(Above photo by Ken Drake of Zoo Studio)
So who looks after your pets while you travel? For me, I don’t plan any travel until I know that my two dogs will be safely looked after while we are away.
It is important to understand that I’m not just writing this as a “crazy dog lady”. I spent close to 10 years on the board of an animal welfare organisation that looks after almost 45,000 animals every year. I have also been a dog “mum” for over 20 years.
So what are the options available?
There are a number of reasons I strongly recommend against this option. These include:
You need to find a house sitter that you can trust both in your home and with your pets. If you and your pets are not comfortable with a person, do you want to let this person look after your pets and home? An experienced house sitter who understands animals is a great option as it allows your pets to stay in their own home environment. This will help keep their stress levels to a minimum. It also means that if needed the house sitter should be able to take your pets to your local vet if the need arises.
My previous dogs always stayed with my mum when we travelled. Her yard was safe for them and they loved staying at her place (they got spoilt by grandma!). Because my mum didn’t drive a friend of hers who does drive was happy to take them to the vets if the need arose (it did a couple of times).
The important things to remember if you are considering having your pets stay with a family member or friend are:
Above: My beautiful girls Jazz and Indy
Check if there is a reputable pet sitter finding service which covers your area. An example in Australia is PetCloud. I have not personally used PetCloud. It allows you to find pet sitters in your local area that have had police checks (including animal cruelty) done, have first aid certificates and have undertaken RSPCA training. If you find a pet sitter using this service, you can check references and also check that their home / yard is appropriate for your pet.
There can be a huge difference between the quality of boarding kennels. If you are going to use this option, you need to pre-plan potentially well in advance (especially if you are travelling during school holidays).
Before you book your pets into a kennel / pet resort, you should inspect the facilities. If they don’t allow inspections, don’t book your pet in. You may need to book a time to be able to inspect the facility, but this is important.
There are also boarding kennels that specialise in small pets such as mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. Check if there is one of these close to you if you have small pets.
Both of my dogs go to a pet resort when we travel and we were able to inspect their facilities before we agreed to book our dogs to stay with them. We have been very happy with the facility we use, but we have inspected three other facilities which we were not happy with. If you regularly use one facility your pets will also get used to going there as well as get to know the staff which can make it easier for them to settle in quickly.
Yes my pets are my children and I always make sure they have the best possible care available when we travel. It puts your mind at ease that they are in good hands when you are going to be on the opposite side of the world.
If you are planning to travel and have pets, plan ahead and do your homework to make sure they get the best possible care so you have a worry free holiday and they are happy and healthy when you return.