Pet staycation, pet hotel or pet passenger? Easter holiday tips for pet parents
Kiwis love to travel, and any borders being closed doesn’t mean most will be sitting at home over the Easter break. But what to do with the fur babies?
Your animal’s mental health is as serious a consideration as their physical health when deciding how to house them while you travel. Pet insurance specialist PD Insurance has these tips to help you make an informed choice about holiday pet accommodation.
Easter Treat Trails… In Kennels/Catteries
Here they can be safely contained with professional carers at their beck and bark; where holiday activities might even include an Easter treat hunt (no chocolate, of course):
- Along with your own research, ask for recommendations on pet-specific Facebook groups and look online for independent customer reviews.
- Visit in advance to meet the owners, carers and investigate the facilities.
- Ensure your pet’s vaccinations and flea/worm treatments are current beforehand.
- Take familiar toys and old, unwashed clothing of yours – they’ll be comforted curling up in your smell.
- Spend a little time there when you drop them off and be relaxed when leaving.
HUHA NZ founder Carolyn Press-McKenzie recommends always visiting in advance to meet the caretakers and view amenities, saying, “You have to make sure they’re your type of people, and it’s the right fit for your cat or dog. A boisterous Labrador puppy will need a very different environment to an older pug who just wants to sit on someone’s lap!’’
Easter Staycation… Hanging with Friends/Families
There will likely be one excited family member who would love to have them; or, organise reciprocal pet minding with a neighbour or local friend:
- Ensure your animal already gets along with theirs. Playdate or two prior?
- Tags, chips and documentation need to be up to date in case they run away.
- Let your co-parent know about any special care requirements or quirks.
- Again, leave behind a couple of items with your smell on them for comfort.
- Enjoy time playing with your pet in that environment before heading off.
Bunny Hop… To Own Home/Pet Sitters
Energetic and enthusiastic animal lovers can take over in this holiday help situation:
- Choose your house or pet sitters wisely; most pet parents know other animal lovers on sight – even more so after pointed questioning – so go with your gut instinct.
- Ask for their police clearance certificate.
- Source references from previous customers.
- Before booking them in, discuss how often they’re expected to be home to feed, play and simply be there for your pet. Can they accommodate this?
- Leave detailed instructions on food, habits, exercise needs, local vet, emergency vet and health history.
Home Alone… Independent Types
This staycation situation is more suitable for cats where a neighbour or nearby local can feed and check on them regularly. You could also invest in electronic feeders to stop them gobbling all their food at once. Fresh flow water fountains work a treat too.
Press-McKenzie says that while this arrangement often works well for quite territorial cats, very sociable felines might go in search of comfort and attention, putting themselves at risk in the process.
Travelling with Your Pets
Of course, there’s always the option of travelling with your pet. Is it possible to pack up their toys and treats and take them along? A recent PD Insurance survey found 24% of Kiwis do take their pet on holidays.
If this is you, here are some tips:
- Double check your destinations are aware of (and are ok with) you bringing your pet/s to stay.
- Read up about the fencing, play areas and other amenities available at your stops (both accommodation and during daytrips) – how do they match up with your needs?
- Ensure you have plenty of food and water just in case you’re held up in the inevitable holiday traffic. Here are more tips for easier travelling with pets.
- Stopping for a break? Never leave your fur kid in the vehicle for any length of time, as cars heat up fast even on cool days.
- If you’re going for a walk, know that if the road/path surface is too hot for your bare feet then it’s likely the same for your pet.
- Always safely secure animals in a car cage/carrier/harness. Pets distracting drivers is a more common cause of road accidents than you might think, as is unsecured pets becoming unintentional missiles in a crash.
If you’ve gone yonder without your pet over the holidays, the final tip is to look forward to a very joyful reunion… with a towel ready for all the licks, dribble and tears!
Leandri Smith – The Mail Room
027 365 9003 | [email protected]