What to do with Your Pets During Holidays?
Dust off your suitcase because the holidays have finally arrived! For so many South Africans, December is the only time we can book a vacation and get away; either off to the bush or the beach, and if we’re really lucky, a trip overseas. Making sure your pets are taken care of while you are away should be a major priority. Fortunately, there are several options available for pet owners.
Give your Pets a Staycation
As soon as you’ve confirmed dates for your holiday, make finding a pet sitter your next priority. If you have a friend or family member who can stay in your home while you are away, that would be the best option for everyone including your pets. Separation anxiety is a common issue for cats and dogs, so keeping them in their own home would be the least stressful experience. As long as they have someone to give them as much as attention as you do, your pets will be just fine while you’re away.
An alternative option is to find a reputable pet sitter. Some sitters will stay in your home while you are gone, while others will come over every day to feed, walk, bath and clean up after your pets. Ideally, the pet sitter will spend some time giving your fur babies love every day to keep them from feeling anxious. Pet sitters will require payment, so when you plan the financial part of your holiday, include this fee in your budget.
Whichever option you choose, try to have the person who is coming over spend some time with your pets while you are still at home so everyone can become acquainted. Keep food, leashes, vet details and medication in an easy to find place in your house and leave relevant notes and instructions to make the commitment as easy as possible. Make sure you have communicated everything about looking after your pet to the sitter including house rules and alarm codes.
Extended Play Date
If your dogs are used to visiting friends and family with you, taking them to the home of a willing friend or family member is an easy option. There are still a few factors to consider though. If there will be other dogs where your dogs are staying, make sure they are comfortable with each other ahead of the time to avoid issues when you are away. Consider whether your dogs and the other dogs are sterilised and socialised; whether the dogs sleep inside or outside and how different it is to your dogs’ living situation; whether your dogs are used to being around a swimming pool or cars driving in and out of the garden. Accidents happen so quickly, even when the most attentive people are involved, so try to find a temporary home where the routine is similar to the way your dogs currently live.
Taking your cat to a temporary home can be a much more complicated, but not impossible idea. If your cat isn’t used to dogs or doesn’t enjoy the company of other cats, consider asking someone who has no pets. Cleaning a litter box, keeping the cat from getting out of the house in case he/she tries to find their way home, and providing lots of love in a stressful situation is a big ask so make sure the person you are asking is really up to the task. Include enough food, relevant medication, and all your fur-baby’s favourite items like toys, beds and blankets when you drop them off for their extended play date. While you may get away without paying the person kind enough to give your pet a home, consider buying a thank you gift to show your appreciation.
Board your Fur-Babies
There are many pet boarding options available throughout the country, but you will need to do research to find the right one for your cat or dog. Before you make a booking, try to find reviews and recommendations online and via word-of-mouth, and then visit the facility in person to make sure the place is adequate.
A great advantage of pet hotels is that staff are used to caring for animals who may be anxious about their humans leaving them, but it is important to find a reputable facility. Depending on how long you will be away for, pet hotels or boarding facilities can be very cost effective and sometimes discounts are given if you have more than two pets to board. This is something you could also budget for when planning your holiday. If you cannot find someone to stay home with your cat, a cattery could be a much better option than sending your feline to an unexperienced friend’s house.
Pet Friendly Holidays
It is very unusual for people to travel with their cats, but dogs are often taken along for holidays. There are many pet friendly accommodation options in South Africa, but it is important to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. If you are taking your dogs along, make sure they are properly socialised and trained not to go wandering too far without you. If there is a swimming pool and your dogs aren’t swimmers, take extra precautions to keep them safe throughout the holiday.
If your holiday begins and ends with a road trip, make frequent stops so your dogs can rehydrate, relieve themselves and stretch their legs. A secure leash, nausea meds and a water bowl are essential for long trips. If your dogs aren’t used to travelling in a car, a few practice rounds before you leave are a good idea. This way, you and your canines will know what to expect when the holiday kicks off. The Queen Pet shop stocks everything you need to take your dogs along for a road trip, including fun chew toys for anxious personalities, leashes which are appropriate for the size of your dogs and calming medication to keep your fur-babies relaxed throughout the trip.
Do you have any tips for pet owners going on vacation? Share them on The Queen Pet Shop Facebook page.