Should Your Pet Go on a Locums Assignment with You?

Should-Your-Pet-go-on-a-Locum-Assigment-WIth-YouWhether you are heading out on a short weekend assignment or gearing up for an extended locum tenens contract, making sure your beloved family dog, cat, or other pet is properly cared for is priority. Does that mean they become your travel pal? Or does it mean making other arrangements while you are temporarily away from home? Figuring out the best scenario comes down to a variety of factors, such as the animal’s temperament, housing and travel accommodations, your own comfort zone, and of course, the length of a temporary assignment.

Before committing to bringing them along or setting up a pet sitter, check out the following tips based on advice from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), American Kennel Club (AKC), and The Humane Society of the U.S.

Bringing Your Pet Along
For some pet owners, it’s a foregone conclusion their dog or cat will accompany them on locum tenens jobs. If that is your preference, the very first thing to do is inform your All Star consultant so they can focus the search for accommodations on pet-friendly hotels or housing that meets your needs.

Before you begin packing up your animal’s favorite squeaky toys, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. If you will be flying to an assignment location, be aware airlines may require a health certificate for current vaccinations and rabies shots within a few days before takeoff. Also, fill up on any medications and if your pet isn’t already chipped with a locator, think about asking your vet to do it now. In addition, double-check that their collar ID is current and add a temporary tag with the phone number for where you will be staying.

The next consideration pertains to your mode of transportation. Of course, the facility’s location may be the deciding factor. But both automobiles and airplanes present a series of requirements to help keep your beloved animal safe and as stress-free as possible.

Car trips

  • Get them accustomed to the car with a few short trips before leaving for a locums assignment.
  • Keep your pet safely restrained in the back seat, either in a crate/carrier or with a seatbelt system.
  • Pack a travel kit of their regular food, bottled water, meds, treats, and toys.

Airplane trips

  • Always check the airline’s specific requirements regarding animals inside the cabin or crating them, including restrictions on weight and age.
  • Whenever possible, request nonstop flights to limit travel time and minimize the stress to pets.
  • Tape a small bag of food to the outside of the crate/carrier so airline personnel can feed them in case of long layovers or delays.
  • Tightly secure, but do not lock crate/carrier doors so personnel can access your pet in case of emergency.
  • Stick a recent photo of your cat or dog to the crate/carrier along with their name, your name and number, and the words “Live Animal.” Keep an electronic version of the image on your phone.
  • Never hesitate to contact an airline representative with any question or concern at any point during your travels.

Once you arrive at your temporary home, assess the surroundings for any potential issues, which includes protecting the dwelling from damage as your pet adjusts. For example, put down a mat or piece of cardboard under food and water dishes or litter boxes. If staying in long-term housing such as a single-family dwelling arrangement, evaluate the yard for safety and security precautions. Also, make a plan for checking in on the dog or cat while you are on shift. Options to consider might be hiring a dog walker or popping home during meal breaks.

Arranging for Pet Sitters or Boarding Your Pet
If the duration of a locum tenens opportunity is only a few days, you may prefer to go solo. In that case, of course, having a family member or friend care for your pet would be an ideal solution. If that’s not possible, you could opt for either hiring a professional pet sitter or reserving a spot at a local kennel or boarding facility. They each have advantages.

Pet sitter

  • If you already employ a dog walker or cat companion, then this person should be your first choice as a pet sitter because your animal is accustomed to them. If not, ask your vet, groomer, and/or fellow pet owners for referrals.
  • Perhaps the biggest advantage to a pet sitter is that your four-legged family member gets to stay home. This is particularly beneficial for smaller pets who live in confined habitats, older animals, or those with special needs. Bonus: Professional pet-sitting businesses oftentimes double as house sitters. Look for companies that are licensed, insured, bonded, and have sound references.
  • With whomever you choose, leave behind a signed veterinarian release and temporary guardianship form so emergency care can be provided without haste.
  • If you have smart home devices, like a pet monitoring system, you can see what your furry friend is up to while you’re away. There are even GPS-enabled collars that will track where your cat or dog walks.


  • Some pet owners are simply more comfortable leaving their animal family members with a local kennel or boarding facility that is staffed 24/7. In this case, follow the same measures: Look for a business that is licensed, insured, bonded, and has sound references.
  • Do a run-through with your animal before your departure date so you have an idea of how they will react. This practice will also help you ensure the facility has the accommodations to keep your cherished pet active and engaged, but not overstimulated.
  • Pack some of your pet’s items, including bedding and food, so there’s a sense of familiarity in their temporary environment.
  • Many boarding facilities now have livestream capabilities for pet owners to peek in on their animals throughout their stay. Inquire about this possibility when you explore the options.

With a little planning, working locum tenens can easily fit into the pet-owner lifestyle, and in keeping with our “Red Carpet” Service offering, All Star is ready to help however we can.

For more information on preparing for locum tenens opportunities, call 800-928-0229, or contact us online, to speak with an All Star consultant right now!