Series: Travel Nurses

A Guide to Travel Nursing with Pets

Posted on Mar 25, 2020

Travel nursing is already a no-frills career, living out of a suitcase rather than a closet. For weeks or months at a time, you say goodbye to your friends, family, and your home,traveling across the US and exploring different states and cities on your nursing career path. Still, with the roughly 23% salary increase, following this path alone is as rewarding as it is difficult.

Nevertheless, adding a pet into the mix can complicate the matter, but it doesn’t have to—plenty of travel nurses have pets when staying in furnished homes for business. Thus, below, myths will be dispelled, riddles will be solved, and ultimately you’ll see how you can sustain the job you want and be accompanied by the furry friend you choose.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

To break down the problem logically, the question of whether to leave your dog or cat (or lizard or parakeet or python) behind must be answered. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Travel nurses are typically booked for 13-week contracts. That’s already more than 3 months of being gone from your home. And this is just the average. Many contracts can extend to six months. Plus, with travel time, wanting to arrive early, and back-to-back assignments, you may find you’re gone upwards of 9 months of the year.
  • Your beloved pet will miss you. And of course you will miss your pet. The CDC has found that people with a pet experience incredible emotional and physical benefits from:
    • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
    • More active and socialized lifestyle
    • Increased mood and decreased feelings of loneliness
    • Lower triglyceride levels in the blood
  • Where does this leave your pet? At a dog hotel, you can leave your furry companion for a rate of about $150 per week (though this only applies if you have a furry friend). Friends and relatives might be able to take your pet for some amount of time, but when you consider those travel nurses are gone more than they’re at home, this becomes tricky.

Unless you have the perfect neighbor who already has 3 cats and doesn’t mind housing your cat while you’re gone (or maybe just wouldn’t notice the extra cat), it seems like there’s only one option:

You and your beloved pet are going to Florida together!

…Or wherever you’re assigned. North Platte is also nice. I hear Boulder has great hiking.

Problems You’ll Encounter

Okay, so you’ve made up your mind—it’s the logical choice, really—that Fido is tagging along. Great. There’s nothing that can go wrong here, right?

Sort of.

Here are the most common problems travel nurses experience when they have pets. Worry not, below will be solutions to these problems. This wouldn’t exactly be a “guide” if there weren’t.

  • Extended Stay Solution (long-term travel nurse furnished housing)
  • Day-to-Day Day Care
  • Traveling To and Fro
  • Emergencies and Everything Between
Extended Stay Solution

Perhaps you work with travel nursing agencies that are pet-friendly and know how to provide you with great pet care while you’re working. More often is the case, you’re relying on yourself to find a place to live for anywhere between 8-24 weeks that’s safe, comfortable, and pet-friendly.

That means you’re looking for a place that 1) doesn’t require a long-term lease, 2) is affordable, 3) comes furnished, 4) has been inspected, and of course, 5) accommodates pets. If this sounds like an unreal proposition, it’s not—this is the idea behind corporate housing. When companies want to provide the amenities of a home while clients or employees are working remotely, they will offer a furnished apartment instead of an extended hotel stay.

Zeus Living is providing this level of convenience to travel nurses as well.

The process is simple:

  • Choose pet-friendly housing by selecting through the various filters.
  • Sign a lease that fits your work schedule.
  • Enjoy transparent pricing and flexible check-in.
  • In addition to how easy the booking process is, the amenities are exactly what you could wish for:

    • Fully furnished home – Extra toiletries? Check. Linens, towels, bedsheets? Check. Fully decked out kitchen that allows you to start cooking dinner the moment you walk in? Check.
    • Amenities you want – WiFi, HD TV, utilities—these are no longer concerns with each place you move to throughout your travel nursing career. With every Zeus home, these come guaranteed.
    • Special request option – The point is to make this new spot feel like home from day one. To that end, Zeus has a series of technicians on call, special requests you can ask for, and 24/7 support. You need anything—anything at all—give us a ring and we’ll be happy to help.

    With Zeus, you’re not just moving into a nicely furnished place to live—you’re getting the peace of mind that comes from a pre-inspected, quality-guaranteed home. That’s the Zeus promise.

    Pet Day Care

    As a travel nurse—much like any nurse—you’re probably on the 4-10 or 3-12 schedule, meaning you work 4 days a week with 10-hour shifts or 3 days a week with 12-hour shifts. Either of these makes it hard to care for your pet during a select few days of the week. If you own a cat, you might not be worried; cats are fairly self-sustaining throughout the day. If you have a needy dog, however, you need to consider doggie daycare.

    Here are some common options for taking care of your pet during the days you’re on:

    • Dog hotel or doggie daycare – As a way to ensure your dog is having fun, being treated well, and is comfortable during the 3 or 4 days you’re at work, a doggie daycare or hotel is a perfect idea.
    • Hiring a dog walker – There are dog walking apps where you can hire a quick pet sitter to walk your dog for a cheap price. Another option is to ask a neighbor. Who knows? Maybe one of them has a high schooler who could use the extra cash!
    • Dog camera – There are cameras that allow you to see what your dog is up to during the day. Some of them allow you to talk through a microphone and even dispense a treat. That’s technology at its finest.

    You know your pet best, so you can choose the option that’s right for your companion.

    Traveling To and Fro

    Another aspect of travel nursing with a dog is… well, the traveling aspect. Traveling with pets on flights is becoming more common nowadays, especially with smaller dogs. For this, you’ll need:

    • Pet-friendly travel carrier – The rule is, if your dog and their crate can fit under the seat in front of you, you can take your pup aboard. However, that must include enough room for the dog to stand up and move. If your dog falls into this category, make sure you put plenty of pillows and blankets in there to keep them cozy during the flight.
    • Sleep aid – Talk to your vet about traveling on the plane with your dog and be sure to ask for sleep aids you can provide your pooch for the flight. This will help keep them calm when the plane is taking off and landing.

    If you’re travel nursing with a large dog, most airlines will want to fly your dog with the cargo because checked bags will often have a weight limit (around 20 lbs). As such, you’ll want to place an emphasis on the sleep aid; there’s no reason that your dog needs to go through the frightening experience of being shipped from one container to the next while they’re wide awake. Talk to your local vet about how best to go about traveling with your dog.

    Emergencies and Everything Between

    Travel nursing with a family means being prepared to take on an emergency at work and at home, and the same applies to pets. Because traveling can become hectic and stressful, you’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared for everything that can happen with your pet before you move. This includes:

    • Contacting a nearby vet – You can ask your local vet for recommendations in the area. If they don’t have any, a quick Google search around can help you find a veterinarian near your new place.
    • Having your pet microchipped – Of course, the last thing you want to think about is your pet escaping your home in an unfamiliar city. However, it’s worth considering a pet microchip that can track their whereabouts should anything happen.
    • Keeping all the records together – Organization is your best friend as a travel nurse. This includes everything from a packing routine to having all of your pet health records and vaccination documents together in one place. (For a bonus tip, making these digital can be a huge time saver when you need to quickly find one of these records.)
    Travel Nursing With Your Traveling Companion

    It’s normal to want to bring your pet along with you on your journey. This career comes with many highs and lows—often experienced alone as a result of all the traveling. For that reason, having your dog or pet with you can be incredibly cathartic. Although, like life, with the good comes the bad. Mitigate the risks and potential headaches by thoughtfully preparing for each of the above categories. That way, should any disaster strike, you’ll be ready.

    Start off by finding a place that you can both call home. With Zeus Living, it’s as simple as looking through modern, tastefully designed homes, and picking the one that suits you and your pet.

    Sources:

    Travelnursing.org. Travel Nursing Salary, Pay Range, & Compensation Rates. https://www.travelnursing.org/salary-and-benefits/

    CDC. About Pets & People. https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

    Canine Weekly. Flying with Large Dogs: Everything You Need to Know. https://canineweekly.com/flying-with-large-dogs/

    CNTraveler. Flying With a Dog: Everything You Need to Know. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/flying-with-a-dog-everything-you-need-to-know

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