What to do with your pets when you go on holidays

With Christmas just around the corner you might be thinking of going on a holiday, but what will you do with your pets?

There are a few options for how and where your pets can spend their time while you are away. Here are some pros and cons of each to help you make the right decision for your pet.

Staying at Home Alone
This, in general, is not a good idea and I would not recommend it.  Perhaps for one night they might be ok, more so cats than dogs, but I would not leave them for more than 24 hours without someone checking in on them.  If you do have to leave them alone overnight make sure that they have access to a number of different water bowls, in shady cool locations.  If they are staying in the house, make sure that all poisonous, dangerous and breakable objects are well locked up and secure.  Preferably, even if it is only for one night, let your neighbours know that you will be away and have them check in on your pets for you.

Visiting Pet Carer
Pet Sitters or Visiting Carers are a good option for your pets if you would like to leave them at home. Some pets do find it less stressful to stay at home and in familiar surroundings while their owners are away.  You could ask friends, family or neighbours to do this for you and drop in to check on and feed, water and play with your pets.  There are also a number of companies, like Pet Sitting Australia,  that provide this service but I also suggest looking in your local papers or on community notice boards for someone.  This is a good option, and often works out cheaper than boarding facilities, especially if you have a number of animals that need looking after.  The negative to this is that someone will usually only visit your pets once a day, this means the rest of the time and overnight they are alone.

Live In Pet and House Sitter
Like visiting carers this is an option that is often a lot less stressful on your pets, plus they will have more human company and someone with them overnight.  Having someone live in your house means that they will not only look after your pets, they will also care for your home, water your plants, collect the mail and take out the rubbish.  You might feel more comfortable having a family member or friend staying in your house rather than a stranger.  There are also a number of companies that offer live-in house and pet sitting, like Mind A Home Australia or you could advertise on a local community Facebook page, or in the local paper or just ask around for someone.

Staying with Family or Friends
Having your animals stay with friends or family is often a good option.  It is definitely cheaper than a boarding kennel or cattery plus you should be able to trust them to take good care of your pets.  It is even better if your pets can stay with someone that they already know and like, as it should make them more comfortable while you’re away. When choosing someone to look after your pets make sure to choose someone that loves pets, understands the responsibilities of looking after them and is really happy to do so.  Pick someone whose house and yard it suitable and pet friendly and make sure if they have pets of their own that they get along.

Staying at a Carers Home
This is also another great option for pets that really like having company.  Just the same as staying with friends or family but instead they are staying with a carer at there home, possibly with other animals.  If using a carer make sure to visit them at home to see what the house and yard is like and how they care for animals.  Find A Dog Minder is a great website that lets you get in contact with minders all over Australia.

Boarding at a Vet Clinic
This may be a good option for pets that have a chronic illness or injury that requires daily monitoring or daily medication or treatment.  Take into consideration though that they will spend the majority of their time in a small hospital cage, with very little exercise or free time.  The other downside of this is that they will be housed in a confined space close to other sick and injured animals, so there is the possibility of them contracting an illness.  Also a vet clinic is often not a calm and relaxing place, with all the sick and injured animals, machines and surgery and can be a quite stressful and scary place.

Boarding Kennels or Catteries
There are quite a lot of dog boarding kennels and catteries around in most areas, just check the internet and local papers.  This is when you drop your pet off and they stay in a small pen either by themselves or they can sometimes share.  The benefits of a boarding facility is that you know that your pets will be unable to escape or wonder and that they should receive the daily attention and care that they require.  I would always suggest that you thoroughly investigate the different boarding facilities available.  Go and visit the facilities to see how they work, meet the staff,  see the size of the kennels, ask about the exercise regimes and feeding routines.  Also ask what they do if your pet got sick and what veterinarian they will use.  Only choose a kennel or cattery that you feel comfortable with and that you think your pet will be safe in.

Once you decide to go on holidays I suggest that you get organising your pets care as soon as possible because places and carers can fill up quickly, especially over Christmas.  Always take into consideration your pets personality and their needs when choosing care for them, but their safety should always come first.  And remember, if you know that your pets are safe, and being looked after, it will be one less stress for you and will be able to enjoy your holiday even more.

Until next time,

Author: Bec

From a very young age Bec has always had a great love and appreciation for all animals. Bec is a qualified Veterinary Nurse and also has a Bachelor in Applied Science Animal Studies with special interest in Wildlife and Recreational Animals. Her studies have been put to good use working in various animal industries including small and large animal veterinary clinics, horse studs and the family cattle property. Horses have played an important part in her life, living on a horse stud and caring for horses throughout breeding, foaling, spelling, racing and retirement. Bec is the proud mum of two gorgeous girls, a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, chickens and many horses including a cheeky little pony.

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