We all relate to the stress we feel when we go away from home and leave our precious fur babies behind. With their best interests at heart, we hope they will receive the best possible care and remain healthy and happy in our absence.
No matter how many precautions are taken, sometimes things go pear-shaped. Animals are unpredictable in both their actions and health, especially when their owners are not around.
Animals may try to escape, or come down with an illness, even in the best of care. Dogs and cats especially can become little Houdinis if they feel stressed, frightened, or anxious.
The last thing you want, while you are reclining in your banana lounge under a palm tree, is a call from your pet-sitter telling you your fur baby has escaped and cannot be traced.
To decrease the chance of things going wrong ensure all microchip details are up to date before you leave. They can instantly be listed as missing and identified by a vet or registered microchip scanner and returned.
In addition to being microchipped, all dogs, except working dogs, have to wear a collar and tag showing the dog's name and your address or telephone number when outside its own property. Hefty fines apply so it is wise to ensure you have covered all bases before you leave.
Ask your pet or house-sitter to leave a window or pet door open to provide ease of access back inside if they find their way home. They may simply be searching for their usual hideout or trying to get inside.
A good carer will ensure they don't change the layout in your home too much and spook your pet into thinking they have new owners. Ask them to leave water outside always, just in case your pet is coming and going and is simply traumatised because you left for the Bahamas without them.
Experienced pet carers instinctively know that cats will often hide out in their favourite look-out while you spend frantic hours calling their names. Even if you don't collar them normally when you are home, a bright collar with a bell is great for your pet-sitters as they will be able to hear your devious feline when they decide to make a reappearance.
Leave instructions for your chosen carer to perform physical checks on your animal(s) each day, ensuring there are no ticks, cuts, swelling etc. that may require medical treatment.
It's a good idea to sign an agreement waiver before you leave to go on holiday, stating your carer can seek vet care on your behalf and arrange payment with your vet prior to your departure. This will allow your animal to be treated immediately rather than waiting for your approval via an email or phone call that could delay proceedings.