by James Cave
You’ve been planning it for months, years even: the time off has been agreed, you’ve saved up for months and you’ve done enough research to compile a Lonely Planet. There’s just one problem: what do you do with the pets?
In many cases it’s not possible to bring them with you, especially if you’re going overseas. Some airlines do allow you to take pets with you, although they would be placed in cargo, however you would need to check with your accommodation at your final destination to make sure they also allow pets. You would also need to check what the country’s restrictions are on bringing pets into the country: some countries do not allow you to bring your pets in directly, and require them to go through a quarantine period which can last anywhere from a couple of days to several months.
Of course if you’re staying within your own country, this isn’t such a big issue, depending on how you’re getting to your destination. There are an increasing number of pet-friendly hotels, and if things really get bad you and Milo can pitch a tent together, although that might not be the dream vacation you had imagined.
So if it gets to the stage where you’re unable to bring your cat and the dog with you, let them down gently: they won’t be working on their tans with you this year. The good news is, even if they aren’t coming on an all-inclusive holiday to Costa Rica, there are some pretty good alternatives back home, pet sitters being one.
Pet sitters vary from the traditional pet sitting agency which assigns you one of its members. That person will come out to either stay at your property with the pet, or pop in once or twice a day to feed it and make sure it’s okay.
A new breed of pet sitters are also available online through various pet sitting websites which connect pet owners with sitters who want to visit their area and are willing to look after animals in return for accommodation. Most come with references and some even have police background checks, so don’t be shy to ask for credentials and proof of experience before settling on a sitter.
Of course for shorter breaks, if it’s just a couple of days, you could ask friends and family. Most should be willing to help although do take their circumstances into account: those with a baby or small children may not be as willing, and those with demanding day jobs may not be around the house as much to keep the pets company.
As a final option, you can book your pets into a kennel or cattery. This is often seen as a last resort for many owners who would prefer that their pets were given more one-on-one attention, but if this is the only option left it’s one worth looking into. Be sure to visit the premises beforehand to make sure that you are completely satisfied with the quality and cleanliness, and as with all of the above options, ask enough questions until you are completely satisfied.
James Cave writes for the pet sitting website Trusted Housesitters which connects home and pet owners with pet sitters who are willing to look after their animals while they’re away.