Pet care when you’re on holiday – your choices

1st March 2017

At some stage, all pet owners will need to decide how to have their pet looked after when they go on holiday. It could be your two week break in the summer, or a long weekend at any time of year. There are so many things to consider, especially their mental health and wellbeing.

Your choices include catteries, kennels, pet sitting or a helpful neighbour calling in twice a day to feed and empty litter trays.


1. Boarding care

Traditionally, boarding in a cattery or kennels has been the most popular solution for most pet owners. Unfortunately the image of cold concrete runs, plastic cages and no common social space is not that appealing. Luckily there are some far more modern and appropriate pet hotels available now, offering a far healthier choice.

At Bollington Veterinary Centre we have many of our clients asking us for advice. If you’re unsure, speak to one of our reception team and we can offer you some tips on catteries and kennels that seem to be most popular.

You can do lots of this research yourself by looking at their Facebook pages and reading some of the comments from previous clients. You’ll find much to reassure you and photos to help you decide.

Some dog boarding businesses will look after your dog in their own homes. Often those offering this option have dogs of their own.


Stress is a problem

By far the biggest issue with boarding for any pet is stress. Pets, especially cats and rabbits, can become very unhappy outside their normal routine and environment. Often this stress causes vomiting and diarrhoea in cats, and gut stasis in rabbits, both of which need veterinary attention.


2. Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is generally of two types.

Pet sitters that come to the house at specified times to feed, allow for some exercise and a chance to go outside. This type of pet sitting is only really appropriate for cats and for a few days at a time.

Other pet sitters will not only care for the pets but will also live at the pet owner’s home providing constant company. If you’re looking for this type of service, call us as we may have a list of people who have been recommended to us.

Dogs and cats will often show signs of stress when their owners are away, but it tends to be less pronounced when they are in the familiar surroundings of their own homes. This is an important consideration if your dog or cat suffers from colitis.

Having home-sitters also has the advantage of giving your home some protection, they are more likely to recognise potential health problems earlier and can arrange for your pet to be seen by a vet.


How much does it all cost?

Pricing for any of these services will vary. As with most things in life, you pay for what you get, so the more attention your pet will get, the more expensive it’s likely to be. You can expect to pay anything from £10 to £30 per day, but I’m sure you’ll agree that so long as your pet is well cared for, it’s worth every penny.


Our checklist before going away

  • Vaccinations – if you’re planning to put your cat into a cattery or dog into kennels, you will need to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Check your vaccination cards to make sure they’ve been signed and dated. If you have a problem, contact us and we can help.
  • Health check – before you go away, it’s wise to have a health check to make sure your pet isn’t unwell. Book an appointment now.
  • Enough medicine – if your pet is on some long term medication for arthritis, heart disease or diabetes (for example), check you have sufficient drugs for your time away. Call us if you need to have a repeat prescription dispensed for you.
  • Contact numbers – always leave a list of important phone numbers for your pet carer. Make sure you include our telephone number as well as your mobile number.
  • Food – many pets have special dietary requirements, so you may need to take your own prescription food into the cattery/kennels. If your pet is staying at home, check there is enough food to last the time you are away.
  • Keep the routine – most animals are creatures of habit, so it’s worth letting your pet sitter or carer know the usual routine to allow them to maintain it as best they can. Some animals like to eat at specific times, others like to eat alone. This sort of information will be very helpful and will help your pet stay calm.
  • Toys and bedding – it will help if you take something familiar into a boarding establishment to help your pet sleep and relax. Its own bedding and some comfort toys are ideal.