Considerations When Boarding Your Dog with Holidays4Dogs.
Very often is it not possible to take your dog with you on every occasion you have to leave town and home boarding is sometimes a better option than travelling with your pet or leaving him with a friend or in conventional kennels. An emergency with your pet while you are travelling or visiting a strange place either home or abroad will create stress not only for you, but also for your pet. Some pet dogs prefer routine in familiar surroundings and are less keen on car travel or novel situations. Many dogs find it stressful being left in traditional kennels when they have never been used to kennel life and indeed we support many rescue dogs whose owners are most reluctant to place their dogs back in a kennel environment.
The beauty of boarding your dog with Holidays4Dogs is that your dog’s routine is largely unaffected and because you will always visit your carer before a dog stay is booked, you can be reassured that you are leaving your dog in safe and knowledgeable hands. Knowing who will care for your dog at times when you cannot be around is as equally important as providing for your dogs daily needs. Sometimes it is wise to be prepared and have a plan for the care of your dog in case it is ever required.
Leaving your dog with a friend or relative might at first seem like a satisfactory option, but although they may know your dog, they may not be as experienced in the finer details of dog care and management – they may not for example recognise the early warning signs of illness or understand the ways of a determined escape artist, or how to deal with specific and sometimes unique canine foibles. Every one of our carers will be comprehensively insured for public liability up to £3,000,000 and there is also a care and custody extension liability for animals up to £15,000. In addition, a trusted and professional Holidays4Dogs carer can often accommodate dogs at short notice, whereas a family member or friend may not be able to do this.
It is very important to consider the individual needs of your dog and Holidays4Dogs are experts at matching carers who will best meet those needs. All our carers are well versed in every aspect of domestic dog care and because you and your dog will always meet your carer beforehand you will find your dog settles quickly and is less likely to suffer from stress related behaviours that come from being kennelled, for instance. Many carers have particular skills or knowledge such as rescue dog experience, ex-veterinary nurses, trainers and behaviourists, breeders and those who are familiar with the requirements of specific breeds.
We have lots of carers on our team who are semi or active retired and therefore have a vast wealth of dog care experience spanning a number of decades. Some have recently lost much loved pets, but not wishing to have another dog of their own, absolutely adore looking after other people’s pets and having dogs around the house again, but without the full time commitment that permanent dog owning brings. Guest dogs are regarded as surrogate pets and our devoted retirees like nothing more than welcoming different doggy characters into their homes for their holidays.
Some carers specifically cater for working or large breed dogs and as such can offer above average exercise and in some cases will be able to keep up with training regimes as per owner’s instructions. Other cares have a love of smaller breeds of dog and are more than happy to allow guest dogs to curl up on the furniture or even on the bed!
This is not limited to small dogs however and it is not uncommon for carers to be perfectly happy for our larger guest dogs to have a well earned snooze on the sofa after a romp around the countryside! We have lots of carers who are perfectly happy for dogs to have the complete run of the house and others who will follow the owner’s requests and routine – if your dog is not allowed on the furniture at home, then carers will ensure this is maintained while your dog is on holiday – (although many carers I’m sure, may allow the odd sneaky sofa cuddle!).
Some of our carers have acres and acres of their own land, others have average sized gardens – but every home always has a secure and dog friendly area and easy access to countryside or parkland – we do not accept carers with handkerchief sized gardens or yards, or anyone whose garden does not meet our safety and security standards. In addition to this, for extra peace of mind, no dog is left unattended in the garden at any time.
Your dog will be walked on or off lead according to your instructions. Dogs walked off lead must have a good recall and be friendly around other dogs and people. However, the majority of our carers will not let your dog off the lead until they are satisfied the dog has bonded with them – usually after a day or two. Of course once your dog has got to know your carer well on subsequent visits, your dog can enjoy regular off-lead walks if this is what you request.
As long as owners authorise it, dogs can also travel in the car to alternative local walks and venues – many dogs enjoy a short car ride with their carers to various beauty spots and walks around the locality.
You will need to provide your dog’s regular food when you leave him with a Holidays4Dogs carer as it is very important for your dog’s diet not to be changed, especially when he is in a new environment. If you are packing treats for your dog make sure they are ones he has already been used to. If your dog has a special diet such as the BARF diet this can usually be accommodated for, but do mention this to your carer beforehand who will need to dedicate some freezer space for you.
You will also need to bring your dog’s bed and bedding, collars, leads and harnesses. Guest dogs wear their collars at all times and along with their regular identification, also wear a Holidays4Dogs uniquely numbered I.D tag. We also recommend you provide a familiar toy or blanket for your dog to take with him. If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate at night, these can usually be accommodated and some carers may be able to provide one for you to save you transporting your own. However, dogs are never shut in crates during the day unless insisted upon by an owner and only when left for a very short period. Shutting dogs in crates during the day is something we do not advocate or recommend.
Do remember to bring along any medication your dog may currently be taking, making sure items are clearly labelled and plentiful enough to last for the duration of the stay. Unfortunately, we are unable to cater for very fragile or extremely elderly dogs that need extensive care or are deaf, blind or incontinent. In these circumstances we recommend dogs are kept in their own home environment, as we do not feel it would be in the dog’s best interests to do otherwise. We can cater for younger deaf dogs or dogs with manageable disabilities. We welcome puppies as long as their vaccinations are complete and many carers are willing to accept pups that are not yet house-trained.
We are able to accommodate dogs with mild behaviour issues such as shy dogs, dogs that are not too sociable with other dogs, dogs that are strong on the lead or dogs with a penchant for door bolting. However, we cannot accept dogs with any aggression or serious anxiety towards people. Dog on dog aggression can often be managed by placing in one of our non-dog owning carer homes and always walked on the lead. However, dogs that are frequently destructive, excessively vocal inside or outside the home cannot be accepted. Each dog is considered on a case by case basis but it can be true to say that we do struggle for carers who are willing to accept entire Staffordshire bull terriers over the age of 8 months or entire guard breeds. This is in no way a reflection of our opinion on any breed as a whole – we know that Staffies and certain guard breeds can be delightful family pets. We accept friendly guard breeds such as German Shepherds and Rottweilers.
It always better to be upfront about your dog’s behaviour, so when you telephone to arrange to meet a Holidays4Dogs carer, make sure you provide all the relevant details about your dog including his likes and dislikes. If your dog is prone to pinching things from the rubbish bin or is nervous of men in hats for instance, do let your carer know as they will be able to deal with such issues much better if they know in advance what they are! Your carer will make a note of significant information including diet, medication, known commands, exercise routine etc.
Guest dogs must be vaccinated and treated for fleas and worms – as are any dogs belonging to carers. However, it may be possible to accommodate homoeopathically vaccinated dogs – so if this applies to you, we will be happy to discuss your requirements.
Our carers never leave guest dogs for more than a couple of hours, enough time to do shopping, the school run or visit the dentist – but other than that, dogs are never left alone for lengthy periods and we have many carers who can accommodate dogs that require 24/7 supervision – thus, if your dog is susceptible to separation anxiety for example, we can match you to the most suitable local carer who will never leave your dog alone.
We also have carers who are familiar with caring for dogs with specific needs such as diabetic or epileptic dogs. Holidays4Dogs and our carers have an excellent relationship with local vets and we can deal promptly and efficiently with any medical issues and emergencies that might occur while you are away.
Our dedicated Holidays4Dogs carers are all interviewed at home before being accepted to join our team and furthermore, those carers who have dogs of their own (many do not), will also have been assessed for their sociability by experienced staff. Our carers are picked for their high level of competency, professional approach, natural ability with dogs as well as kindness and patience which ensures the absolute health and safety of your dog while he is enjoying a home from home holiday with genuine dog lovers.
We look forward to being of service to you and your dog – Holidays4Dogs