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jld
3rd November 2009, 02:46 PM
We are leaving for Disney World on Sunday with my daughter and her family,and I know I should be so excited. However, it means I have to leave Dixie for a week. This is the problem...she has never been left that long and the two times we have left her it was only for a couple of days and, she stayed with my daughter. The first time she stayed with my daughter she got so stressed they had to take her to the emergency room (she was throwing up and had a little blood in her stools). The second time was better. This time I am leaving her at home and having a pet sitter come 3 times a day. She will also be with my other dog. I am so hoping that staying in her own home with her best friend will be better. But, she is just so tied to me (will not leave my side). She is not a very good eater anyway, so I am wondering will she eat? Has anyone else gone through this? I need reassurance that she will be just fine. This anxiety is really putting a damper on my excitement for a wonderful trip.

Karlin
3rd November 2009, 03:03 PM
I know this will not help your stress levels, but I would never leave dogs home alone for a pet sitter to look in on them -- this is a recipe for disaster unless you have some purpose built, safe, hygienic area they can stay (in which case a kennels is a better option still and offers more opportunities for stimulation and to be safely watched and securely kept).

The upset before was more likely just to have been a bug going around at the time -- blood in the stools would be very unlikely in such a short space of time based on simply staying with your daughter a couple of days.

I'd either get someone who can stay in the house, place her again with your daughter, find a good home boarding arrangement, or opt for kennels.

I have taken in and fostered out over 150 cavaliers and know many people with kennels and who home board and in all that time have only hear of a single dog that truly had significant problems being boarded -- and these ended within 2 days.

It would be good on your return to start to work to be able to leave her for stretches of time though. If you can leave her for a day hen you are out however, then I am 100% sure she is not having any significant problems when you go away.

I do not think pet sitters are a safe option for dogs though under any circumstances (cats are different). Dogs can get into poisons, chew wires, open cupboards, knock down breakables, chew furniture, defecate around the house under stress -- not in a million years would I opt for a drop in pet sitter with dogs. I would think this would be far more stressful than a kennel.

I'm sorry for offering that perspective but you asked for opinions and I feel really strongly about this issue and I doubt you will find a single dog trainer or behaviourist who would ever recommend drop in pet sitters for dogs.

gocamping
3rd November 2009, 03:04 PM
Oh, Disney is such a wonderful trip! I am so sorry you are feeling stressed. I think that keeping her at home with her other dog friend is a great idea. If she likes the pet sitter and they play with her, she could have lots of fun! You didn't mention if the pet sitter will be staying in the house. If so, that is wonderful. If not, I would make sure she is crated and the sitter visits often.

I will be keeping my paws crossed that everyone enjoys

Karlin
3rd November 2009, 03:21 PM
Oh my word, please, people absolutely should not EVER EVER EVER leave dogs in crates while they go on holidays, and rely on pet sitters to let them out at regular intervals!! This qualifies as cruelty to animals! There would be a public outcry if a zoo left an animal the size of a dog in small crate sized box all day and gave it only three short breaks. :(. A crate is NOT a suitable daily environment for a dog; it is a short term aid. Dogs are not snakes or goldfish that can be left to themselves in a container, they are highly social animals that need exercise and stimulation and room to move about.

PLEASE be kinder to a dog than that, and place in a reliable kennel where they will have more than a small box to stand and sleep in all day long with a couple of short breaks.

In addition -- if an animal is ill, a drop in sitter is highly unlikely to notice this on short visits.

Why would anyone place a loved pet at this kind of risk?

jacies
3rd November 2009, 03:37 PM
I agree with Karlin, a pet sitter coming in a few times during the day is just not good enough, you would have no check on whether they came once, twice or not at all if they had a problem. The best bet would be to find someone who will come and stay in your house or else who will look after them in their house. Failing that a kennels where you know they will be safe. It is a bit late but this is probably not a busy time of the year for finding something.
I sometimes take dogs in my house and although they might not eat much for the first day or two they soon settle down and really like the company of other dogs plus if there is any health problem I know who their vets are and can take them there if necessary. Perhaps if you ask at your vet or pet shop they will have information on somebody who could help you like this in your area.

chloe92us
3rd November 2009, 04:35 PM
I have to agree with the unreliability of a "drop-in" pet sitter. Even if it is someone you know REALLY WELL, they will even "skip" a break here and there because the timing is inconvenient for them.

My neighbors went on vacation for a week and left their dog in the house and the brother was to come 3x a day to let him out. Well, come to find out he was only coming twice! Once around 8am, and the 2nd time around 6pm!!!! I asked him how many times he was coming, and he told me twice. I suggested George stay at our house, and that's what we did. I wish my neighbors would have asked from the start.

So, moral of the story is this was my neighbor's brother and he still couldn't be bothered to come 3x a day!

chloe92us
3rd November 2009, 04:38 PM
JLD- I was also going to ask, are you a member of any local Cavalier clubs? Even if you're not, contact the rescue division and ask if the coordinator could put out an email to the foster families to see if anyone would take 2 dogs for a week. They're used to having extra Cavaliers around anyway.

I'm pet sitting for a dog we adopted out in December for a week, and I would be happy if someone called me to watch their dog(s) while they are on vacation.

diddy
3rd November 2009, 05:21 PM
Finding somewhere through Rescue is a good idea. Or else google in pet sitters. Your vet should know of reliable kennels within a reasonable distance. And start de-stressing right now - In my experience no cat or dog was ever half as anxious or stressed as its owner was convinced that it would be!! Boarding kennels usually give Stressy Owners pets extra attention especially to ensure the pet feels safe whilst apart from its family..

Justine
3rd November 2009, 05:41 PM
My friend went away and arranged for a pet sitter,the woman never turned up,lucky the dogs and cats live outside and it was only for 2 nites.Has she public liability ins.What if she leaves doors open or loses the keys.

jld
3rd November 2009, 07:38 PM
Wow, thanks for all the responses. I will certainly check out my options. I want to do what is best for my doggies and for my stress level. I am sure they will be fine. It is just the 1st time I have left Dixie that long. Our pug has been left numerous times with our schnauzer (when she was alive) and did just fine. But, you all know how we tend to baby our little cavaliers....thanks for your input. Judy

Pat
3rd November 2009, 07:45 PM
Well, I have a totally different perspective as I AM a (part time) in-home pet sitter and my friend/neighbor/associate has been a full time professional pet sitter (credentialed) for 25 plus years.

On the few occasions where I've had to be away overnight, I always have in-home pet sitters come in as I would never put my dogs in a commercial kennel, particularly the older and special needs dogs, not to mention my cat (who would be completely stressed to be away from home). It is much less stressful for animals to be in their own homes with their companions - esp. during holiday and peak vacation times when the commercial kennels are extremely busy and tend to "cut corners" on care given, including time outside of their cages (pretty darn close to crates in many facilities). I would only trust my pet sitters (who are well known to me) to give meds, eye drops, special diets, etc., and to give me ACCURATE reports. I am in daily contact with my pet sitters. I frankly don't trust commercial kennels and I don't care to have my pets exposed to other pets. I know two families who had dogs killed by other dogs at a commercial kennel (one that had an excellent reputation) and then there are the more routine problems of fleas, stress diarrhea, etc. And then we have the annual vaccination rule problems.

I am currently taking care of an 18 year old and 16 year old cat. I give subq fluids twice daily to the 16 year old as she is in kidney failure, and I must make sure that she is eating well so that I can adjust her fluids/meds if necessary. (Do you think she would eat well at a commercial boarding facility?) I am in at least daily contact (sometimes several times a day) with the owners of the cat - either email or cell phone - to give a report. I was also able to help these owners with a number of things related to the care of the cat in kidney failure - such as saving them a ton of money by informing them that they can buy fluid and linesets at Walmart pharmacy for LESS THAN 1/10th of what they were paying for the supplies purchased from their vet, etc. Believe me, these people love me and would never leave their cats at a commercial kennel. I have many clients that I've had for years who are very loyal.

Many years ago, I cared for a 2 year old Cavalier while the owners were on vacation for a week. I observed certain behavior during my visits that led me to meet with the owners upon their return, where I explained my concerns and recommended that they see a board certified internist. Turned out that the dog had a rare lung parasite (she subsequently died from this). I guarantee you that a commercial kennel would never have made this observation because the signs were subtle - heck, the owners hadn't even picked up the cues. Many boarding kennel workers are low paid, young people who are not particularly sophisticated about canine/feline health nor are they particularly observant. On another occasion, a client left home in the afternoon and when I arrived for my first early evening appt., I recognized that her dog was in acute congestive heart failure, and I rushed him to the ER and called her on my way. The owner had NOT recognized the symptoms before she left town! I called my backup sitter to finish my visits that evening while I stayed at the ER with the dog. (He later died in my arms at the ER.) The owner was comforted that he died with someone who cared about him rather than with strangers. I've had dogs with stress diarrhea that I've treated with appropriate meds and cooked bland diets for them, I've contacted vets, I've shampooed carpet - you name it, I've done it.

My clients are not crated but confined as they normally would be if the owner was at work, etc. Visits are often three or four times per day - and I time visits by dividing the number into 24 hours - even if it means that I don't get to sleep 8 hours during a holiday weekend. I have a written schedule and check off visits.

PROFESSIONAL pet sitters are extremely reliable (we have a back up system in the event of an emergency) and would never "skip" a visit. We are highly organized, have a schedule, and we are bonded and insured. (Many that I know are "young" retired professionals.) We are more reliable than someone's brother or neighbor. We are also well paid (which probably adds to our reliability versus a friend or relative). This is a profession, and we take our reputation seriously. Most of our new clients come from referrals from current clients. Many of us are much more knowledgeable about health care and behavior for dogs and cats (and birds) than are workers at commercial boarding kennels or, for that matter, than our clients.

The key is to find a reputable professional, check references, have a thorough meeting where expectations are outlined, etc., and follow up routinely with your sitter.

Sorry this is so long, but this really struck a nerve about something that is important to me both as a consumer and a provider. (I have an in home pet sitter visit my home every day as I work full time. The quality of my dogs' life is greatly enhanced by this.)

Karlin - all of those things that you described - poison, wires, chewing, breaking things - all of that can happen while a person is at work or away shopping for three or four hours or even asleep at night. I presume that people have enough sense to have their pets in areas that are safe whether they are out of town or not.

Pat

chloe92us
3rd November 2009, 08:15 PM
Pat, I would say you go above and beyond! I wish you lived closer! I honestly never thought about professional pet sitters....I've never used one. I was thinking more about the neighbor or family member that you ask to come over.

My advice, whether you're looking to hire a pet sitter (or a kennel) is to check references, and have someone else (family or a friend) pop over once or twice just to make sure things look like they're going smoothly and the dogs are being cared for.

jld
3rd November 2009, 08:48 PM
Pat, I wish you lived closer too. When I mentioned a pet-sitter in my original post, I was talking about a professional, bonded pet sitter who was recommended to me and who I have used before and was very pleased with. My concern was that I had never left my cavalier for a week and with a pet-sitter. I have left my other 2 dogs with an in-home pet-sitter many times over the past. Sometimes the pet-sitter stayed in the house and sometimes just dropped in during the day and at night. I have only used the same 2 women. One of them literally writes me a book everyday about every little thing they did, what they ate, what they played, etc. The pet-sitter also turns on my lights at night and brings in my mail. They email me daily, or I have their cell phone number and can call. My pet-sitter also works part time in the no-kill shelter here in our town and is very knowledgeable about all kinds of dogs. I do understand other posters concerns, and I agree they are valid. But, I do agree with you too. The right pet-sitter can be a wonderful alternative. I think you just have to be very sure either way which is the best for your dogs. Thanks again for all your posts. Judy