The holiday season is a time for travel and for pet owners that can be especially stressful. Finding kennels for cats and dogs is relatively easy, but how about one that specializes in birds? One that will recognize the importance of the seemingly small details that are so critical to good bird care? Thinking about it is enough to make you pull your hair out! Not to fret, while it can be a seemingly overwhelming burden ... there is hope. There are many options to choose from. There are several in-house pet sitting services that have avian knowledge. Also, boarding is available at a facility set up specifically for avians, at your vets, or you can even entrust your bird to a dependable friend while on holiday.
If you are transporting your bird to a boarding facility you be sure you can do so safely with a travel carrier appropriate for your bird.
When hiring a professional pet sitting service to come into your home and care for your animals, consider a few things.
- Is the business professional and licensed
- Is the business professional and bonded, and/or insured?
- What prior experience with avians does the caretaker have?
Getting recommendations from other bird owners is a good way to start the search for a professional sitter. You can also use online resources such as the website for the National Associate of Petsitters located at www.petsitters.org to find a petsitter in your area that meets your requirements. Many sitters also arrange a pre-meeting so they can come to your house and meet with you. That way you can review how they interact with your animals and is highly recommended. If you hire through an agency, make sure the agency is in good standing with your local and state agencies. Be sure you get a signed contract of services rendered, and that it explains clearly what liability the company/agency will take if unexpected accidents happen in your absence.
For whatever venue you choose to board your bird while you are away, be sure to ask the caretaker of the bird questions such as those listed below to ensure the health and happiness of your pets:
- What type of training do you have?
- Do you have previous experience caring for exotics & avians?
- How many other pet sitting obligations will the sitter have during the period they will have your pet(s) under their care?
- Can the employee provide references?
- What precautions will the sitter take to prevent the transmission of diseases?
- How many times a day will they come to your home, and how much time will they spent at each visit?
- Will they interact with the bird, clean the cage, etc.
- What is the cost of each service?
- Are they willing to cook food for your bird or will all supplies have to be prepared in advance?
You want to also touch base with the employee and find out how knowedgeable they are about your species of bird(s). If they have general knowledge, it may be a good idea to send home some literature about your birds. That way you ensure they will will know the differences in species and the particular care each species may require. A lesson on how to properly handle the bird would be important as well. Be sure to leave a large flyer in an easy to locate place, i.e. the fridge for instance, detailing the emergency contact numbers, your number, alternate number, and avian vet number in case of emergency.
Good luck in your search for the ideal pet sitter. While the search may be harder then expected, the reward of leaving with peace of mind that your pet is safe will make your vacation all the better. Happy travels!