Many of us with cats or dogs in our families champion the benefits of staycations and seek out pet-friendly accommodation in the UK so that we don’t have to leave our feline and canine companions behind when we’re on holiday. This summer’s heatwave has made holidaying in the UK an even smarter choice, with all the diverse landscapes Britain has to offer only a drive away.
However, sometimes you may want to book some guaranteed sunshine at an overseas coastal resort or explore the tourist attractions and culture of far flung destinations and the furry members of your family cannot travel with you.
For many of us, friends of family are around to pet-sit, providing an ideal scenario that provides both a low cost solution and peace of mind because you can fly off with complete confidence that the person looking after you pets loves them almost as much as you do. However, the friends and family approach to holiday pet care is not always viable; you may not have anyone that can help living nearby, they may not have the room in their house or their schedule to help, they may have pets of their own who don’t get on with your dog or cat or they may even be off on holiday at the same time as you!
So, what’s the best option when your personal network can’t help? Traditionally the answer has been to find a kennels or cattery – sometimes grandiosely called a ‘pet hotel’ these days – to accommodate your pet while you’re away. Operated by professionals and often located in a rural or semi-rural setting, this can be an excellent option. Most establishments are happy to accommodate any special needs and dietary requirements so, if you’re concerned about nutrition, simply take sufficient supply of your regular cat or dog food with you when you drop your pet off.
It’s worth trying to get a personal recommendation from a pet owner you trust when you’re researching suitable holiday accommodation for your pet, however, just to ensure that the establishment is right for your cat or dog and meets your expectations for sleeping area, exercise space and feeding regimes etc. You may want to shortlist a couple and visit them in advance just to be sure they’re right for you and your pet.
If your pet is nervous, does not like being around other animals or has a tendency to wander or bark, a kennels or cattery might not be the best choice. If this is the case, a pet sitter could be the answer and this presents you with two options; either to leave your pet with the pet sitter in their home or to have the pet sitter over to stay in your home with your pet.
Once again, personal recommendations are often the best way to find the right person to meet your pet’s needs. Where this is not possible, there are several online pet sitter websites you can turn to and you may even be able to find an ideal match by putting a shout out to local groups or pet forums on social media.
Whichever route you go down to identify your pet sitter, the same principles apply: ensure you have references and feel comfortable that they will follow any special instructions. And if they are going to look after your pet in their own home, it’s wise to visit in advance and ensure you’re happy with the environment, both in terms of the accommodation and the level of time, care and attention your pet will receive.
Needless to say, whatever option you choose, it’s important that your pet’s diet remains consistent and packed with complete nutrition. And when you find accommodation or a pet sitter that’s perfect for you and your pet, make sure you book them well in advance for your next pet-free jaunt because the best places can be popular at peak times so ideally you should book for your pet at the same time as you book for yourself. Bon Voyage!