The best holidays are the ones where we get to take our beloved four-legged friends with us. But that's not always an option.
Charlotte Carr, our four-paws expert, answers the questions about what to do with your canine chum when you go on holiday and explains which staycation is best for your pooch.
SHOULD I LEAVE MY DOG IN BOARDING KENNELS?
Is your pooch the most popular canine at the park? Do they love making new friends and being around other dogs? If so, going into a boarding kennel while you're off on your holidays is probably the best option for them.
Sociable dogs will love the company and daily play sessions with their new BFFs - surely their dream staycation!
If you do choose kennels, prep beforehand. If possible, let your dog visit so they can have a sniff around and familiarize themselves with the smells and sounds. Another great tip is to use an ADAPTIL Calm On-The-Go Collar. It will last for four weeks, (how long are you leaving your poor pooch?!) and sends “comforting messages” to your dog in their new, albeit temporary, environment. Make sure the staff at the kennel are fully aware of your dog's usual routine and how they act on a daily basis - this should make it easier for them to notice if your pooch is feeling out of sorts.
What are the alternatives?
Some pups, however, may feel uncomfortable in this type of environment. Luckily there are alternatives...
If your dog prefers a quieter life and enjoys their home comforts - a cozy bed and delicious dinner that they don't have to share - then it's important to respect this and avoid putting them into kennels. Too many dogs in one place could cause your introvert pup to be less than comfortable.
If this is the case, a dog sitter should be the next option you start researching.
If I choose a dog sitter, what can I do to make sure they can easily look after my dog?
Firstly, you should try and do a chemistry test between your dog and sitter - just to make sure your dog feels comfortable around them. After all, your dog can't just leave the house if they don't get on with them - they are stuck with them for 2 weeks!
Once you see your canine is relaxed in their company, you can then start preparing them for the next few weeks. Essentially you should leave them with a bible about your dog - their routine, their likes and dislikes, their health issues, even their favourite toy - EVERYTHING about your pooch should be included.
Swap numbers with your sitter so you can easily get in touch to check up on your pooch while you're away. Ask them to send you the occasional picture or video - it will help if you miss seeing their adorable face every day.
To find a good dog sitter shouldn’t be tricky, after all your dog is AWESOME, who wouldn't want to take care of them for you? Try checking online, there are loads of accredited dog sitters who have plenty of experience to reassure you that your precious pooch is in good hands. If you and your dog are not 100% comfortable with a stranger though, how about a friend or relative? Chances are your dog already knows them and has jumped all over them saying “HELLO!” whenever you see them so they can offer the ideal alternative.
How do I know which is the best option for my dog?
Each individual dog will have a preference over where they go during your holiday time. Unfortunately, they can’t vocalize this to you (they have tried but quickly realized you will never speak dog) so it's important that you consider their preferred daily routine and personal tastes when choosing.
Of course, other factors, such as age and health will also play a part in the decision you make.
Whatever you do, make sure your dog’s caretaker is an all-knowing expert by the time you're through with them. Remember to let them know about any recurring health issues they may have as well as common signs to watch out for that could imply they are feeling unsettled.
So, there you have it. You know your dog better than anyone and you know what will suit them best. And of course the great thing about any holiday is coming home, especially when coming home means your dog can jump all over you barking “HI HUUUUMAN! I had a great holiday how was yours?”!