How to find trustworthy pet care; checklist for pet parents

Going on holiday should be a time of relaxation and fun, but when you have a pet, it can introduce an extra layer of complexity, and an urgent need to find reliable and trustworthy pet care.

Many of us prefer pet-friendly accommodation so our fur babies can tag along, but sometimes that’s just not possible.

While the list of pet-friendly destinations and accommodation has grown significantly in recent years, there’s still no guarantee the place you’ll want to holiday will accept your pets.

Here’s our guide (based on personal experience!) for finding reliable and trusty pet care or pet minding options for those times when you have to leave your beloved pet at home.

Woman with her three dogs

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

My recent experience finding last-minute care for my dog

Just two days out from a family holiday, I realised where I had booked was not a dog-friendly caravan park.

All our previous holidays had been to pet-friendly places, so I naively just assumed Banjo, our border collie, could come with us this time also.

So, with only a couple of days to go, I was extremely limited in options and was worried I’d have to miss the family trip also.

Adding another layer of complexity to our story is that Banjo suffers from immune-mediated polyarthritis (IMPA), as well as septic joints.

I’ll be sharing his medical story in a separate post but, in short, it’s a condition where his immune system mistakenly attacks the joint tissue.

Because of IMPA, Banjo can’t be vaccinated, which rules him out of any pet boarding facility.

His condition also means that he needs to take multiple medications daily.

So, it was vital to find a solution that included his health and medication routine.

Border Collie Banjo at the farm doggy daycare in Sydney
Before getting sick, Banjo would often go to a doggy daycare at a farm (image: Clickers Academy)

Thankfully, after 24 hours of frantic attempts, I found a wonderful pet sitter to look after Banjo.

She was recommended to me by a friend who also happens to be one of Banjo’s vets, which eased my mind greatly.

Plus, it meant Banjo could stay in his own home, which also made me much more comfortable.

Don't let your pooch miss out on the family holiday (credit: Michelle Minehan)
And he would often join us on the family holiday (credit: Michelle Minehan)

How to find trustworthy pet care

Trying to find a reliable and trustworthy pet care can be stressful.

Following this checklist for pet parents is a good way to ensure you’ll have your pet well-cared for when you have to leave.

  • Research and plan ahead

Learn from my biggest mistake– research everything about the place you are going to before you book to ensure they actually accept dogs.

And, if you know in advance that you won’t be able to take your pet with you, start planning early.

That way, there’s plenty of time to find a reputable pet boarding facility or find a trusted pet sitter.

This will give you peace of mind knowing that your pet is in good hands.

  • Ask friends or family

Reach out to friends or family members who may be willing to look after your pet while you’re away.

If they have experience with animals and are comfortable with the responsibility, it can be a great option.

Make sure to provide them with all the necessary information about your pet’s routine, feeding schedule, and any specific needs they may have.

  • Hire a professional pet sitter

If you don’t have anyone you can rely on, consider hiring a professional pet sitter.

They can come to your home and take care of your pet in their familiar environment.

Ensure you choose a licensed and insured pet sitter who has positive reviews and experience with your type of pet.

TIP – some larger companies – like House Sitters – offer a comprehensive list of pet sitters who have passed their mandatory guidelines.

  • Explore pet boarding facilities

If you prefer not to leave your pet at home, look for reputable pet boarding facilities in your area.

Visit the facility beforehand to ensure it meets your standards and that your pet will be comfortable and well-cared for during their stay.

Check if they require any vaccination or other specific paperwork.

groupr of large dogs at a doggy daycare centre
Doggy daycare is a good option for pet-minding during the daytime. (image: UnSplash)
  • Consider a pet exchange

This is an interesting concept, but one that is gaining popularity.

If you have friends or acquaintances who also have pets, you can explore the possibility of a pet exchange.

This means you take care of their pet while they’re away, and they do the same for you when you’re on vacation.

 It can be a win-win situation for both parties, as your pets will have company and a familiar environment.

  • Prepare an emergency kit

Regardless of the arrangement you make, it’s essential to prepare an emergency kit for your pet.

Include their food, medications, toys, bedding, and any other essentials they may need.

Provide clear instructions on their routine, feeding schedule, and emergency contact numbers in case any issues arise.

Create a detailed care plan for your pet minder to ensure they stick to your dog’s routines and essential care needs

How to cope with the stress of leaving your pet behind

Whether it’s a family holiday or an unexpected work trip, there often comes a time where pet owners need to go away and leave their beloved pet behind.

If you’re anything like me, leaving your beloved pet behind can be an emotionally challenging experience.

Leaving your pet behind can be stressful for both of you, but with proper planning and finding the right care option, you can ensure their well-being while you’re away (and ease your anxiety!).

But this is another reason why finding reliable and trustworthy pet-minding is essential, to help put your mind at ease.

Checklist for finding reliable pet-minding options when needed
Leaving pets at boarding can cause a lot of anxiety for pet parents (image: UnSplash)

Coping with the stress of leaving pets behind

If the thought of being separated from them can cause you anxiety and stress, here are some tips to help you cope:

Research and choose a trustworthy caregiver: One of the best ways to alleviate your worries is to find a reliable caregiver for your pet. Take the time to thoroughly research and select someone who has experience, positive reviews, and a genuine love for animals. Knowing that your pet is in capable hands will provide you with peace of mind.

Stay connected: Ask your caregiver to provide regular updates and photos of your pet while you’re away. This will help you feel connected and reassured that your furry friend is doing well. Technology can be a great tool for this, as you can video call or receive real-time updates through messaging apps.

Create a detailed care guide: Prepare a comprehensive care guide for your pet’s caregiver. Include information about their feeding schedule, exercise routine, medication instructions, and any specific needs or preferences your pet may have. Providing clear instructions will help you feel more confident that your pet’s routine is being followed.

Leave familiar items: Leave behind some of your pet’s favourite toys, blankets, or bedding that carry their scent. Having familiar items around can provide comfort and a sense of security for your pet, reducing their stress levels.

Practice self-care: Taking care of your own well-being is crucial when dealing with the stress of leaving your pet behind.

Engage in activities that help you relax and distract your mind, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.

Remember that your pet will sense your emotions, so staying calm and positive will benefit both of you.

Arrange for check-ins: If possible, schedule regular check-ins with your pet’s caregiver. This can be a quick phone call or video chat to get updates on how your pet is doing. Knowing that you can stay connected and receive updates will help ease your anxiety.

Trust in your decision: Remind yourself that you have made the best decision for your pet’s well-being.

Whether it’s a professional caregiver or a trusted friend, trust that they will provide the care and attention your pet needs in your absence.

Remember that pets are resilient and adaptable, and they will be happy to see you when you return.