On a rare occasion when our humans go on holiday they leave me and Jackman behind. However, they make sure that we are well look after where ever we stay.
When our humans ventured to the snowy South Island of New Zealand we holidayed at an amazing dog homestay, where we slept by the fire, covered our bellies in mud and played with our fellow doggy homestayers. Holiday life could not be better than this.
For those that have not used a dog homestay before or are unsure if it is the right option for you dog, we’ve put together a list of essentials questions to ask when booking your four-legged family member in a homestay.
What experience do the humans have looking after dogs?
The couple that run our homestay also own a daycare we have attended, Club Fido Daycare Ltd. It goes without saying, they are experienced when it comes to taking care of dogs. While people in the dog industry, e.g. dog trainer, vet, doggy daycare owner/worker, animal behaviourist, are excellent options, a person that loves dogs and spends a lot of time with them can be just as qualified to look after your dog. In any case, ask for references to learn more about what the homestay will be like from a dog owner who has already sent their dog to the homestay.
Where will my dog(s) sleep?
Don't tell your dogs, but when we are on our homestay all of the dogs sleep at the foot of the owners' bed. We aren't even allowed to do that when we sleep at home. Homestays are a bit different then kennels because in most instances the dog(s) will sleep inside. Check that they will have a comfortable place to sleep, e.g. dog bed, carpet or rug. If they will be sleeping outside, check that the space is well-covered and protected from the elements and sufficient bedding to keep your dog warm. Remember, not all dogs are breed to tolerate really cold weather, like us Chessies, so if your dog should not sleep outside be sure to let the homestay people know.
How much exercise and play time will my dog(s) have?
Since our homestay is associated with a daycare, again we are lucky, the weekdays are spent at daycare, while the weekends are spent playing on the farm with the other dogs. The amount of exercise and play is plenty. We are exhausted by the end of the day and curl ourselves up by the fire.
The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on a number of factors, like size and breed. Generally, a decent length walk, like 30 minutes twice a day and a game of fetch should be plenty. Again, that's an average. You want to be sure that your dog(s) is not going to not be exercised at all because that can lead to them developing unwanted behaviours which will take time for you to correct.
May I visit the home before booking my dog(s)?
Definitely request to visit the home before booking your dog(s). Check out where they will spend their time, whether it’s inside, outside or both. Is the place fully fenced? Are they close to a busy road? You want to feel confident and secure that you are leaving your dog in a home where they will be safe and loved.
Will you accommodate my dogs special diet and health needs?
While Jackman eats anything and everything, my sensitive tummy sometimes requires a special and strict diet. Most homestays will accommodate this request. Leave specific instructions for amounts and times of day when food or medicine need to be administered. Plus, leaving your vet's telephone number will be handy, should something arise.
Do you check for vacintations?
We dogs are on holiday, so we don’t want to worry about picking up an illness from another dog that’s un-vaccinated, like kennel cough. Any reputable homestayer will ask to sight your dog(s) vaccination history and won't let the dog stay if the vaccinations are not current. If not, you might want to re-think sending us to this place. Think about the vet bills of us picking up something gross. Not a good way for any of us to end our holiday.
What should my dog(s) bring with them?
Remember, we’re not humans, so we don’t need all our toys and treats. If this is their first time away from you, then a blanket that they sleep with and has your smell on it will be helpful. Unless they eat special food or take medicine, bring nothing. The homestay should have plenty to keep your furry four-legged baby entertained. It’s recommended not to bring a favourite toy as it can lead to possessive tendencies among dogs.
Has your dog had a great experience at a homestay? Tell us in the comments what made it so great. We are always looking to add to our list of essentials.