Now that we are out of lockdown and free to roam we might be itching to dust off those passports and see the world, or at least pack a suitcase for a blissful domestic break.
But what about furry family members?
Our fur companions have had it pretty good in lockdown, we’ve been home a lot more, we may or may not have walked them more, and they definitely loved sharing lunch scraps while they got comfy beside our desks while we worked, or played with the kids home from school. It’s like the best summer holiday ever, only in winter.
So how do we leave them behind when they have gotten so used to being with us all the time?
We love our pets and many families are made up of devoted parents with fur babies.
Australia is estimated to have 29 million pets with around 5.1 million dogs and 4 million cats notionally, but those estimates were taken in 2019, before the Covid pandemic, and as anyone who has tried to buy a puppy in the last 18 months knows, dog ownership has skyrocketed.
That gives us Aussies one of the highest incidences of pet ownership in the world, and those pets are pretty pampered. Leaving them behind on holiday makes for some hard choices about looking out for their health and happiness.
In this blog we’ll go over some options for what to do with your pets when you go on holiday.
Because pets are so important in our lives there is a growing market for pet-friendly accommodation. Taking your pet with you can give them an adventure and you know they’ll be happy wherever you are.
Within this there is a really wide range of options for you including:
Holiday homes - private homes like Stayz, AirBnB and even traditional Bed and Breakfasts have lots of pet friendly options and the ability to refine your online search based on pet friendly accommodation.
In some cases you might need to pay $20 - $40 dollars more to have your pet with you and you might only have the option to keep them outside, but there is plenty of space for them to play and they have secure fences to keep them safe.
Caravan parks - You don’t need to have your own caravan to travel with pets. Most caravan park cabins and suits are pet friendly as long as your pets are controlled on a lead. Check with providers to see what the requirements are.
Pet friendly airlines - Before The pandemic hit our tourism industry a number of airlines were bringing in policies that allowed passengers to travel domestically in Australia with their pets in the cabin. That's great news for people who want to go a bit further from home but don't want to risk putting cages in the storage areas and having to drug their pets, which really can be dangerous but is a requirement in cargo. Some of those regulations might not be ready to go live just yet, but it’s worth asking about what options there are (or soon will be) for traveling with pets on planes.
There are options to have people live in your home while you are away and typically you don’t need to pay them as you cover their power and water use and provide the use of your home.
Another option is just to have someone drop in to feed and play with your pet once or twice a day which comes with a cost but it’s low compared to kennels and pet hotels and usually you’ll find higher availability if you’ve left your pet booking to the last minute.
Whether you have a live-in or walk-in carer come to your home, your dpet will feel comfortable in their own environment and can be taken on walks along their usual routes and not be unsettled by new places.
Having someone unknown in the home can be intimidating for some pets at first but they usually come around pretty fast to have some attention and something to eat.
Always make sure you get background checks and police checks carried out to be sure you are bringing someone you can trust into your home. Ask for references or referrals from friends and use a reputable company if available.
A really flexible option that can work is taking your pet to live with a friend while you are away. They will need to get used to new digs which might not be a good option for stressy pets, but if your pet is great with other families this might work out well. The real danger here is escapes, your pet might make a break for home only to get stuck halfway in fear or be injured in trying to cross roads so suitable containment is really essential.
Boarding kennels are a great option for some pets. With our love for pets so big now many boarding kennels are actually more like pet resorts and pet hotels, which we’ll go into a bit more next.
Typically kennels are basic caged accommodation that is clean and well maintained with exercise areas and interaction for pets who are okay with that and prices are affordable.
Your pet must be fully vaccinated (which means you need to have this arranged ahead of time with your vet as sme vaccinations doses are ongoing) and getting them in can be tricky as they tend to book out quickly with regulars, especially over Chrristmas and Easter holidays so look to book well in advance.
Kennels are usually located well outside residential areas, giving pets lots of space to run, but also taking care of any noise (dogs can get pretty vocal when they are kept together and/or missing their family). This can make dropping them off amid your holiday rush a problem. To counter that issue many pet kennels offer shuttle service that pick up and drop off your furry family member so you have more time to pack and finalise your trip.
If you are stuck you can also try your local vet. Vet’s often provide accomodation on site which might be more convenient for you, especially if it’s a short stay or your pet has medication requirements, although kennels also maintain any medical schedule your pet may have for a small fee.
If you are feeling guilty about indulging in a holiday and leaving your pet behind, a pet hotel might be the paw-fect answer. There are more available now than ever with a dizzying range of options to choose from. With vets on staff or even animal behaviourists employed as pet handles and carers you will be leaving your pet in safe hands.
Pet hotels can cater to different needs and even provide different rooms to suit and will tend to excitable animals in different ways to shy or stressed ones so what you are really buying is total peace of mind.
It’s not as impractical as it seems. A flat screen in their room on a free to air channel provides the right background noise to be soothing to dogs, after all there is constant background chatter in your home, even if the TV isn’t on.
For cats the best ‘TV’ for them is a window to outside where they can see the goings on and do some bird watching or sunbathing.
The prices can be high but expect round the clock attention, medical checks, grooming and a gourmet menu as well as a daily photo shoot so you can see just how well your pet is living the high-life.
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