Holidays. We love them. Sun, sand, sea (or hills, snow, ski… However, there’s no denying they can actually be quite stressful – booking, planning and so on, not to mention everything at home to organise before you even consider leaving the country (or even the area) such as getting someone to water plants, keep-an-eye on the house… and what about the family pets? Maybe you travel for business too, involving similar levels of preparation. How you care for your pets while you’re away will depend very much on them and you – but here’s a few pointers for everybody on what NOT to do:
Do NOT take your dog. Not the right solution for everyone, obviously, but worth considering if you have a particularly nervy dog who won’t settle in a strange atmosphere or who dislikes travelling. There are plenty of alternatives if your plans or destination aren’t dog-friendly
Do NOT leave dogs home alone. Cats may well be fine for a day or two if a neighbour pops in at least daily to feed and refresh the water bowl, as would small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs but dogs need company and social interaction. Aside from the distress being alone would cause, you’re risking damage and destruction from separation anxiety.
Do NOT book a last-minute deal and expect your dog to be able to travel with you. Six-month quarantine is a thing of the past but rules vary from country to country and there is still a lot to arrange if he’s not already got a passport- not least a microchip and rabies vaccination.
Do NOT just book any old carer for your pet – check qualifications and experience, insurances and get some impartial recommendations. Think about it – pets are part of the family and you wouldn’t leave your children with a nursery or a childminder without thoroughly checking their credentials, would you?
Do NOT assume older children still at home would be able to care for your pet like you do. Even with the very best of intentions, unless they’re in the habit of day-to-day care they’re likely to forget or get side-tracked. Plus, what with work and an active social life, will they be around enough? And you can probably forget that walk if it’s raining…
Pets are a responsibility as well as a pleasure so take good care of them even when you’re not there – you’re sure to be able to relax more knowing your dog will be well cared for. Bon voyage!