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What to do with your dog when you go on holiday

It’s a very difficult decision, you want to do what’s right for your dog and the financial implications can be significant. Here are some of our top choices.

Keep your pet at home when you travel


Have your pet taken care of inside your home


Hire a Professional Pet Sitter

The main disadvantage of hiring a sitter is that it can be a bit costly. £30 per visit is fairly standard, which can add up over longer trips. Professional sitters are generally very dependable (but check references carefully) and they know how to take care of animals. Your pet sitter may even have Pet First Aid training and should be insured. This option works particularly well if you have a few animals and can work out cheaper than a kennels. Pet sitters generally visit once a day for dogs and twice for dogs.


Ask a Neighbour, Friend or Family Member

This is usually the cheapest option, and is especially good if your pet is familiar with their sitter. If you ask a neighbour or a friend who lives nearby, they can probably come more often than a paid professional. The downside is that if your sitter sees it more as a favour than a job, they might not be as responsible as someone that is being paid.

If you want to make their job a little easier, consider getting an automatic water fountain or food dispenser for your pet; check out the options on the internet.


Find a House Sitter

House sitters usually live full time in your house, so your pets theoretically get the same care you would give them. Pets get constant supervision and attention.

Because a house sitter lives in your house while you’re away, you would need to be comfortable with them having full access to your things. This is generally an affordable option, as you’re trading accommodation for pet care, though some pet sitters are paid extra.


Advantages of leaving your pet at home:

  • Your pet is in their familiar setting (especially good for dogs)

  • There’s no danger of damaging other people’s things

  • Food, toys, yard, cage, etc. are already set up and your pet already knows the lay of the land

  • No other animals to compete or fight with

  • Your pets can eat the same foods as usual and can keep up with their daily routine

  • The people looking after your pets can also watch the house for you (taking in mail, cleaning walkways, turning on lights, etc.) to give the appearance that someone is home

  • You can just leave the keys and go

Disadvantages:

  • Animals can get lonely if no one is around all day

  • There’s a greater danger of missed feedings or walks

  • There’s a greater chance of accidents on the floors

  • Animals will always be on the lookout for you, which could lead to stress in some animals

  • Unfamiliar care takers may need to be properly introduced so as not seen as an intruder.

Have your pet taken care of outside your home


Hire a Professional Pet Sitter

Many pet sitters will also take care of your animal in their own home. A pet sitter usually has a few pets staying with them already, which can provide companionship for your pet. A Pet Sitter will understand the risks of bringing a new animal into their home and typically knows how to care for them. Depending on the size of their business they could have dedicated kennels or live with them as part of their family.


Ask a Neighbour, Friend or Family Member

Because your pet might already be familiar with the place and the person, this can be a great option, especially if your animal already knows your sitter and their pets. Because you already know them, trust shouldn’t be an issue. This may be the cheapest option if you want to have your animal cared for outside your own home.


Leave them at a Kennel, Boarding Facility or Pet Hotel

A professional service should be knowledgeable about animals and how to take care of them. These services have the facilities and staff already equipped to take good care of your pet. However, your pet may be kept in a cage for longer than you’d like. That said, there are some wonderful boarding facilities out there. Make sure you check references and even consider leaving your pet for a short trial run.


Advantages of having someone take care of your pet outside your home

  • Your pet will most likely be around people and other animals more often

  • Agreed and contracted walks and playtime will be part of the care package

  • New areas to explore to see

  • Less chance of loneliness (house sitter excluded)

Disadvantages

  • Unfamiliar areas could give your pet stress

  • Possible issues with other animals (other dogs and alpha dogs especially)

  • Your pet could be kept in a cage or area you’re uncomfortable with for long stretches

  • You’ll need to drop off and pick the animals up

Take your pet with you

Taking your pet with you may be a good option if you’re traveling by motorhome or car, or if you’re planning to stay in one place for a long time. Be careful with border requirements for pets entering a new country. In the UK we have long quarantine periods for animals entering the country but other countries are less strict, and only require proof of vaccinations and a certificate of good health from a veterinarian.


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