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Holiday care for dogs - what do you do?

(10 Posts)
JuneFromBethesda Tue 26-Jan-16 07:55:53

Our lovely rescue lab has been with us for three months and she's settled in really well. She's 5 years old and before she came to us she'd been in several different homes (various relationships that broke up) so she's had an unsettled time so far. I work from home so she's with me almost all the time, I do most of the dog-walking, feeding her etc and she's very attached to me.

I think we're going to stay in the UK this summer for our holiday so she can come with us (might start a separate thread about holidays with dogs!) but I'm wondering about future holidays - I don't want to stay in the UK for the next ten years ...

She wasn't socialised properly as a puppy so she doesn't really enjoy the company of other dogs, so I think kennels wouldn't be right for her. Given her past I worry that she'd find going to anyone else's home stressful; the best solution I think would be to stay in our house and have someone else look after her. My MIL would help a bit but she lives a long way away and I don't want to rely on her / expect her holidays to fall in with ours! I know there are companies that will provide dog-sitters who come and live in your house to look after your pet - has anyone used a service like this?

I do worry that she'll be very anxious if we go away - particularly given how attached she is to me (at the moment she refuses to go on a walk with my husband unless I go too ...) - but on the other hand I would like the occasional foreign holiday in the future ...!

So - what do you do if you go away and don't take your dog with you?

AlpacaLypse Tue 26-Jan-16 08:06:16

I run an agency that helps people and dogs like you.

If you approached us professionally, we would find you a good match, either a holiday home with one of the active retired people on our books, or a sitter who would come and stay. We spend a long time - usually some months - on building a relationship up, including a trial night.

With rescues we don't like to take responsibility until the dog has been settled for at least six months, but reading your OP you would be well past that point before you would be looking for service.

The Good Dog Guide website is fairly reliable for information.

There are a number of national chains supplying these services, but they all run as franchises and some are considerably better than others. For instance two people locally have bought into We Love Dogs, one is doing a reasonable job but the other has generated us loads of new business as so many of her disgruntled clients have come to us!

If you do decide to use a sitter, personal recommendation is by far the best way to find one. And make sure they have proper insurance in place. NARPS registration isn't vital, but does show commitment.

CMOTDibbler Tue 26-Jan-16 08:22:57

My dogs go to home boarding with the lady who fostered ddog2 (and specialises in that type of dog), so they love going there. We also get one of dh's nephews (he's 21) to come and house sit which is great as it deals with all the animal issues.

I've looked at paying for a house sitter, but its such a big step to trust someone in your house for a week!

Twowrongsdontmakearight Tue 26-Jan-16 08:26:22

We take Ddog with us. France is very dog friendly and Brittany Ferries has dog-friendly cabins on its Portsmouth to Santander and Bilbao routes when we go to Spain. Ddog has his own passport and there are agencies that can book you in with an English speaking vet for the necessary stamp for the way home.

LilCamper Tue 26-Jan-16 08:33:15

Camper dog travels with us. We bought a caravan so he can come on holiday with us. Passports are no problem.

JuneFromBethesda Tue 26-Jan-16 09:05:17

Thanks everyone for the replies. Alpaca, really interesting to hear how your agency works, especially with building up a relationship / having a trial night - that sounds very reassuring.

We might consider taking the dog abroad with us in the future but I definitely want to take the kids to Disneyland some time in the next few years so will certainly need dog care for that holiday!

I'm hoping too that once she's been with us for a year or more, she'll feel more secure (the difference already in just three months is clearly noticeable) so leaving her in someone else's care won't seem quite such an enormous step.

donajimena Tue 26-Jan-16 09:15:21

I look after my friends dog. Had her for a month. Before she did her first vacation with us she came for a good few visits and I took her for lots of walks to establish trust and recall. I adore having her. I work for myself so she was rarely left alone.
Someone staying at your house is obviously the best solution for you but don't rule out dog boarders as there are lots of people who love having dogs for an extended period but are unable to take the comittment full time.
As for payment I don't charge but my friend charges around the same rate as a kennel
If you Google dog boarders you will find lots of info.

Noofly Tue 26-Jan-16 10:55:53

My dog goes to a home boarder. We tried a couple of different ones who work as dog walkers/groomers/home boarders, but he didn't settle at either of them particularly well. We now use a home boarder through an agency (Barking Mad). It's expensive, but he goes to to the same person and she's lovely. She's retired and pretty much spoils him rotten.

I think the professional home boarders were a bit too busy for him. I'm home all day so he's used to the company and peace and quiet during the day. He absolutely loves meeting other dogs on walks, but I think he's better as an only dog (because he gets so excited) at a home boarder.

JuneFromBethesda Tue 26-Jan-16 17:15:46

Sounds like a perfect set-up, donajimena, your friend is lucky to have you!

Noofly, that sounds fab too. If we could find a home boarder that the dog was happy with that would be absolutely perfect smile

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 26-Jan-16 17:25:01

Following wit interest as we own two rescues, one has been with us since she was 8 weeks old and has never really known a kennels situation but hates them all the same, she howled for most of the night the only time we tried her in a boarding kennel. The second dog spent most of his puppyhood as a stray and has been through a number of kennels and foster homes. He is now firmly settled here but I would hate to undo all the work we have done with him by putting him into kennels but we have an event coming up that they cannot come to and we need to find a solution.

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