The 5 Best Pets If You Travel a Lot, Experts Say
You can still be a responsible pet parent even if you're constantly on the go.
No matter what your daily schedule entails, taking on the responsibility of a pet is a major commitment. Even relatively low-maintenance animals require care and attention to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Unfortunately, this can come as bad news to anyone constantly on the road who still craves the companionship pet ownership can provide. But while everyone must seriously weigh any decision to adopt a living creature, certain animals can work well with a nomadic lifestyle, as long as there's the right amount of planning and preparation. Read on to see which pets experts say are the best if you travel all the time.
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With no need for house training or a walking schedule, fish are one of the easiest animals to take on as a first-time pet parent, period. And according to experts, they're also well suited for anyone who may have to head out of town often—especially if they can get help from a friend, roommate, or neighbor while they are gone.
"The best you could hope for is a fish tank which you stock with slow-release food balls while you're away," Amanda Takiguchi, DVM, a veterinarian and founder of Trending Breeds, tells Best Life.
Other experts agree with the idea of an aquatic companion. "They don't need much space, don't make a lot of noise, are easy to feed, and are low maintenance for constant travelers," Deepanshu Bedi, marketing director of animal care company Holistapet, tells Best Life. "Besides, staring at swimming fish can be therapeutic and make you feel good when you do get to spend time at home."
While they may not be for everyone, those looking for a pet that's relatively well-suited to an owner's heavy travel schedule should consider heading to the reptile section of their pet store.
"Most adult snakes can be left alone for a week as long as they have been fed for at least two days before leaving and they have access to drinking water," Pierre Cab, founder and owner of Reptile Craze, tells Best Life. "Snakes will not get stressed or lonely even if you leave them for a long time as they are solitary reptiles. This makes them perfect pets for constant travelers as it is highly unlikely for them to encounter any problems, even when unattended," adding that lights and heaters should still be set to timers to make sure the enclosure is providing the healthiest environment for them.
Other experts point out that certain types make for even easier adoptees than others. "Many snake species like corn or milk snakes require fairly low maintenance once their enclosure is set up," Josh Snead, pet expert and CEO of Rainwalk Pet Insurance, tells Best Life. "Adults of these species usually require feeding every 14 days, and as long as you have an appropriate heat source and thermostat set up and someone to change out their water, they aren't a pet you'll need to worry about while you're away."
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Let's be clear: Certain types of animals require plenty of human affection and attention, no matter how independent they may seem. But if you're the type of person who has the help of friends, family, or roommates, you might be able to consider a feline friend with some careful planning.
"In general, cats will be much easier to manage than dogs if you travel a lot," Patrik Holmboe, head veterinarian for Cooper Pet Care, tells Best Life. "A cat doesn't need to go out for walks, and it's very easy to clean a litter tray if you have someone staying with you or coming to your house to care for them while you are away. Automatic feeds also work very well for cats, again allowing them to remain alone for an extended period of time."
"Cats in general just need less human interaction as well, again allowing you to travel more and have someone just come to the house occasionally," he adds. However, Holmboe stresses that you should never assume responsibility for a cat you're not sure you can fully take care of on your own.
Pets can come in all shapes, sizes, breeds, and species. And if you're looking for a relatively low-maintenance companion, experts say that tarantulas can work well with busy travel schedules for anyone who isn't arachnophobic.
"If you like creepy crawly pets, tarantulas are perfect," Daniel Caughill, pet expert and co-founder of The Dog Tale, tells Best Life. "Since they don't have the same feeding or social requirements of a dog or cat, arachnids can make great exotic pets for those who travel a lot."
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Any animal that belongs to someone else
Any expert would agree it's absolutely essential to admit that hectic travel schedules make responsible pet ownership of any kind impossible for some people. But if you're still craving animal affection, it might help to pitch in with someone else's pet as an occasional caretaker when you do have the time.
"Perhaps you would be better off finding a neighbor with a pet dog, explaining the circumstances, and seeing if you can walk the dog when you are in the area. Or offer to pet sit for friends if their times away coincide with your times at home," suggests Takiguchi. "Rescue centers—such as those for retired greyhounds—often let people walk their dogs. Or perhaps you could find a local stable and go horse riding when you're home."