By Emma Di Salvo
As the proud owner of two cats and a rabbit, I can completely understand the stress of leaving your fur baby home when vacationing. It can feel overwhelming. Will they be okay? What if they get sick? Can I trust the person I’m leaving them with?
These are just some of the questions my husband and I have agonised over throughout the years. Finding the right person to accommodate your pet is not an easy task, but once you hit on an option that works for you and your pet, it’s well worth the stress!
Here are a few suggestions and things I have learned along the way about leaving your pets when away from home.
What Are Friends Or Family For?
Having a trusted friend or family member look after your fluff ball is reassuring. Your pet already knows them and, most importantly, can stay in their familiar environment and not have to move. This is especially important for cats. They detest change and will certainly not appreciate being taken out of their comfort zone and having their routine messed with. At home, they can relax, play with their toys and have the familiar scent of their owners.
Another benefit to leaving someone you know in charge is that they will be more conscious of their surroundings than a stranger might be. This would become important if they needed to take your little one to the vet. I would much rather have someone who knows the area and can get to the vet fast than someone unfamiliar with their surroundings and potentially getting lost on the way.
Top Tip: Your friend is less likely to ask for payment if you keep a well-stocked fridge!
The Next Best Thing…
If you can’t arrange for a friend to look after your pet, the next best thing is hiring a pet sitter. The great thing about pet sitters is that, like a friend, they will stay or visit your home, so your pets don’t need to endure the stress of moving. The only drawback to this option is that you won’t know the person who will be looking after your fur baby.
As many people see their pets as part of the family, putting that level of trust in someone you don’t know can be testing and stressful (believe me, I know). However, if you have a good experience, you can always use the company again and put in a request for the same person.
Many pet babysitters are available; however, I recommend PetBacker as it has a good reputation and is available worldwide.
Top Tip: Read as many reviews and references as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for daily updates, including videos and photos.
Pet hotels have become really popular in recent years, and it’s clear to see why. Pampered pooches and feline family members can enjoy VIP rooms, rooms with tv’s, swimming pools and even spas that offer hydrotherapy for your pet! This option doesn’t come cheap, and even the most basic rooms can cost up to $100 per night if you reside in the USA.
Of course, prices will vary depending on location and star rating. In Asia, pet hotels tend to be cheaper, with the average price as low as $20 per night, and in Europe, you can find a decent pet hotel for around $35-$50. This option is especially beneficial for sociable animals who enjoy making friends.
Top Tip: Visit the pet hotel without calling or making an appointment. See it for what it really is. Observe how they run things, how they treat the animals and evaluate whether you get a good vibe or not.
I’ll let you in on a little secret—many vets clinics accommodate animal boarding. This is probably the last place that someone might consider sending their pet, but it can be an excellent option for pets who are elderly, prone to ill health or those with additional needs.
It’s cheap, the people are trained to care for animals, and if God forbid your fur baby gets sick, well, they’re in the perfect place! This is by no means a luxurious stay for your animal, but it is a reassuring option for some and one that my husband and I have used for our cat Samuel many times.
Top Tip: Ask for the biggest cage possible for your pet. Make sure your pet will be allowed to wander around and get exercise regularly.
Many options are available for leaving your pets when you are away. Whether you choose a friend, pet babysitter, hotel or veterinary clinic, always let your pets’ well-being and happiness guide your decision.
Remember to give your fur baby extra cuddles and kisses when you’re home, and a souvenir from your travels is always appreciated!