If you are preparing to go on holidays - what are you going to do with your pets? Do they go with you or stay behind? What boarding alternatives are there and how can you be sure your pet will travel quietly with you. Lastly, what health care issues are important.
There are many effective and easy remedies you can choose when it comes to who should care for your pets when you are away on holiday.
I am sure you won't practice what some irresponsible holiday makers do. Some find a pet too much inconvenience and think nothing of dumping their cat or dog before they go away.
Certainly leaving your pets unattended at home is also not an option. Such lonely animals often escape when the boredom of solitude hits. These stray pets often suffer injuries from accidents and they can become lost.
Of course most people are very responsible and want to ensure their pets are safe while they are away.
Many folk couldn't bear to be without their pets when they go off for some rest and recreation. If you can take your pets with you then they will enjoy the change in routine as much as you.
Be careful if you are going camping and save embarrassment. Many camping grounds are National Parks where pets are totally prohibited.
Look for a book produced by Life - Be In It called Holidaying with your Dogs. It lists a variety of camping grounds and accommodation alternatives which allow dogs.
There are also many farm-stay organisations which are very happy to allow you to take your pets.
If you are intending to book your dog or cat into a boarding kennel, then ensure you do so months before. Many boarding kennels and catteries book out for the Christmas and Easter holidays months in advance. Other holiday periods are almost as bad.
I always advise pet owners to view their pet's potential accommodation to ensure the facilities are clean and well managed. Boarding kennel owners are usually happy with this but you may have to arrange the visit with them beforehand. In a boarding kennel, there are certain times of the day when the owners cannot allow visitors through due to the potential of noise from the dogs barking and the disturbance visitors may cause to other scheduled duties.
If a kennel owner flatly refuses, then I would go elsewhere.
Several organisations offer a home visit service for pets. With such services, the pets are left at home and the care-giver visits during the day to feed and exercise the pets. They will water your plants and also provide other services. For pets with the right temperament, this is a good alternative.
However, be aware that your pet will still be alone for most of the day and many pets will not tolerate this. If your pet is very attached to you it may not be content if you are gone for a long period. Another alternative may be better.
Many folk will have a house-sitter stay in their home when they are away. The pet stays in its home environment and that can be a very effective remedy.
The pets often enjoy the new face and the small change in routine.
Naturally, the house-sitter needs to have good credentials. I have friends who do this and it seems to work very well for the home owner and the house sitter.
Alternatively, having your pets cared for at the home of a friend or relative is a good idea.
If this is your preference, check that the fences will prevent your pet escaping.
Why not take your pet to visit this friend a few times before the holiday so it can acquaint itself with their house and garden?
Lastly, no matter the system of care you use when you are on holiday, be sure to fully identify your pet with tags or a microchip. Should your pet roam while you are away, identification will assist in its return to you otherwise, you may never see it again.
Remember that your pet will need to have its vaccinations up to date before being admitted into the kennels. For your pet's protection, its vaccinations should be given at least 10 days before the date of boarding as the vaccines won't cause immunity immediately.
While your veterinarian will advise more fully, a C5 vaccine covers your dog for both of the germs that can cause Canine Cough and those that cause Distemper, Parvovirus and Canine Hepatitis virus. Canine Cough is a contagious upper respiratory condition that can be a problem wherever dogs group together - especially in kennels.
For cats, the F3 vaccine is the minimum needed but you may also like to ask your vet about some of the new vaccines that are now available for diseases such feline leukaemia and feline AIDS.
This is also a good time to have your dog or cat wormed with an all-wormer tablet and to check that their heartworm preventative is up to date.
There are many alternatives for your dog's heartworm preventative, but my advice is to consider the Once-A-Year Heartworm Injection which you can have done at the same time that you have your pet's annual vaccinations.
Don't forget a bath or at least a good flea treatment is essential and if your pet is on medication of any sort, for example for arthritis or anxiety disorders, now is a good time to ensure you are well stocked with medication.
With a little forethought, you and your pets will have a happy holiday and you won't be dogged by the hassles that hound many others.