Hitting the road with or without your pet


CHOICES Pet owners can choose between boarding facilities or having a friend look after their pet – or indeed taking them along too.

The vet's view
Conal Finnerty

With the summer holiday season rapidly approaching, for those of us who are pet owners, the question of what to do with them when we go on holidays is an important one.
There are numerous options, including boarding facilities, home sitting, having a friend/neighbour look after them or indeed taking them with you. Each of these options has its own benefits and individual considerations to be aware of, and each scenario needs a bit of planning and forward thinking. Having your friend or neighbour come in and look after or check on your pet whilst away is a common option but has its own challenges. Do you want your friend or neighbour coming in? How will your pet(s) receive them? Do you trust someone to take on this role?
Some dogs may behave completely different when you are away and especially if in their own home, may in fact turn defensive and aggressive to someone unfamiliar to them. Therefore, if you are planning on having your friend or neighbour in, make sure they are introduced to your pet in advance.
Traditional boarding facilities are another option that is very popular nowadays, but again this option needs some planning – particularly during the summer months, when demand for boarding facilities is increased as more and more people go on vacation. Also this option needs planning in terms of your pet’s vaccination status, as all reputable facilities will insist – and rightly so – that your charge is up to date with their vaccinations, including kennel cough for dogs.
Cats do not generally like communal boarding with other cats, and so this must be a consideration also. On the flip side, as we all know, dogs are pack animals, and in general enjoy more interaction than cats, so this should be borne in mind also.
As more and more hotels and other types of holiday accommodations are now accepting pets as part of the family, this is becoming a very popular choice. But remember, pets will in general be an extra expense; not every type of pet may be welcome; and pets will be another addition that someone has to pack for! The bedding, food and toys won’t pack themselves.
If you intend bringing your dog, make sure there is somewhere you can exercise them safely during your vacation. If you are planning on taking your pet overseas for vacation, make sure you are fully up to speed on your pet’s passport and the particular legislation and requirements of the country you are visiting AND the requirements upon re-entry into Ireland. A discussion with your vet will help if you are unsure.
With the holiday season upon us, make sure you plan for all members of the family, both two-legged and four-legged. Most importantly, pack the sunscreen and turn that bloody mobile phone off!

Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.