On the rare occasion that I go away, organising my animal family is a full scale operation with friends and family all pitching in, following my annoyingly detailed instructions.
Despite the best of planning it always seems to coincide with some inconvenient animal occurrence such as a mass hatching of baby newts or, on one occasion, a constipated tortoise.
But, for the more sensible single pet families, holiday care is a much easier proposition.
Let's take a look at holiday care options for pets. Share your own experiences in the comments section below, or let us know about your favourite pet friendly holidays.
A reputable boarding establishment offers convenience and a safe place for your pet with regular monitoring of its wellbeing.
Minor medical issues can be managed by staff and any health problems should be picked up quickly with a vet on call. Kennels and catteries will often care for other animals too like rabbits and guinea pigs, particularly if they can be delivered with their own cage. The best pet boarding spots get booked up well in advance so don't leave it till the last minute, and make sure all vaccinations are up to date.
Some pets just don't settle down well in boarding establishments. This can be managed to a certain extent by caring staff and a few familiar items, however some animals may become quite distressed. My dogs have a great time in their home away from home but unfortunately my sensitive little Cornish Rex cat goes on a hunger strike in this environment.
Home visits from professional pet minders or neighbours and friends
A familiar environment and all the comforts of home is certainly a plus. Your pet minder can also water your plants, clear the letterbox and check the security of your home.
Dogs require regular attention and company so unless your pet minder is live in, a home alone scenario is not recommended. If your cat chooses to go into hiding when their minder arrives, this means any accident, health issues or MIA's may not be noticed for the duration.
Take the pets with you
What better way to spend your holiday than with your pet. No animal care costs and relief knowing all is well. Some holidays are perfectly suited for dogs tagging along such as a trip to the bach or staying with other animal loving friends. Check out the list of campgrounds, motels and holiday homes that allow pets here.
Car travel won't suit all pets and requires regular stops for drinks and bathroom breaks. Once at your destination, your activities may be limited with a dog in tow. Some walking tracks and DoC areas don't allow dogs due to the risk to wildlife. It also pays to be vigilant as pets can easily lose their way in a new environment if allowed free reign. ID tags are a must.
Topping up food and water before taking off for the weekend is not a wise option. Food and water dispensers are often unreliable so whether it's a pet mouse or the family dog, a daily check of the animals' wellbeing is a must. Taking the time to plan suitable care for pets means you can enjoy a worry free holiday in the knowledge that four footed family members are safe and well.
We have three packs of this trio of fabulous dog books to give away:
• Doggylicious by Philip Chaplin and Alice Needham (New Holland, $27.99) is packed full of recipes and ideas for dinners and treats to ensure a happy, healthy animal.
• Your Perfect Dog by David Adterton (New Burlington Press, $34.99) is the ultimate breed-by-breed guide to choosing a dog that is your ideal match.
• The Dog Whisperer by John Richardson (New Holland, $35.99) is the essential guide to understanding and raising a well-behaved dog.
This competition is now closed.