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Tag Archives: vacation with pets

Woof Wednesday: Free Book & What About Pet Vacations?

pup with ball

Leave a special toy or something that smells like you when he's left behind!

Cats and dogs deal with our absences in different ways. Of course they’re very different creatures with different languages, and want different things out of life. In fact, I wrote a book about this–and ComPETability has just gone FREE for 5 days only on Kindle. I hope you’ll share the link with other folks who love both cats and dogs.

I know we’ve just come off of the holidays. Many of y’all got a new puppy for Christmas, though, and aren’t thinking about the next vacation. What will you do with the new little one? It’s always best to plan ahead.

Vacations rate right up there with winning the lottery. Okay, maybe not quite that high, but “time off” from the daily rush makes me feel like a seven year old at Christmas. For pets, though, an owner’s vacation can be anything but fun.

You have several choices: stay home with Sheba and Rex; take the fur-kids along for the ride; find a pet motel willing to board your critter cotillion; or, engage the services of a pet sitter.  Each option has benefits and drawbacks, and the best choice depends mostly on your individual pets—and your holiday destination.

Boarding offers good options particularly for well-adjusted canines. You’ll find a number of facilities in our area listed in the yellow pages. A pet sitter comes to your house at predetermined times.

De-Tails Needed

Provide details about the dog’s routine and individual foibles. For instance, Rex may NEED to have a Frisbee session every day at 4 pm, while Sheba MUST have her Kitty Kaviar treat before she’ll eat. Other services may also be available, such as watering plants, picking up the newspaper, or turning lights on and off while you’re gone.

Be sure the pet sitter has the phone numbers to contact you during your trip. Leave emergency information and authorization for veterinary care, if the need should arise.

Finding the Pros

There are two professional “pet sitter” organizations. Other pet sitter professionals may also be available, if you ask around. Check with pet owning friends and your veterinarian or groomer for suggestions. Give one or more of these folks a call to match your particular pet needs. You’ll find more details about vacationing with–or without–your dog in this article. Then, enjoy your vacation in peace!

Do you take your dogs with you on vacation? Or do you engage the services of a pet sitter? Magical-dawg stays with his breeder (oh joy!) and gets to play with the cousins and aunts. What are some tips that help your dog when you must leave him/her behind? Does the dog act upset and snub you when you return, or is the reunion a par-teeeee?! Please share!

#AskAmy Sweet Tweets

Folks who “follow” me on Twitter @amyshojai and @About_Puppies are the most awesome Sweet Tweets around–they love #cats and #dogs and #pets, many #amwriting.  Just follow and include the #AskAmy in your tweets if’n you’re interested in pithy links to articles, books, blogs, experts, fictioning and sparkle-icity!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

Furry Friday: Labor Day Travel & Pets

7-16 seren & suitcase 2

Seren helps me pack--but prefers to stay home.

Welcome (almost) to Labor Day Weekend Travel, woo-woo! What do you have planned? Will you stay at home and catch up on (ew!) work? Or take a trip to celebrate the end of summer? Maybe you’ll shuffle across the state to spend time with family. Or perhaps it’s the perfect time to make that move to a new apartment or job.

What about the fur-kids? Will you take them with you for the trip to Grandma’s cookout? Or do you plan to take them along for that last summer fling to go to the lake? Do the cats enjoy rides in the cat carrier? Are the dogs eager to hop into the car? What about plane travel? Oooooh, so many questions!


My cat Seren isn’t a fan of carriers or cars. I can only imagine what all the hurled cat-curses would mean should she be asked to take a plane trip. I really cannot recommend taking any pet on board a plane as “baggage” these days. The scary stories abound of pets lost or injured at airlines when carriers are damaged or the cat or dog escapes. The most recent one chronicles Jack the cat lost at JFK baggage center just as the airport shut down for the hurricane last weekend. The owner has hired a pet-tracking canine to find her missing cat. But this wouldn’t have happened–or the risk would have been less–had she been allowed to take the cat in the cabin as carry-on luggage. Here’s an article with details to consider and tips for traveling with your cats by plane.


Luca rides in style! (Copr. KTJacobs via Flickr)


What about car travel? My first dog threw fits, cried, and even got sick on the drive home from the breeder. And that experience probably colored his entire future expectation of car rides. The first ride in the car takes him away from the only family he’s ever known. The next several car rides end up at the veterinarian for needle pokes for puppy vaccinations and rude cold thermometers inserted in uncomfortable places.

Cats are no different and actually may be worse because cats HATE CHANGE. Most dogs enjoy a bit of adventure so you can play up the fun aspect. How did you get your pets used to riding in cars? Here are some puppy car riding tips and they’ll work for adult dogs, too. The kitty version is here, including some crate training help.


I grew up in Northern Indiana, our house was on the river and I spent countless summer days in, on, and around the river and lakes including those in Michigan. In my new home state, North Texas boasts Lake Texoma–a man-made lake/reservoir that attracts swimmers, boaters, skiers, family vacationers–and their pets. Of course we want to ensure everyone has fun around (or in) the water but this summer a new warning made the rounds. Just in time for Labor Day, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warned people to HAVE NO SKIN CONTACT with the water in Lake Texoma. No swimming allowed. They also warned of water spray risk if inhaled while boating. And drinking the water (can you say PETS?) also poses a risk. That’s because the drought lowered water levels while the heat encouraged the growth and bloom of blue-green algae, which releases toxins into the water.

This particular kind of blue-green algae is called cylindrospermopsis and blooms beneath the surface of the water–you won’t see mats, scum or foam associated with other blooms. Boaters and swimmers won’t know they’re in the middle of the stuff. Dogs won’t care. And the CDC warns that skin contact can cause skin irritation, inhaling water droplets can cause runny eyes and nose, sore throat, asthma-like symptoms or allergic reactions; and swallowing it can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and damage the liver, kidney and neurological systems. So check water recreation areas in your neck of the woods and keep yourself–and your pets–safe!

magic water 10

What are you doing this weekend with your pets? Magic will be playing hose-tag, while Seren catches up on some lap-sitting time. Oh and fair warning…I’m taking a (rare) day off on Monday to work on my thriller WIP so check back on Tuesday for the next blog. Have a fun and SAFE weekend!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!