Determining who will look after your pets when you go away can often be stressful. There are several choices available, including pet sitters and boarding kennels, so we’ve explored each option to make your decision easier.
Family and friends
No one knows you and your pets as well as your family and friends. If you have a relative or close friend who will be staying in town whilst you are away, it’s worth asking if they can care for your pet in your absence.
Just make sure they will be able to commit to twice daily visits (if you have dogs or cats) to feed, walk, play and clean up after your pet. If you have a dog, ask your friend or relative if they can stay at their house, as dogs often get lonely when left at home. Cats are more territorial, and usually prefer someone visit, rather than have a sleepover at a strange house.
If no family or friends are available, or if you have a pet with a special need (e.g. a chronic disease that requires monitoring or medicating), it might be worth paying a knowledgeable pet sitter to visit your home whilst away.
There are several pet sitting apps around which connect you with available pet sitters in your region. If you are planning to go away during a busy holiday period or a long weekend, make sure you book a pet sitter early, as they can often get booked up several weeks or months in advance.
Ensure you meet your pet sitter before going away, so they can get to know you and your pets ahead of time.
Boarding kennels and catteries
If leaving your pets at home isn’t an option, you might want to consider putting your dog or cat into a boarding kennel or cattery. These establishments are often on the edge of town or in a rural location and provide all the care your dog or cat may require.
Sometimes veterinary clinics offer cat boarding as well, so this can be a good option if you have a cat with special needs. Like pet sitters, boarding kennels and catteries often book up months in advance, so make sure you book a place early.
Most kennels and catteries also require your pet to be fully vaccinated before staying at their facility, which usually means a C5 vaccine for your dog and an F3 vaccine for your cat. If you need vaccinations to get into a facility, book an appointment with your veterinarian no later than 2 weeks before your pet’s stay.
Vaccines take time to work, so if you leave it too late, your pet won’t be fully protected in time.
Different needs for different pets
Dogs, cats, birds, fish, guinea pigs and rabbits all have different needs, and the various pet care options won’t be suitable for all pets. Some pets should ideally be cared for in their own home, such as cats which get stressed with change and dogs which are reactive to other dogs. Other pets will do better in a social environment, such as pets that suffer separation anxiety and dogs which get lonely on their own.
No one knows your pet better than you, however, if you are unsure what’s the best option might be for your pet, or you have concerns about how your pet might cope, talk to your veterinarian who will be able to assist.