With holiday time looming on the horizon, many dog owners are left with the dilemma of what to do with their pets when they decide to go away. For people who intend on holidaying on British shores, there's a wonderful option of taking their four legged friend with them for that well deserved vacation, and these days there are loads of dog friendly holiday places dotted around the country. As long as your pet is well behaved, there should never be a problem wherever you do decide to go in the UK on holiday.
However, sometimes getting away to warmer climates is just too attractive an option to pass up – and this means pooch cannot go too. Finding the perfect boarding kennel can pose a real problem and some dogs hate having to spend any time in them – no matter how brilliant the kennels are. Naturally, you would want to visit the boarding kennels before you decide which one to leave your four legged friend in, and once you're happy with the location, you should book the dates as early as possible because a good kennel will usually get booked up pretty quickly, especially at certain times of the year when lots of people go on vacation.
You do have more options other than boarding kennels, one of which is to employ a house sitter who would also be able to look after your dog and any other pets you may have. This is a great alternative as it means your dog will not have to go through any stress of being left somewhere that's unfamiliar to them. Being able to stay in their own home environment is much nicer for them all round even if they do so with someone they don't know.
However, when you look for a house/dog sitter you need to make sure you choose a reputable company making sure it is one that has many good reviews from satisfied clients. If you know anyone else who has used a service in the past, ask them if they would recommend the people they used. The best recommendations are passed from person to person by word of mouth.
The other advantage of using a pet sitter is that is usually works out a lot less expensive than boarding kennels. Of course, other things to think about are if you do send your best friend to kennels, they may pick up a bug or two including kennel cough whilst they are staying there.
When you choose to leave your dog at home with a house come pet sitter, make sure the arrangement is for them to live in your home whilst you are away on holiday. It is never a very good idea to have someone just drop in to see your dog and any other animals you have just two or three times a day. Remember your dog needs to have company because they will miss you when you are away.
These days there are some great alternatives to traditional boarding kennels called “Home from Home” boarding. The ethos is that when owners go away on holiday – then so should their pets. This means your four legged friend lives the life of Riley in a luxurious boarding kennel with everything they would ever need to keep them busy, happy and content in a real home environment.
All boarding kennels must have licenses which are issued by the relevant local authorities and this includes “Home from Home” ones, so if you're thinking about leaving your dog with someone who operates a home from home system, make sure they are fully licensed and insured.
If you are planning a holiday abroad, then make sure you book your pet sitter, boarding kennels or Home from Home arrangement well in advance. Remember, lots of pet owners go abroad during the months of July and August, so this tends to be the busiest times for kennels.
Most boarding kennels or anyone else who looks after a number of dogs for any length of time, would insist that your dog is up to date with all their vaccinations. If you are thinking about leaving your dog with a traditional boarding kennel, you may want to discuss giving your dog a kennel cough vaccination with your vet – especially if your pet has not had the vaccination. If they have then your pet might just need a booster. The majority of kennels insist on dogs having the vaccination before they will take them in.
You should make sure your dog has all these vaccinations even if you send them to a “Home from Home” kennel, because they will be in contact with other dogs during their stay there. It is always better to be safe than sorry and a well run home boarding kennel should insist on them anyway.
If your beloved pet is a little destructive or has other habits which may be a problem, you need to let the people looking after them know. As mentioned before, some dogs get very anxious when they are separated from their owners or don't like to be shut in – so it's important that anyone looking after them knows about your pet's little or big quirks.
If your dog is a bit nervous or if they can be possessive or aggressive, then home boarding might not be an option – whereas a pet sitter might be the right solution if you don't want to send your pet to a traditional boarding kennel.
One very good idea is to drop in unannounced to a boarding kennel because like this you get a truer picture of how the kennel is run – and this includes how hygienic everything is at any time of the day. Dog runs should be clean and there should be a nice smell of disinfectant not dog poo. You will also get to see how the people working in the kennels treat the dogs that are there – which is very important because you want the peace of mind that your dog is being well cared for whilst you are away on holiday. Boarding kennels are regularly inspected by councils – and these days things are very strict when it comes to hygiene in kennels and how the places are run and if they are up to date with fire regulations.
Knowing your pet is safe and happy whilst you are away on holiday is important because it might ruin a well deserved holiday abroad if you are worrying out your pooch back at home. Organising things earlier rather than later will make the whole process a lot easier all round.