Woohoo! It’s Summertime, the kids are off school and it’s time to treat yourself to a little vacay. You’ve picked your destination, booked the time off work and even packed your case! There's just one thing left to organise... Who’s going to look after your pets?!
You may be lucky enough to have a trusted family member or close friend pop by your house to feed and fuss your cat, but what if you have a dog? Who will walk them? Will they be ok on their own? Not very likely! You would probably feel much more comfortable with your pet living with someone else while you are away.
These days, pet parents like us have much more options available to us. Obviously, cost is a major factor of your decision, but you also must take into consideration your pet’s age, behaviour, medicinal needs and whether it’s a cat or a dog. Whether you’re jetting off on a sunny beach holiday or if you’re exploring the nature the UK has to offer, check out our handy guide on what to do with your pet and how to keep your peace of mind.
Pet Boarding is the most common option we've all most likely used. It’s the most affordable option but sometimes can compromise quality. Kennels just tend to meet your basic needs; food, exercise and bathroom breaks. There are however, other forms of boarding such as doggy day care and even high-end kennels which are more specialised.
Pros: - Kennels charge on a daily basis - If your pet has a medical emergency, the staff at the kennel will be experienced in dealing with the situation - Offers privacy, as you’re not allowing a stranger into your home and security as most kennels have double gates, so if your pet slips by someone while their kennel is opened, they are still enclosed. - Kennels also offer supervision; you know someone is going to be there during business hours and some kennels provide 24hr staff. Most people find it reassuring that their pet is being checked on anytime the kennel is open.
Cons: - Some pets can find the experience very stressful. - It’s vitally important that your cat or dog is fully up to date with any vaccinations as with any location where animals are kept in close proximity passing bugs and parasites can be a problem. This is much worse for puppies and kittens as their immune system is most vulnerable. - Also with so many animals in one place, staff can’t give each pet special attention like extra walks and playtime. This normally has to be purchased in addition to the boarding fees which can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on your expectations.
Professional Pet Sitter:
This allows someone to keep a close eye on your pet without them experiencing the stress of being taken out of their home environment. You may be a little unsure about having a stranger around your home, but this is why selecting a pet sitter that is recommended and trusted is essential. Choose a pet sitter that has been highly recommended to you by someone you know who has used them before.
Pros: - Your pet gets to keep their routine, which is great if you have a puppy or kitten where toilet and feeding schedules are essential. - Kennels are notorious for parasites and illnesses. So, when your pet is able to stay in their own environment, exposure to disease is minimal. - In the event of an emergency, an experienced pet sitter is able to handle any health issues that may occur. This is great if your pet has any medicinal or dietary needs. - Pet sitters are able to dedicate extra time to give your pet special attention and playtime which is usually an extra charge at kennels. - Pet sitters are also handy for bringing in your post, watering plants and just their presence at the property by turning lights on and off may deter burglars while you are away.
Cons: - For all the experience often comes a price tag, fees are normally done per house visit so it can add up fast if your pet requires extra attention to be let out multiple times a day, especially if you have a puppy or kitten. - Some pet sitters may only visit the property to feed and walk the pet which removes any of the other benefits we’ve mentioned. If this is the case, you may find it better to ask a friendly neighbour with the promise to return the favour. - If your pet has issues with strangers, then a pet sitter will not go down well. Your pet may need to be introduced to the pet sitter prior to you going away so they can familiarise themselves first. Prepare Your Pet Before You Leave
It is vital to prepare your pet before you head off to travel and leave them behind. Your dog is a member of your family, and leaving for a vacation without them can be hard on you both.
- Spend some extra time together. By doing this it can help you both, especially if you are leaving for a long period of time. Your pet will appreciate all of the time they can spend with you and a little goes a long way! A few extra snuggles on the sofa, or an additional walk are a big deal for your pet.
- If your pet suffers from separation anxiety, be sure to let either the boarding kennels or the pet sitter know. Talk to them about your pets symptoms and be sure that your pet won’t be left alone for long periods of time.
- If your pet is going to a boarding kennels, send them with some familiar items to remind them of home, and of you. Be certain that your pet’s bed stays with them while you’re away. The bed will smell like you and your home which will make them feel much more comfortable. You can use other comforting items such as familiar treats, one of your shirts or a pair of socks, your pet’s favourite blanket and toys.
- Stay calm and confident. Your pet will quickly pick up on your emotions. If you’re feeling anxious about leaving them, they will feel anxious about you leaving. If you’re feeling comfortable (even though you’ll miss them!) your pet will feel the same way.
- Provide distractions like a new chew toy or treat. Novelty will keep your pet occupied while you sort the rest of the family out to prepare for your departure.
The Bottom Line
Your pet will miss you, just as much as you’ll miss them. Remember, if you’re comfortable then your pet will be more comfortable. Project calm confidence, plan ahead, and you’ll both feel more ready for your temporary separation.