Life on the road as a Travel Nurse can be so much more awesome with a great companion. For some, that companion is a significant other, kiddo, or best friend, but for many others it’s the ultimate in companions — like your dog, cat, or other pet!
You really get the best of both worlds when you are able to experience the joy of exploring an exciting new location while still being able to come home to your beloved pet each day.
Traveling with pets is super rewarding and can be easily done with just a little extra planning, so here are 5 tips for Travel Nursing with pets:
Work with a Pet-Friendly Company
Some of the better companies out there offer pet-friendly benefits, meaning they will work to find you housing that not only accepts your pets, but is also a comfortable fit for their unique needs. The pet-friendliest among them will even send your pets special treats and cover expenses like your pet deposits up front, saving you money and hassle. Because such companies understand that traveling with pets can present some additional challenges but also that it can greatly enhance a Traveler’s experience on assignment, pet-friendly Travel Nursing companies will go above and beyond to make sure your companion can effortlessly become travel companion. If you plan to travel with pets, one of the first questions you ask a potential recruiter should be: “Is your Travel Nurse agency pet friendly?” Then be sure to get full details on what exactly that means at that company, as pet-friendly benefits do vary between companies.
Whether you go old-school with a notebook or prefer to jot a note your smartphone or tablet, write out a list of all the considerations and tasks you’ll need to plan for when traveling with your pet(s). This will help you mentally wrangle the list, make it seem less daunting, and also help keep you from forgetting anything crucial. Do you need a new carrier before the journey? Want to stock up on treats, food, or any other necessities before you embark? How about taking a trip to your favorite hometown vet for a good preliminary checkup? Your list will depend on you and your pet(s) specific needs. Make sure you take the time to brainstorm a thorough list of things to do and consider, which you can also add to as new things occur to you.
Make Moving Day Great
Most Travel Nurses drive to their assignments — which likely means a road trip for your pet! Keep your pet’s experience in mind at all times and try to make it as smooth as possible for them. Cats especially may be very skittish and fearful of car rides, so they (and some dogs, too) should be kept in a carrier or kennel during the trip, which protects them and also provides security. Never leave your pet(s) unattended in your car for anything more than a quick bathroom break. It’s best not to smoke, blare loud music, or do anything else that might irritate their senses and cause any undue stress. You may want to talk to your pet throughout your journey, as the sound of your voice can be a reassuring presence to them. (Pet owners know
Help Them Adjust
When an animal is first adjusting to a new home, it’s best to follow their cues to help interpret their needs. Cats may hide under furniture and need a little time and space. Give it to them, but also be sure to check in fairly often, offering treats and some reassuring words spoken in a soft voice. Dogs may need a little extra attention, so make sure to pay attention to that. Make sure that food, water, litter box, etc. are accessible and plentiful. And, while you are also busy adjusting to a new location and job, try to make the time to engage in your normal play, grooming, and training habits. Consider calming collars, pet-safe sprays, or diffusers as helpful options for pets prone to anxiety.
Know Local Pet Services and Attractions
Put this on your list of tasks to prepare. From local vets to groomers to parks, make sure that you acquaint yourself with pet services and attractions in your new city. You don’t want to end up in an emergency situation — whether that’s a health issue or just the perfect weather to go the dog park — without knowledge of where to go. Using Yelp or with word of mouth help from your new colleagues, make a shortlist of the names and locations of pet vendors, vets, and any other pet services or attractions you may need or want to explore in your new location. Seeking this kind of information is actually an excellent way to break the ice and bond with new coworkers at your facility — so it’s two birds with one stone! (Hmmm, maybe not the best analogy for an article about pets!)
I hope these 5 tips for Travel Nursing with pets will make your journey a happy one for you and your companion! If you have traveled with pets before and have any additional pointers, please feel free to share them in the comments.