Pets

Get away. No need to be a prisoner to your special-needs pet.

Maria Prada, 14, holds a cat for adoption during the grand opening of the Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center in Doral on Monday, June 13, 2016.
Maria Prada, 14, holds a cat for adoption during the grand opening of the Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center in Doral on Monday, June 13, 2016.

Q: Since our cat Hugh was diagnosed with diabetes we haven’t been out of town. My wife refuses! She thinks no one will care for him like we do. What do others do when their pets need special care and they really need to travel?

A: Like your wife, plenty of pet owners will outright refuse to leave their homes if their pets have special needs. Staying home, however, is seldom necessary (or advisable, in the long run).

Consider the following solutions to this admittedly stressful problem:

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Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice at Sunset Animal Clinic in South Miami.

  • Ask your veterinarian. Even if your vet doesn’t offer boarding, many will make an exception for a chronically ill or particularly needy pet. But that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily best to keep your pet at the vet’s, even if her special need is a health concern like diabetes. While, strictly speaking, it might be the safest, it may not always be the most comfortable for your pet. Staying at home, or in the company of a dedicated sitter, may be more enjoyable.

Even if your vet can’t accommodate you, they’ll inevitably have some suggestions like these:

  • High-end professional boarding facilities. These are typically considered second-best if what you want is full-time care. Many will even allow you to log in online and check in on your own pets ‘round-the-clock. But they’re not all created equal. Make sure you do your homework.

  • Interview “small batch” pet sitters. Some highly experienced sitters will take on a small group of in their homes. It’s a great setup for needy pets given that they get the benefit of a quiet home environment. “Small batch” places can typically handle most at-home medical treatments, are accustomed to behaviorally challenging pets, and know just what to look for when a sickly patient is in decline. (As with a boarding facility, be sure to research them … and always ask for references.)

  • In-home pet sitters. Want to minimize stress as much as humanly possible? Consider hiring someone responsible and well-recommended (bonded and insured is preferable) to come enjoy a “stay-cation” at your home. Just be sure they know how to handle your situation. Veterinary assistants are considered desirable sitters for special needs pets.

Sure, it’s easier to just stay home and go nowhere, but that’s not being fair or humane … not to yourself, anyway.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice at Sunset Animal Clinic in South Miami. Her website is drpattykhuly.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net.
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