Your vacation has been planned for a few weeks, even a few
years months for the most organized and yet, a few days before departure, one last point remains unresolved: how to take care of your pet?
Whether we are talking about a dog, a cat, a rabbit or any other pet, the question is the same. Unless you can take your companion in your luggage (well, not literally, huh!) you’ll have to find an alternative to take care of the apple of your eye while you’re away.
And as this holiday period is approaching, with always its share of abandoned animals, I thought it was time to share the different options that I had the opportunity to test in recent years with my rabbits.
All alone like a big one!
This first option is an easy solution that does not apply in all cases or for all animals. This is one of the many advantages of the rabbit, he keeps very well on his own for a few days if he has enough food because he is able to regulate his diet so as not to eat everything the first day. I would of course prefer to be able to keep it with friends or family, but when we go away for just 2-3 days it would be too much stress for the rabbit and I admit, too much logistical constraint for me, to transport it drive with his cage and litter to his new home.
As my rabbits are normally always free in our house, and to avoid locking them in a cage during these few days, I invested in a large playpen, open to its cage, so that they can frolic at their comfort during our absence.
For the record, the first time I used the playpen, I hadn’t put a safety net on it, not imagining my rabbit capable of jumping over it… big mistake! When we got back we thought we had been robbed, everything was so upside down! Not to mention the cables and some furniture that paid the price for my protege’s sharp little quenotes 🙂
Our two current rabbits being calmer, we can even afford the luxury of leaving them completely free in the house for several days, as long as they have access to their litter, water and food at will.
Regarding food, we bought a pellet dispenser. This assures us that, even if they have been greedy and have eaten their vegetables quickly, the rabbits will still have a dose of pellet per day.
Visiting friends or family
Second option when we go a little longer but not too much, a week maximum. In this case, we do as before, but with regular visits from friends or family. This is to give them food and drink again, but also to change the litter if necessary and above all to spend some time with them. Indeed, the rabbit is an animal that likes the company of others, that we caress it and that we play with it.
I consider that for a week it is a reasonable compromise, in terms of involvement for our friends and well-being for my rabbit.
Trading custody with neighbors
If you do not have friends or family close or available, there are now many possibilities to connect neighbors or individuals with each other in order to organize exchanges of animal care. I am thinking in particular of Facebook groups, or announcements at the level of the town hall. We can thus arrange to keep our respective animals while each other is absent.
This allows a lot of flexibility, it’s free and it allows you to get to know your neighbors 🙂
Exchange of house against good self of animals
Depending on where you live, another option that may be interesting (but that I have never tested) is to offer your accommodation in exchange for animal care.
The advantage is twofold, your house is monitored with less risk of burglary, and your animals are well guarded.
Safekeeping with family or friends
An alternative a little more complicated logistically speaking, but clearly better for the well being of the animal is to leave it in custody directly with friends or family.
From a week of absence, this is the option I prefer. The animal is not left alone, it always has company. On the other hand, in our case, the constraint is that the person hosting him agrees to leave him free in his accommodation. This can be a complicated alternative for a rabbit, but easier to manage for other animals.
If despite all this, you have not found a satisfactory free option, you still have the paid options.
The pet sitters
This option may seem more reassuring than asking a normal neighbor to take care of your animals. Indeed, pet-sitters are individuals or professionals who offer their services out of love for animals and who are used to keeping them, either as a main or secondary activity. Pet-sitters can be more or less flexible and accommodating depending on the needs of each animal.
You can find those near you directly by an internet search if they have a site, or through specialized directories. The advantage of the directory is that you can filter and choose the person to whom you will entrust your hairball according to many criteria. The disadvantage is that you will pay an intermediary (the person who manages the directory) which will affect the final price of custody.
This option is often one of the first that we think of to have our pet looked after during our holidays. Indeed, we know that we leave our companions in an adapted structure with professionals and veterinarians available quickly in the event of a problem.
There are however several disadvantages and not the least:
- you have no choice but to keep your animal at home, you must take it to the pension where it will live with several of its congeners.
- depending on the species of your little protege, you will not necessarily find a boarding house very close to your home. We choose to leave our rabbits at the pension Big Ears on the Lyon side, because that’s where we adopted them and we have confidence in its manager, but that’s a long way for everyone.
- it is often necessary to do it early to have a place available. Not practical for a last minute romantic weekend.
- the conditions of care may be less flexible than with a pet-sitter and your companion may receive a little less attention in these structures which accommodate many animals.
- the cost can also sometimes be a hindrance.
As you can see there are many possibilities to have your pet looked after during your holidays. All have their advantages and disadvantages and do not necessarily apply to your little protege according to his species or his character, but they have the merit of existing. However, I hope that this will allow you to find a suitable solution to have your companion looked after during your absence 🙂