I’m going to be travelling a bit this month and was a bit worried about what to do with my pug, Ralph while away- and of course, how much it would cost for good care. What’s a frugal pet lover to do?
Keeping Your Pet At Home:
Kenneling/Doggie day care (with or without overnight stays) can cost upward of $40 a day- ($280 a week).
Home visits to walk/feed your pet cost $15-$20 per visit or more ($180 for a week).
Budgets are important, but also take into consideration the demeanor of your pet if possible! If your pet is uncomfortable in new places or with crowds, while home visits can be pricey (and you have to make sure you trust others with your key) this might be your best bet instead of kenneling.
Of course- if you have a friend or neighbor who will watch your animal in exchange for a smaller amount of compensation or a decent favor- that is your best option to save money. Your pet might miss you, but still might be more comfortable with a familiar face or staying at home with a caregiver.
Tip: If you don’t know anyone that can watch your pets, try pet care swapping with a fellow dog lover by making connections on Meetup.com or asking your vet or groomer for leads.
Taking Pets With You:
Besides worrying about the stress of travel (for both you and your fuzzy companion) traveling with pets is usually expensive and sometimes impossible! Most buses and trains don’t allow animals at all unless they’re trained assistance animals, and many planes don’t allow animals in the cabin of the plane.
When you book your flight, you typically need to decide if your pet will be accompanying you when you book your reservations. Many pet advocates including the Humane Society advise against traveling with your pet unless absolutely necessary, especially if animals are kept in the cargo hold. Extreme temperatures, lack of fresh air, and rough handling could cause harm or kill your animal, and the airline may not be held liable!
By far- the best rate I’ve found is through Southwest Airlines. If your pet is small enough to fit in a standard carrier which is sized for airline travel, pets can hang out under your seat as a carry-on. Pet rates are $75 each way (plus the cost of a carrier if you don’t have one), and if your pet is small enough and a trip is feasible (meaning, it’s not a long flight and your pet won’t be overly stressed by travel) this might be an option. More information is available here.
Additionally, travelling with pets also depends on where you’re staying and your mode of transportation. Plan ahead to ensure your accommodations allow pets and that you aren’t being overcharged if other hotels or car rental services might be more pet-friendly and work with you for competitive rates.
Cost is important when it comes to caring for a pet (as a girl on a budget, I know!) but it’s more important to consider what’s best for your pet in terms of their health and demeanor when making your vacation plans. If your pet is easily distressed by unfamiliar situations, panics when crated, if you’re travelling during extreme temperatures, or if your vacation means the pet would be largely ignored- do not take them with you (yes, even if it’s cheaper overall)!
Do you have any tips? What are your best tips to save money on pet care when you travel?