The holidays are just about upon us and hopefully your pets have been considered in all of your holiday planning. If, however you’re scrambling to make last minute plans below are a list of care options for your pets while you soak up some rest and relaxation. The Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFI) urges all pet owners to provide adequate and responsible care for their pets over the holiday season. Many pets find it difficult enough being away from their family, so the most comfortable and safe option should be provided for. Simply leaving pets alone with enough food and water is not a responsible choice.
Pet or house sitters
Most pets will find staying at home, in an environment that they know, keeping to their known routine, comfortable and reassuring. So, if you’re able to find a pet or house sitter that your pets are relaxed with and who you can trust, this is a great option, also offering you some peace of mind since someone will be checking in on your home during a typically high crime season. The added bonus is that this is a professional relationship so the exact expectation can be defined up front when interviewing candidates. There are options to have sitters come by daily to feed, walk and play with your pets or have them stay in your house while you are away. Consider your pet’s normal routine, where they usually sleep and what shelter they have outside of the house before deciding on which option is better suited to you and your pets. It’s always advisable to do reference checks to ensure you are leaving your pets in capable hands.
Kennels or catteries
If you prefer to use a more traditional kennel or cattery be sure to do your homework to ensure you are leaving them with a reputable organization that understands pet care so that you may benefit from the constant attention that this sort of solution offers. Consideration should be given to your pet’s sociability and the right type of accommodation provided for. This probably is not the right option if your pet suffers from a behavioural issue related to other animals. Cats that are not from the same family should not be “housed” together and should rather be given their own private space, with ample stimulation and food and a secluded hiding place. Always consider your pet’s individual personality and needs when deciding which kennel or cattery is right for them and understand how the kennel may deal with aggression if it arises – if the answer is fear or pain then that is not the right kennel for you! Only consider kennels and catteries that accept pets with up to date vaccinations and try do a visit before you book, to check out the facilities. You can also look into boarding at your pet’s regular daycare or the vet if you have a sickly pet. For closer supervision boarding at a kennel or.cattery close to you holiday destination is also an option.
In-home pet boarding
If you look hard enough or are fortunate to know some who knows someone, you may be able to find an in-home pet boarder – someone who accepts dogs into their own home to care for them while you go away. This allows your dogs to socialise with other pets while still being supervised by the pet sitter who should provide more consistent attention. Again, it’s imperative to do your homework to confirm that you’re entrusting your loved ones to a responsible carer who understands dog behaviour and pet care and that will not take on too many boarders at once.
If your travel plans are suitably pet-friendly, why not consider taking your dog with you? More and more we are finding that places of accommodation are recognising the companionship between you and your pet and offering pet-suitable options. A quick search on the internet will help you plan accordingly. Whether traveling by car or by air, you can find more detailed tips on what to consider by clicking on the links.
Neighbours, friends or family
If all else fails and you’re still looking for good care why not consider asking a friend, family member or even neighbour to regularly pop in to feed your pets, give them clean water, play with them etc. Depending on your own relationship dynamics you may find it more difficult to dictate instructions than you would to a hired pet sitter, but chances are these people who are closer to you will feel more love and affection towards your pets, so will hopefully give them extra special attention.
No matter which route you choose the best thing you can do for your pet is consider his / her individual needs and make the most appropriate choice for them. Make sure microchip information is up to date before you depart and keeping a tag on your pets while you’re away may also assist in a quicker reunion should they manage to go missing. Always leave clear instructions regarding health care in case a medical decision needs to be made during this time (and make the necessary arrangements to settle bills in your absence). And finally, this is not the time to change your pet’s brand of food as it may cause a stomach upset if not done correctly. If needing to, 2017 can be the year that you change to a PFI brand, once you’re all settled back in to the daily grind.