Leaving your pet when you go on holiday can be a daunting prospect, but a little preparation beforehand can make all the difference. Here are some suggestions to consider before going away. If you have planned a stay in a boarding kennel or cattery in advance and are happy with the premises and the staff, you will feel much better, and your pet will probably have a good time too!
When choosing boarding premises for your pet, first seek some personal recommendations from your friends. We have a list of local kennels and catteries here but we do not specifically recommend any of these – they are for information only and we recommend that you inspect these premises and seek recommendations before booking in your pet.
- Always inspect the premises yourself. Make an appointment first, so as not to inconvenience the owner but always be wary of owners who are unwilling to show you around at short notice. Look for clean, well cared for premises with fencing and floors in good repair and runs that are capable of being cleaned properly. Check that animals currently being cared for have clean and full water bowls. Animals should not be able to touch each other through fencing and ventilation should be good with no smells! The staff should be friendly, knowledgeable, caring and proud of their premises.
- The staff should be willing to feed your animal according to your instructions. For animals on prescription or specific diets, always be prepared to leave enough food with the kennel or cattery for the duration of your pet’s stay.
- Your pet should have enough room for an exercise area, and a rest area that is warm and dry. There should be provision of toys or other items to keep the animal interested, although of course you may always provide your pet’s own things from home. Ensure that all blankets and bedding are cleaned between boarders if the boarding kennels provides them. Ask if dogs are walked, where and for how long.
Never use a kennel or cattery that does not insist on seeing the vaccination certificate for every boarder. It may be more convenient for you not to show your certificate, but remember that your animal may be in contact with others that may carry disease. Some kennels ask for kennel cough vaccination, particularly if kennel cough has become more common that season. Make sure your pet’s certificate is completed, up to date and to hand, and always try to have any booster vaccinations at least three weeks before you go away.
Always ask about the establishment’s normal procedure for calling out a vet if your animal falls ill. It is best for the establishment to call out your own veterinary surgeon, so make sure you leave full details of our address and phone number for emergency use, as well as details of a friend or relative who could make a decision on your behalf. If necessary, seek reassurance that it will be used. There are still some kennels and catteries which use one particular practice for all their work, irrespective of which practice the animal is registered with. If you have to use a kennel or cattery with this policy, and they are not willing to change it for you, please seek reassurance that the establishment or the veterinary surgeon they call out will contact us for the medical history before any treatment is carried out on your pet, as this may not be done as a matter of course. This is, of course, particularly important if your pet is under treatment. We are always happy to advise you specifically if your pet is on a course of treatment.
We hope this information is helpful to you – enjoy your holiday!