Christmas is over, and the holiday adverts from people like TUI (others are available) start advertising on the TV, which prompts you to book the summer holiday for the family.
At this point, you should also start thinking about who will care for your dog. Family, friend, home border, pet sitter or a licensed kennel/hotel
Hopefully, this article will help you make a more informed decision about what is best for you and your dog.
A home-from-home boarding
In recent years this has become popular with owners with very sociable dogs. Home borders take your dog into their home whilst you are on holiday.
One of the advantages of using a home border where your dog goes and lives in their house whilst you are away is that your dog will receive much higher attention than they would in the kennel.
If your dog is friendly and easygoing with other dogs, they should settle into the temporary home easily. This means you can go off and enjoy your holiday without worrying.
If your dog is the type to get stressed out with changes and not great with others, then consider a home sitter.
It is important to make sure whoever you choose is licensed by the lol council and has suitable insurance, training, etc.
.In the same way as choosing a dog walker, you must set up a meet and greet with the person you decide to look after your dog in their home. A responsible home boarder will also do an overnight trial so your dog gets to know them before you go away and are happy to stay with them and their family.
A home boarders checklist for when you visit
- Are they licensed
- Are wires and cables all hidden,
- Do they have gates to help separate the dogs if they need to
- Is the garden safe and secure
- Are cleaning chemicals locked away.
- Do the dogs currently in their care look well looked after and happy
- Observe how they handle the dogs in their care
When leaving your dog with a home boarder, make sure that you discuss how much exercise they will get, whether they be able to play in a garden and let them know anything they should be aware of
Pet sitters can help make your absence less stressful for your dog when you are away for the day—weekend, or longer.
The reason is that your dog stays in their familiar surroundings and continues their routine as much as possible.
Pet sitters are also suitable for multi-pet households as they can feed the cat/guinea pigs, etc.
However, it is important to remember that pet sitters stay in your home, so they will need somewhere to sleep, the use of the bathroom and kitchen, and appliances, including TV and wifi, etc.
Whilst you may be able to get a friend or a family member to dog sit, it is often better to get a professional dog sitter who is fully insured and first aid trained to help out.
When looking for a live-in pet and house sitter, it is a good idea to ask other pet owners if they can recommend anyone or ask local Facebook groups for recommendations as a starting place. Like dog walkers, not every dog sitter will be suitable for every dog.
Recommendations are a much better place to start than apps like Rover. However, it is still advisable to meet up with them and see how your dog takes to them, ask for references from previous clients etc.
Unlike home, border pet sitters do not need a license but should be insured and have done suitable training rather than just looking to stay in someone’s house for free.
How to choose the right boarding kennel/Hotel
Dog kennels have been around for years (my first dog was 30 years ago, went to a kennel and loved it). However,m you will find that decent dog kennels/hotels like Elmtree will get booked quickly and well in advance (just like borders and pet sitters), so make sure you are organised.
Like any other pet care, it is essential that you do your research when choosing a kennel. Try to visit the kennel/hotel before you go away; This will allow you to check their current licence, what sort of kennel your dog will be kept in, ask how often they will be taken out of the kennel for walks and exercise and how many times a day.
What to expect from a licensed kennel
A dog boarding kennel should offer your dog its own living space (unit) unless you have more than one dog. It is ok for them to share/ The living space should be tall enough for your dog to stand y at its full height, lie down and have room for them to stretch and be able to turn around etc. It should also have a separate toilet area and space so they can be alone, e.g. not be seen or be able to see people and the other dogs.
At minimum, your dog should be taken out for a walk, exercise at least once a day, and have access to games and enrichment toys (either provided by them or you). The better doggy hotels will take your dog out twice a day.
When you visit, check that the kennels are well-ventilated and clean and tidy. Asl if you can see some of the other dogs that are staying and see if they appear to be happy
Many kennels now have cameras installed to keep an eye on the dogs, so should be able to provide you with reports on your dog and his behaviour whilst they are staying with them.
Placing your dog in a kennel for the first time (or indeed any time) is stressful for you and your dog. I recommend that the first stay your dog away from you and their home is a short time (just like when you start leaving the dog alone during the day) to see how they cope.
Make sure you provide the licensed kennels with your dogs bedding, their favourite toy et as this will help them settle down.
If your dog is used to having human company around a lot of the time, then please consider home boarding or a pet sitter.
Details to give to your dog carer
It doesn’t matter which option you choose, whether it be Kennels, dog sitters or home boarding. The info they will require is pretty much the same.
- Please provide details of any special diet they are on
- Make sure you supply complete written instructions of any medication they may be on, what time they need to be given it, and the dosage required
- As well as your contact details and detail of where you are staying, it is also essential that you provide emergency details of a friend or relative in case you can’t be contacted
- Provide details of your vet, as well as inform your vet know that you are away and that your pet Buttler will be looking after your dog
- Provide details of your pet’s microchip, as well as making sure they are up to date
- Emergency detail of a friend or relative in this country, especially if you are going abroad in case the worse should happen, and you can’t be contacted
Here at Finchley dog walker we offer a premium home sitting service for your dog and, as well as having an Enhanced DBS via the scouts, are also first aid trained and can provide references from happy clients
Recommended pet sitters, home borders and kennels
Below are some other pet-caring services that I either know personally or have used
Below are some related articles that we think you might be interested in