Get Clarendon Street Vets’ tips for choosing holiday pet care this summer

June 7, 2023

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It’s the time of year when we are all busy planning our summer breaks. Some of these may include our pets but other destinations and accommodation will be less accessible, and some pets prefer to stay put.

Finding the right care for your pet is an important part of holiday preparations, so here are our top tips and things to consider when organising your holiday plans.

Happily, there are plenty of options. If your pet is not coming with you, you may have a friend or relative who can help. Make sure they have clear instructions to make things as easy as possible for them (after all, it is a big responsibility caring for someone else’s pet!) For example, what and when does your pet like to eat? Are there foods that should be avoided? Are there places or people your pet prefers? Are you happy with your pet mixing with other pets, and is their recall good enough to let them off the lead? If your pet is on any regular medications make sure you leave adequate supplies and instructions while you are away, and ideally order any repeat prescriptions a week or so before you go.

It is also important to leave details of what to do/ who to contact should you need help in their absence. We are often contacted by pet sitters and will always do our very best to help them care for your pets whilst you are away.

Alternatively there are boarding facilities. This may be a traditional kennel/ cattery or a pet sitter who takes care of your pet in their own home. Some animals are happy in the kennel environment, and you may prefer the structure and security of this option. Most facilities will require proof of up to date vaccinations before boarding your pets. Some vaccines, such as the kennel cough vaccination, are best given a few weeks before you go so that they are fully effective by the time you go. We can provide you with vaccination certificates if needed.

Other animals be happier in a home environment, with more of their creature comforts. Bear in mind that they may be mixing with other people, boarding pets or with the sitter’s own animals, so they will need to be flexible and sociable and you might want to check that the sitters own pets are also friendly and healthy and that the environment is safe and secure.

There is also the option of having a pet sitter come and visit or stay in your house with your pet. Some pets (certainly many cats) prefer a familiar environment and their usual routine may be more easily accommodated in this type of care. You may prefer your house to be occupied in their absence or you may be less keen on this option as it means the house has to be left reasonable clean and tidy when you depart!

Finding the right pet sitter or kennels.

Ask for recommendations

Start by asking for recommendations from other pet owners, friends, or family members with pets. You can also check online, with local training centres, vets, pets shops and rescue organisations, who may have lists of reputable pet sitters.

Our team at Clarendon Street Vets know of several local pet sitters who have helped local pets, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Look for a pet sitter with experience

When searching for a holiday sitter for your pet, look for someone who has experience with that particular species. Some sitters will be very familiar with dogs and cats for example, but may be less familiar with the needs of more exotic species, some of whom can have quite specialist care requirements. Check that your sitter has cared for similar pets in the past and understands their health and behavioural requirements. This will ensure that your companion receives proper care and attention while you’re away.

Meet the sitter in person

Before hiring a pet sitter, its great for you and your pet to meet them in person. This gives you both a change to discuss your pet’s care needs. You can ask any questions and either see where your pet will be staying, or show them around your home so they know where to find anything they need (and deal with tricky locks and home alarms!)

It also gives you a chance to observe how they interact with your pet and address any concerns you may have.

Many kennels and catteries now allow you to drop in unannounced for a chat and tour of facilities, which can be very reassuring (of course you should go prepared to wait a little if you catch them at a busy time!)

Ask for references

Ask the pet sitter for references from previous clients. This will give you an idea of their experience and the quality of care they provide. Be sure to follow up with these references and ask about their experience with the sitter. Larger set ups will usually have testimonials from previous clients online.

Consider the cost

Consider your budget when choosing holiday care for your pet. The cost of pet sitting can vary depending on location, experience, and the service provided. Generally you will pay more for a more flexible and bespoke service. That said, there are some very reputable house swop sites listing people who will come and stay in your home and look after your pets without a charge, as they benefit from free accommodation from which they can explore a new area of the country. However, keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better. You want to ensure that your pet is receiving proper care and attention, even if it means paying a little more.

Check for insurance

Ensure that the pet sitter you choose is insured. This will protect you, your pet and possibly your home in the event of any accidents or damages that may occur whilst your pet is under their care.

Contact our team on 01223 359021 if you have any further questions relating to summer pet care or any other healthcare concerns. If you are planning to travel overseas with your pet, there is also some good information to get you started on our website.

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