In the run-up to Christmas, next year’s summer holiday seems like a lifetime away. But as soon as the calendar clicks over to January you’ll be thinking about warmth and excitement, and booking your holiday pretty quickly.
If you have a dog or dogs, you may be used to taking them with you. There are many dog-friendly holiday cottages available, located in beautiful parts of the country ideal for walkies. If you have other pets, such as cats or birds, you might also be used to taking them with you and have booked one of the many pet-friendly holiday cottages there are in the UK and overseas.
But if your pet does not travel well – if it gets nervous or travels sick, for example – then it may not be the kindest thing to take your pet with you. However, whatever you do, do not leave your dog in the house on its own with only a brief, daily visit from a neighbor. Your dog will be very stressed, very unhappy and may well do considerable damage to your house as well as annoy the neighbors night and day with howling and barking. Animal charities like the RSPCA receive many calls from concerned (or angry) neighbors about dogs that have been left with part-time casual dog-sitters.
If you really cannot take your dog with you on holiday then find a good boarding kennel. That’s easier said than done, and you should take as much time researching the kennels in your area as you would research nurseries or schools for your children. You’ll want to feel that your dog is safe and happy, or you will spend your holiday worrying.
Read online reviews of local kennels to narrow down your choices. Visit those on your list and look at how clean the place looks and have a good smell, too. See how the staff interact with your dog and how willing the staff are to show you around even if you have not booked a visitor called ahead.
See whether you are told that you must bring in proof of vaccination and flea/worm treatment. If that does not seem to be necessary, remember that there may be other dogs there that could pass on something nasty to your best friend.
Each dog should have its own indoor and outdoor area and there should be a dividing wall or fence between each area. Ask about how dogs are kept entertained, and how often they are fed and so on.
Get a feel for the atmosphere and how happy the dogs appear. Then take a view about whether you feel happy leaving your dog there. You could ask for updates on your dog’s wellbeing by text while you’re away, just to put your mind at rest. Then you can go and enjoy your holiday – and perhaps take a long weekend break somewhere close to home in pet-friendly holiday cottages with your dog on another occasion.