How to take care of your dog or cat during the holidays?

The time of the great departures on vacation is approaching, with, as every year, the same problem for millions of French people: how to keep their pets?

Camping, summer rentals, hotels… It’s not always easy to take your four-legged friend everywhere.

A situation that can lead to extreme situations: the abandonment of animals.

Each year, 100,000 animals are abandoned, including at least 40,000 during the summer holidays.

In 2021, the SPA shelters thus collected 16,894 animals between May 1 and August 31, a record.

However, there are many solutions for keeping your animal, such as pensions, “pet sitter”, help between individuals, or simply custody with relatives. We have investigated for you, and, with the help of our readers, solicited by means of a survey, we have unearthed solutions.

Call on relatives or neighbors

The first option is the simplest, and the least expensive. It consists of turning to those close to you. Friends, family, neighbors… One of them will surely be delighted to be able to take care of your furball. If you have a cat, you can, for example, give your keys to your neighbor or a friend, who will come and feed it, and they can even take the opportunity to water your plants. If your animal needs attention, you can take it to your loved one; or the latter can settle in with you during your absence.

This is what Caroline, a resident of La Garde (83), does.

“A girlfriend comes to my house to take care of my cat and keep the house instead of going to her parents’. Everyone gets something out of it!”
Caroline.

More than a third of readers who responded to our survey entrust their pet to a loved one when they go on vacation.

However, it is not always possible to find a relative or a neighbor who is willing to watch your pet. Don’t panic, there are other options.

Photo Hannah Wright.

Exchange of custody or volunteering: economical solutions

If your budget is a bit tight, there are two alternatives: volunteering or exchange pet sitting.

You can indeed arrange to find someone who will take care of your animal during your absence, and in exchange, you will take care of their companion during their absence. Depending on the arrangement, your pet may stay with you. To do this, the free Animal Keepers site offers to put you in touch with other owners.

Finally, if you have not found volunteers to keep your companion around, you can always turn to specialized sites. A service nevertheless subject to an annual subscription. There is Animal smart (€9.90/year) or Borrowing Mon Toutou (€29.90/year).

Picture CD.

Book a place in a boarding house

One of the most popular solutions is the pension. You can entrust your pet to a professional for a few days or a week. Your companion will thus be taken care of within a regulated framework, will benefit from a box or a large space, and will be able to have fun with his congeners.

The price of dog boarding is generally around 20€/day and per animal. Take a few euros off if it’s a cat. There are many kennels and pensions in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes. Our readers have recommended to us, among others, the Dog Méditerranée pension, located in Mouans-Sartoux (18€/day for a dog, 13€/day for a cat), as well as Dog Attitude, in Mougins (from 18€ to 24€/ day for a dog, from €12 to €14/day for a cat). Also in Mougins, the Argeville kennel offers to welcome your dog from €17.50/day. In the Var, you can find the pension des Coeurs Poilus in Cannet-des-Maures (20€/day).

In Toulon, a reader recommended the Matoulonnais cat boarding house to us. If your feline is a homebody and does not like changes, you can turn instead to Katzamis, also in Toulon, which offers home boarding.

In order not to be separated from your companion, you can also find a boarding house next to your vacation spot. This is the option preferred by Valentin, a resident of Aspremont (06).

We take our two dogs with us and generally board or board near our vacation spot.” -Valentine.

Photo Anthony Duran.

Solicit paid individuals, or “pet sitter

For the same price as a pension, or even a little cheaper, you can also entrust your animal to an individual that you pay. Based on the same concept as babysitting, the “pet sitting” is an increasingly popular activity. In exchange for payment, your pet is fed, taken out, cuddled, and housed as appropriate.

Many sites are dedicated to offers of “pet sitters“: Animaute (about 20€/day), Animalin (10-15€/day). Just enter your postal code to see the offers of “pet sitter” near you.

Fanny, a resident of Nice, went through the Gudog platform to find her “pet-sitter”.

It’s both reassuring, and at the same time I know he’s in the same neighborhood as mine, and I get a lot of news. And the price is still very fair.

She prefers this option, which allows her to find someone available, with experience and noted by former clients. This saves him from placing the responsibility of looking after his dog on a loved one.

Photo Matt Nelson.

Choose animal protection association shelters

Some shelters and animal protection associations also offer boarding, often in exchange for a donation. Thus, the Espoir SPA refuge in Grasse, located in Mougins, offers to keep your dogs and cats, mainly dogs, from a few days to several weeks, for 14€/day.

By offering the pension, the independent shelter, which lives only on donations, can finance itself. But the objective is also to fight against abandonment, by offering a reasonable price, or even free, to owners who have no other solutions.

“If, following a temporary change, people want to give them up because they cannot pay a pension, then we keep them for free.”
Marie Pelou, in charge of the Espoir SPA refuge in Grasse

Be careful, however, many shelters do not provide boarding.

AFP photo.

Preparing for departure

In addition to your wallet, the solution you find will also depend on the needs and character of your animal. But whichever option you choose, there are a series of steps to take before leaving it. You will have to entrust the identification card and the health record of your hairball; check that the coordinates of the I-CAD file (Identification of Domestic Carnivores) are up to date.

Also check that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, especially against rabies and kennel cough, as most boarding houses, shelters and kennels will ask you for them. Give a list of your pet’s needs: portion of kibble, number of outings…

Finally, leave your phone number and that of your veterinarian. The SPA also recommends having a care certificate signed by the person who will look after your companion.

This allows you to leave your pet with confidence, and you will spend a more peaceful holiday. In any case, giving up is never the solution.

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