Tips for Pets Owners

As a pet owner who is exchanging home or office within the community, you have several options:

  • Take the pet with you. 
  • Board your pet with a professional facility or friend.
  • Swap pet care with your exchange partner.


Taking Your Pet with You

If you're doing a long-term exchange, you may consider bringing your pet(s) with you if your exchange partner is OK with that. 

Naturally, this will be easier if you are driving to your destination. Flying is feasible with a small dog or a cat but can be difficult for larger dogs. So be sure to carefully research your pet's experience, as well as travel regulations and restrictions, before you decide. You may need to get special documents from your veterinarian.  

As soon as you arrive at your home exchange, survey the home and every room before letting your pet loose. Look for anything you think your pet might knock over, eat or damage, and put it away, out of range. You want to make sure that your pet is safe AND that the home stays intact! 

If your pet will be going outside, don’t forget to check the grounds and perimeter thoroughly. Look for holes in the fencing or if there is anything that might be dangerous, such as shallow cables or wires. 

Whether your exchange partners are bringing their own pet to your home or not, do tidy up all of Fido's toys, food, blankets and trinkets before their arrival.  


Boarding Your Pet

If you decide to board your pet with a professional facility or friend, do a "test run" or two to make sure your pet is thriving in a different location. 

Give your pet care person or facility a list of your pet's favorite games or toys, feeding requirements, medication/supplements and instructions, and any other special considerations. Bring food, as required. Include contact info for your veterinarian and an emergency hospital. Of course, we never want to think about the worst case, but it's good to be prepared. 


Exchange Pet Care

This can be a lovely option for all involved—humans and animals alike—when you exchange homes with a fellow pet lover/owner. You'll feel good that Fido or Kitty will feel loved and be in good, responsible hands. 

PLUS you'll get to fill your own needs for soft snuggles and walks to the dog park—which can be a GREAT way to meet people in your new location. 

If your exchange partner will arrive at your home when you're not there (perhaps already winging your way to THEIR home), arrange to have a friend or family member who knows your pet be there to "introduce" them. You'll also want to have on hand enough food, treats, supplements, etc. to last the length of time you'll be gone. 

Be sure to leave (or email) a document with all pet care instructions. It's also a good idea to discuss your pets and instructions in advance by phone or Skype, and likewise, for any pets you will be caring for yourself in your exchange partner's home. 

Don't forget to authorize your exchange partner with your vet as a person who can care for your pet in an emergency. Discuss how you would like your caretaker to respond to such an incident. Make arrangements with your vet for payment should a visit be needed. 

Finally, be a thoughtful pet caretaker. Send photos from time to time of your exchange partner's pet playing around and feeling good. Write email updates about Fido and Kitty to put the other person's mind (and heart) at ease. We get quite attached to our animals, so a little reassurance goes a long way.