Thinking about where our lovely dogs are going to stay when we go away on holiday can be quite worrying and daunting. There are many holiday pet care options you can consider depending on your pets’ individual needs.
A good option is care at home if you have a trusted family member, or friend, who would be happy to look after your dog. This isn’t always possible and other holiday pet care options may be more suitable.
It is a good idea to start with personal recommendations. Have your friends and family used anywhere they were pleased with? Does your Veterinary Practice recommend any holiday pet care providers?
The two main options are pet sitters or kennels/catteries. We know our pets’ individual needs and personalities so consider what you think would suit your pet best.
Pet sitters either stay in your home, or board your dog in their home. This can be ideal if you have lots of pets or a pet that is particularly anxious away from home. Holiday pet care in your own home ensures that everything will be familiar for your dog.
There are many items to consider when organising holiday pet care with a pet sitter. Make sure the pet sitter has the appropriate insurance, DBS checks and licensing. Arrange a meet up so they can meet you and your pet and make sure you are happy with the interaction. Could your pet have a trial day beforehand? If your pet has any medical or behavioural needs, are they happy and confident to deal with this? Do they have good references? Will other pets be staying at their house and if so, does your pet get on well with other dogs/cats? What is the exercise routine like?
There are many different styles of kennels available for holiday pet care. These range from very small, to ‘luxury boutique’ style, to larger kennel facilities.
Is the kennel fully insured and licenced with the local authorities? Do they insist on only accepting fully vaccinated pets?
Make sure you visit the kennels before booking. Ideally do this unannounced so you can get a real feel for the place and how it is being run. Ask plenty of questions such as exercise and toileting routines. Are the staff happy to give any medication your pet might need? How much social interaction will your dog have?
Do the kennels seem clean, well maintained, and draught free? How many staff are there, and what sort of monitoring equipment do they have to keep an eye on the dogs?
Whichever holiday pet care option you choose, make sure they have emergency contact details for yourself and your vets. Make sure you book as early as you can. Many holiday pet care places get booked up quickly.
It is also useful to make a checklist for whoever is looking after your pet. How much food and how often are they fed? Any medications they might need. If they have a particular routine. Are there any behavioural issues for them to be aware of?
Things to consider packing are food, medications, food and water bowls, lead, and familiar smelling items or bedding that would make them feel more at ease.