Traditionally most people will book their pets into boarding kennels and catteries. There are several kennels and catteries in and around Christchurch and often you will have to book well in advance especially for Christsmas and the new year period. Some of these facilities are booked a year in advance so plan ahead! If you are just thinking about it now, most good places are already full.
Choosing a boarding kennel or cattery can be difficult at times, I always advise that you physically go there and ask to visit the facilities unannounced – it is best to avoid busy times such first thing in the morning during feeding time. Most well run facilities shouldn’t have a problem with your visit and you should be able to view pets’ sleeping areas, feeding, cleaning and kitchen facilites and where they go to exercise. Observe the pets that are already boarding, do they seem happy and content? Do they seem anxious and stressed? Is it noisy there? Is it clean and are faeces removed regularly and are grass areas kept clean and hygienic? For cats going into mixed dog and cat facilies, are the dog and cats house separately? Are there barking dogs stressing the cats? Are litter trays kept clean?
Ask about the boarding facility’s routines and vaccination protocols. How often do dogs get to go out and exercise? Who are they allowed to play with? Are they monitored when they are outside? Do cats get to get some fresh air in secured areas? How often are they checked, are their appetite and thirst monitored? I am a big believer that you should be able to bring your pet’s own food during boarding, some animals need special diets, specific quantities and quality of foods and some pets are just plain fussy and will only eat what they are used to. Some cats especially will go on hunger strike when they are stressed in a cattery and given unfamiliar foods. Most facilities will supply food if you are not too concerned about it, ask in advance. If your pet needs medications, ask in advance that the staff are happy to administer them at the right times.
Another option for you whilst you are away is a pet sitter – often when you have several pets it works out more affordable to get a pet sitter to look after them. Most pets are also far happier to stay at home rather than being in a cage and a foreign place. Pet sitters can range from friends, neighbours, recommended persons or professionals. Some may stay and look after your house also and some may come and feed and walk your pets and medicate them. Prices vary but I think it is good value if your pet will be looked after well and they get to stay in their homes and routines. Meet the person/people offering the service, make sure you and your pets like them. Get references and see if you feel that you can trust that person since you are allowing them to enter your house afterall.
Pet friendly accommodation is also increasingly popular. There are camping grounds, holiday houses, motels and bed and breakfasts that would allow pets. Most of these can be found via online searches such as http://www.airbnb.co.nz or by word of mouth. Make sure you bring your pet’s own bedding and keep these places clean so other people can enjoy the same facilities in future.