ForPaws Blog

Holiday Pet Care

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Whilst for many families the children are back to school and the holiday period is over, many others will be looking to book a bit of time in the sun as an antidote to the nights drawing in!  So, what do you do with your pets whilst you are away?

For dog owners, there is the option of kennels.  Kennelling your dog is a very affordable option for many, but it can present problems.  Kennels can be a very stressful environment for some dogs as they are away from their owners, with less human interaction than they are used to.  Being confined to a small area in close proximity to lots of other dogs can be unpleasant for them too.  Larger and more energetic breeds of dogs may also get frustrated at the lack of exercise.  If you are thinking of kennelling your dog, ensure that you visit the kennels before you book, to check the hygiene of the kennels and to see how happy the dogs look in their care.  Also ensure that your dogs’ vaccinations are completely up to date and that they have the necessary preventative treatment for kennel cough.

The feline equivalent of kennels is a cattery.  There are lots of lovely catteries out there, with lots of space and plush accommodations, there are also some that are not quite so pleasant, so do visit them before you book.  The disadvantages of catteries are that many cats do not enjoy being confined close to other cats.  This can be distressing for them and give rise to problem behaviours, such as spraying and aggression.  Many owners complain that their cats are often quite distant when they first return home, not surprising as many cats have felt rather out of sorts spending a week or so in a very different environment to their homes.  As with kennels, your cats vaccinations will need to be up to date and they’ll need to be in good health.

Boarding your dog in someone else’s home is a very popular option.  This is usually more expensive than kennels, but the advantages outweigh the costs for many.  Boarding your dog in someone else’s home, means that they will get a great deal more personal care, attention and exercise than they would at a kennels.  The disadvantages are that there may still be other dogs or pets at the boarders home (they may have their own pets, or have the space for multiple dogs) and this may not be appropriate for your dog.  Finding a home to board your dog in isn’t necessarily easy, good boarders book up months in advance.  If you decide boarding is for you, then the best thing to do is to give yourself plenty of time to find the best home for your dog and ensure you make appointments to visit a few different boarders  so that you can find the person that you ‘click’ with the most.  This is a very personal service and there is a wide variety of different homes and people available for boarding.  Everyone who provides accommodation for other people’s animals should have an Animal Boarding Licence, do check that your boarder can provide evidence of this.  If they haven’t gotten a licence yet, it would be wise to find someone else, the penalties for not having a licence are actually quite severe (£500 fine or up to 3 months in prison) and this could jeopardise the arrangement for care that you have with them. 

The other option for all pets, is to employ the services of a pet sitter.  Pet sitters move into your home whilst you are away to care for your pets.  This means that your pets experience very little change in your absence, they stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, just with someone else to care for them.  This is a very attractive option for people who have multiple pets, or who have ‘difficult’ pets who would not cope with being in someone else’s home, kennels, or around other animals.  The other advantage is of course that your home stays lived in whilst you are away, meaning that your home is safe and looked after.  The disadvantage to pet sitters is that they are not cheap, good ones are highly sought after and some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of someone living in their home whilst they are not there.   If you think a pet sitter is for you, then do your research and ask friends and family for recommendations.  Meet with several different sitters to make sure you find someone that you and your pet are happiest with.  Do check that they have the necessary insurance for caring for your pet.

You could also ask a friend or family member to stay in your home, or care for your pet in their home.  This means that your pets will have someone that they (and you!) know caring for them, but there are some disadvantages to this.  It is much harder to ask for the ‘service’ you want from friends or family who are doing you a favour.  They will also often have a day job and need to be out of the home for long periods of time during the day and have plans in the evenings to go out.  This means that your pet may not get the care and attention that they need.  They are also unlikely to be insured, which might be a problem if the worst happens.

How can ForPaws help whilst you are on holiday? 

- Cat Feeding – we offer a cat feeding service for customers who are away for the weekend or on holiday.  We can pop in, wash up food and water bowls, put fresh water and food down, empty litter trays, give your cats a good cuddle and bit of attention and even water your plants!  This gives you the best of both worlds, your cats get to stay in the comfort and security of their own homes whilst you are away, but without the hefty price tag of a pet sitter.  This is also a much more economical option than putting multiple cats in a cattery, as we only charge a single fee for a visit of up to 30 minutes, regardless of how many cats you have (within reason!).

- Dog Walking or Home Visits  – if you want to put your dogs in a kennels, why not ask us to pop by and pick up your dog for a walk each day?  This will give him or her the care, attention and exercise they need, that they may not get at the kennels otherwise.  Alternatively, if a friend or family member is looking after your dog but they need to go out in the day, you could ask us to pop by to take them out for a walk or just spend some time with them on a 30 minute home visit. 

The main criteria for care for your pet whilst you are away, is of course that you and your pets are comfortable and happy with the arrangements you make.  Then you can go away, confident that your pet will get the care they need, whilst you get the rest and respite you need.  Of course for a really lovely break, why not look at taking your pets with you?  There are plenty of holiday lets that allow you to take pets with you and the pet passport scheme even means that if you want to travel further afield, you don’t have to leave your beloved pets at home!

If you’d like to discuss care for your pet whilst you are away, do contact us on 07500 119232 or via email to info@forpaws.net

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