Traveling across the country and spending 13 weeks or more without family and friends can be a little lonely — which is why some travel nurses bring Fido or Fluffy along for the ride. While making your pet feel at home in a new place while you’re at work isn’t always easy, these tips can help make travel nursing with pets a little easier.
1. Look for pet-friendly housing. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to tell your recruiter before you start an assignment that you plan to bring your pet so he or she can find housing in the area that welcomes cats or dogs. If you plan to find your own place to stay and accept the housing stipend, use a site like MyApartmentMap.com, which allows you to filter apartments by whether they allow cats and dogs.
2. Arrive a few days early so your pet gets used to his home. Get unpacked at least two days before you start your travel nursing assignment, if possible, so you can let your dog or cat wander around and become familiar with the space. It’s also helpful to run a few short errands, such as heading to the grocery store, by yourself so your pet learns that he’s not being abandoned and gets used to your routine.
3. Protect your temporary home from potential pet damage. Even the most well-behaved pets can have accidents or become unruly, especially in an unfamiliar place, so head off any disasters. Purchase or bring some inexpensive slipcovers for your sofa and chairs, put down training pads and shut doors to any rooms you don’t want your pet to enter when you leave. If you know your dog or cat is startled by loud noises, buy some blackout curtains to muffle the noise in your home while you’re gone.
4. Find a doggie daycare in your area. If you’re working several long shifts in a row and are concerned about how your dog will do on her own, consider taking her to a doggie daycare for a few days. BringFido.com and FindDoggyDaycare.com both allow you to search for facilities in your area — and some accept cats as well. Visit the daycare before you drop your pet off, if you can, to make sure that the caretakers are friendly, there’s plenty of space for your dog or cat to roam, and they take overnight boarders (if necessary).
5. Hire a dog or cat sitter to keep your pet company. Sometimes it takes a while for your dog or cat to become comfortable in a new place, so consider hiring a sitter to stay with your pet while you’re at work. Sites like Rover.com and DogVacay.com help you find dog sitters and walkers who’ll care for your pet either at your home or theirs. Many sites offer free pet insurance and daily photo updates so you can be sure your furry companion is safe and happy.
Do you travel with your pets? Share your tips below!