The school holidays are fast approaching and no doubt you’re already planning a trip with the family – but this begs the question: pet hotel, or what else to do with the fur child?
Cooper and I have had dogs most of our lives. We know that they all have different personalities and cope in varying ways outside of our company. Also, we learnt lessons from the years spent as younger, less experienced dog owners, on what is good or not so good for pets when we are absent.
Pet hotel, in home sitting or take them with you? Questions to ask yourself about your pooch:
- Does my dog have problems with unfamiliar people or surroundings?
- Does my dog get along well with other dogs?
- How long is reasonable to leave my dog at home on his/her own for (keeping in mind, they are social creatures)?
- How much exercise does my dog need, even if we’re travelling/on holidays?
The answers to these questions take you some way to deciding on what you need to arrange for your four-legged friend(s) when planning your own break away.
Pet hotel and dog-friendly accommodation: can you take your dog with you?
Of course, one option is to take your pooch with you and this requires a lot of planning. The main things to keep in mind are to book dog friendly accommodation and to choose a travel destination that best fits your dog’s breed. It might not be ideal to go hiking with a dachshund, for example. But a hotel that allows dogs (dog hotel) is perfect.
You also have to think about if you will travel by car or plane (and the high costs of the latter). Both in the car and on a plane, the dog should be in a dog crate. It will take time for your dog to get used to staying in a crate over an extended period of time, which means you have to train him/her before you go on a holiday. Travelling can mean a lot of stress for your pooch if it’s not facilitated in the right way.
Not everything that is expensive is the best option. A boarding kennel is one of the most expensive and usually least ideal options to consider (I personally have had both wonderful and terrible experiences, and it truly depends on whether the establishment is run by genuine, caring ‘dog people’ or not).
Your dog is in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people and won’t get a lot of individual attention, because the sitter-to-dog ratio can be as low as 1:100. The dogs often sleep and stay in small cages. A positive however, is that your dog has a lot of friends to play with when in the running yard (assuming there is one – which there should be).
Friends and family
This might be the best and most trustworthy option (shout out to our family in Cairns – you know who you are). Your dog is already familiar with the people and surroundings, this means less stress when you’re away.
If your dog stays with friends or family, make sure they have their favourite toy and/or dog bed. We’d also leave something that smelled like us (eg. an old t-shirt). It only makes sense that your dog stays there if your friend or family member is at home often enough to take care of the pooch and has fun doing it.
Your dog can also stay at your home and someone comes to feed and walk him/her every day, but keep in mind that dogs can break things, tip over their water bowl, get hurt or very anxious if left alone for extended periods of time.
In-home dog sitting
When your dog feels uncomfortable being in unfamiliar surroundings for a long period of time this is a good option, as long as it’s something you are happy with too.
A dog sitter will come and live in your house for the time you’re on holiday. There are many options advertised in local newspapers and online, but you’ll want to be satisfied with references before leaving someone the keys to your home.
Dog sitting at the minder’s home
A great alternative for dogs that need that extra level of TLC, and easy to find thanks to the internet. Dog sitters are mostly passionate ‘dog people’ who currently own a dog, or who have had a dog in the past but cannot make the long-term commitment.
As you can meet the minder prior to committing, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing your dog is in good hands. There’s plenty of services we are aware of, like Borrow My Doggy in the UK, or FindADogMinder.com.au in Australia, where you can even choose the kind of property your prefer for your pooch to hang out at, and all minders are insured and screened too.
Do you have tips, thoughts or suggestions on caring for dogs while you’re on holidays? We’re passionate dog people so would love to hear from you… leave a note in the comments below.
Information shared with us via findadogminder.com.au