
  • Leave detailed instructions: Include feeding schedules, medication instructions, emergency contact information, and specific care needs.
  • Provide your pet with comfort items: Leave familiar toys, bedding, and other belongings to create a sense of security.
  • Stay in touch: Request updates and photos from your pet sitter or whoever is caring for them.
  • Plan for emergencies: Have a backup plan in case of unexpected situations.

Remember, choosing the right option is about ensuring your pet’s well-being and peace of mind during your absence. Take your time, research thoroughly, and choose the solution that best fits your pet’s needs and your budget. And, don’t forget, Scoop Masters is always available to take care of your pet waste needs year round. Almost like we never take a vacation. Merry Christmas!

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