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What to do with my cat or dog when I go on vacation?

Every year we look forward to our vacation. Adventurous hikes in the mountains, relaxing on a beach… But what to do with your cat or dog while you’re away? Will you leave your housemate at home, bring it along or take it to a cattery, kennel or a petsitter? Here are your options. Of course, we have taken your pet’s needs into account, since you want them to enjoy their time off as well!

Bringing your cat or dog along for your vacation

A vacation together with your pet(s)? It can be done! Though more common with a dog, bringing your cat is an option too. If your trip is domestic, the journey isn’t usually the biggest issue. Do make sure you never leave your animal in the cat when its hot. Both dogs and cats overheat very quickly. Give your animal plenty of exercise during the journey, which means you’re going to have to take regular breaks so your pet can stretch its legs. Make sure your dog or cat wears a collar or a harness with a leash, because their response to a new environment is difficult to predict.

Taking a cat or dog abroad

Going abroad? Keep in mind that different countries have different rules. If you’re flying, check the airline’s regulations which also differ per airline. Make sure your pet has a passport and gets the necessary and mandatory vaccinations. Read all about vaccinating your cat and dog here.

Pet sitter at home

A pet sitter at home is a comfortable solution when you want to leave your animals behind. Your cat or dog won’t have to get used to a new environment: their favourite sleeping spot is right there and they are fed on time. If you’ve got a family member who would like to take care of your pet while you’re gone, great! If not, you can always opt for a professional pet sitter.

Leave clear instructions

Before you get going, leave clear instructions about your pet’s needs. Is your cat used to eating wet food every morning or at night? Do you clean its litterbox every day? Ask your petsitter to do the same. Cats are creatures of habit and routine is important to them. Of course, dogs need to be walked on time. Tell your pet sitter how often you walk your dog every day and how much exercise it needs on a daily basis. If your petsitter doesn’t want to stay at your place but wants to bring the dog home instead, consider taking the animal there yourself.

To the cattery/kennel

A third option is to take your pet to a cattery/kennel for the duration of your trip. There are usually options in the neighbourhood. You can opt for a specialised cattery or kennel, or an animal hotel where both pets are welcome. It is recommended to take your dog or cat there for a test run in advance. You’ll be able to see how the animals are being cared for and your pet gets the opportunity to snoop around and get familiarised with its holiday home. Make sure they don’t just give the animals shelter and food, but love and attention as well.

Asking a neighbour to take care of your cat

A popular solution for cats is to ask a neighbour to take care of it. Neighbours often don’t mind popping by to feed your cat every day and clean out its litterbox every now and then. However, don’t assume that your neighbour will give it daily cuddles. Discuss this beforehand. Explain your cat’s daily needs and show the neighbour where to find everything. Make sure you’ve got enough food and cat litter in the house so your neighbour isn’t left empty-handed. And of course make sure that your cat has enough opportunity to exercise in the house as well as a safe living environment.

Asking a neighbour to take care of your dog

When it comes to dogs, this isn’t a very common solution. Dogs need to be walked every day and they need company in the house. Dogs are generally more attached to their owner than cats which is why it is better to take a dog to a dogsitter or ask someone to stay at your place while you’re gone.

Passport and vaccination

Taking your pet to an animal hotel or bringing it along for your holiday? Make sure it is fully vaccinated, has a health statement from your vet and an (international) passport.


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