Pet staycation,

hotel or passenger? Holiday pet accommodation tips for pet parents

Kiwis love to travel, and the border being closed doesn’t mean most will be sitting at home all summer.

But what to do with the fur babies? Results from a recent ‘pets and COVID’ survey by pet insurance specialist PD Insurance found 23% of pet parents saw separation anxiety in pets after the lockdown lifted.

Your animal’s mental health – and, of course, its physical health – is a serious consideration when deciding how to house them while you enjoy holidays elsewhere.

Here are a few tips provided by PD Insurance to help you make an informed choice:

White Christmas… In kennels/catteries

Safely contained – it won’t snow but people may still sing to them: 

  • 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 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 pet. A boisterous Labrador puppy will need a very different environment to an older pug who just wants to sit on someone’s lap!’’

Arthur Christmas… Staying with friends/family

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.
  • Take the time to play with your pet in that environment before heading off.

Elf Christmas… House/pet sitters 

Energetic and enthusiastic animal lovers can take over:

  • Choose your house or pet sitters wisely; most pet parents know other animal lovers on sight so always go with your gut instinct. 
  • Ask for their police clearance certificate.
  • Source references from previous customers.
  • Before locking 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. Leaving bowls out labelled ‘Saturday’ and ‘Sunday’ won’t really work, even if your fur baby does read (we believe you). 

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.

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? The PD Insurance survey found 24% of Kiwis do take their pet on holidays. If this is you, here are some tips:

On the Road… Travelling with your pets

Does this sound more like your plans? Here are key things to remember:

  • Double check your destinations are aware (and are ok) about you bringing your pets to stay. 
  • 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.
  • Never leave them in a hot vehicle; cars heat up fast even on cool days.
  • Stopping for a break? If you can’t walk in bare feet on hot surfaces, neither should your pet. 
  • Always safely secure animals in cages/carriers/harnesses. Dogs distracting drivers is the most common cause of road accidents involving pets.

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! 

Media contact 

Leandri Smith – The Mail Room 
027 365 9003 | [email protected]