Going on holiday: finding care for your pets

If you can’t take your pet on holiday with you, you’ll need to find someone suitable to look after them while you’re away. Nowadays, there’s lots of different options for holiday pet care:

  • Friends and family
  • Professional pet sitters.
  • Boarding kennels, catteries, or ‘pet hotels’

What’s best for your pet

Lots of pets find the upheaval of going into kennels or catteries quite stressful. They’d prefer to stay in their own home where they feel safe and secure. Friends and family or professional pet sitters might be able to look after your pet in your home. You can find a pet sitter through the National Association of Registered Pet Sitters. Call 0845 230 8544 or visit their website to find a local pet sitter.

Some pet sitters, boarding kennels or ‘pet hotels’ offer home boarding. This means your pet will be staying in a home environment, not a kennel. This is a good solution for pets who need a little extra care or who’re nervous of being in a kennel.

If those options aren’t available, you should book your pet into a reputable local kennel or cattery. Do plenty of research and ask friends or your vet for recommendations. Good boarding places often get fully-booked during busy holiday times, like summer and Christmas, so book early.

Preparing for boarding

Here are our vets’ top tips to help make sure your pet stays happy and healthy while you’re away:

  • Vaccinations: Reputable boarding kennels and catteries will all want to know that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Unvaccinated pets won’t be allowed to stay, as there’s a risk they’ll pass diseases on to other pets. Speak to your vet about when your pet needs it’s boosters and get any necessary vaccinations well in advance. Make sure your pet’s vaccination record is up-to-date and take it along when you drop your pet off for boarding.
  • Medication: If your pet has to take regular medication to keep them well, make sure you have everything your pet needs to cover the time you’re away. Speak to the person who’s looking after you pet and leave written instructions for them to follow. They’ll need to know what medication to give and when.
  • Contact details: Make sure the person looking after your pet has your vet’s contact details in case of emergencies. They’ll also need your contact details for while you’re away – e.g. the name and address of your hotel.
  • Food and exercise: A sudden change in your pet’s diet can give them an upset stomach. Provide more than enough of your pet’s usual food to cover the time you’ll be away. Leave written instructions about how much food should be given and when, and how much exercise your pet will need.
  • Toys and blankets: Blankets which smell of home can help your pet to settle into their temporary home. Their favourite toys will help stop them from getting bored if they’re in a kennel on their own.