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What to do with your pet if you're going away for Christmas

golden retriever laying down in front of christmas tree and presents advice

Finding a solution for your pet while you're away should be at the top of your to-do list

© Shutterstock

Christmas is fast approaching, and everyone is getting into the spirit! But if you've decided to spend Christmas away this year, what's to become of your pets?

By Justine Seraphin

Updated on the 11/12/2020, 10:09

It's that time of year: Christmas songs are playing in the background, the Christmas tree is lit and decorated, and Christmas cookies are baking in the oven. This is undeniably a magical season, whether you've decided to spend it at home or away.

But as with all major events in the year, it is our job, as responsible pet owners, to think of how we can make this time enjoyable for our pets as well. If you've decided to celebrate Christmas at home, then you should be making sure toxic foods are out of the way and guests know to give your dog some space. If you've decided to celebrate Christmas away from home, then it's time to start thinking about what you'll do with your pet in the meantime! If you're in the latter group, don't worry, we've got you covered.

Where can I leave my dog when I go on Christmas holiday?

There are many different pet care services available to pet owners who are going away on holiday. If your dog is a little shy with strangers, it's a good idea to ask a familiar face, such as a friend or family member, to take care of your pet while you're away. Other options for dogs who are more comfortable in their own environment include hiring a pet sitter, pet borrower, or dog walker who can drop in from time to time, or even stay overnight if necessary.

If you own a confident, social, and energetic pooch, you can also look into daycare services or boarding kennels in your local area. 

A good option if you're looking for something in between the two choices above is to find a pet sitter who offers to look after your animal in their own home.

Is leaving my dog for Christmas ok?

Dogs don't know the difference between the festive Christmas period and any other time of the year. So don't worry, they won't take it the wrong way if you decide to take a trip without them during the holidays!

Dogs do, however, miss their owners when they're gone and have a tendency to suffer from separation anxiety if not properly trained to stay on their own from a young age. This means that if you're planning to leave for upwards of 8 hours to celebrate Christmas at a friend or family member's house, then arranging for a pet sitter or pet borrower is a good option. A pet sitter or borrower can stay in your home while you're away, making sure your dog has fresh water and enough food in their bowl. More importantly, they can keep your dog company while they're waiting for your return!

Where can I find a pet sitter to look after my pets over Christmas?

It can be tricky to find pet care services which have vacancies during the Christmas period. Owners typically make their pets' arrangements weeks in advance. To make sure your pet has a comfortable place to stay while you're away, best not to leave reservations to the last minute!

Our top pick? BorrowMyDoggy! BorrowMyDoggy is a pet care service where you can find hundreds of devoted pet lovers at the tip of your fingers. This ensures you have plenty of choice, so it'll be easier to find someone to look after your pet on Christmas, even supposing you are last minute! With BorrowMyDoggy, you also have guarantee that your dog's borrower is a true pet lover, so they're never going to want to pass on an opportunity to look after your pet, even if it is Christmas! Plus, hiring a dog borrower allows your dog to stay home (and warm) for Christmas rather than having to go to a busy boarding kennel or daycare.

Can I take my pet on Christmas holiday?

Of course, another alternative for the Christmas holidays is to take your pet with you! This is much easier if you're planning a staycation, as it will avoid you having to go to the vet for any vaccines required by pet travel rules in different countries.

The UK is particularly pet friendly, so it can be quite easy to find dog friendly cottages and pet friendly hotels with a quick online search. If you're renting a house away from home, make sure to find a property with an enclosed garden: you wouldn't want your pooch running away!

Remember to think of your dog first though - if your pet is uneasy when it comes to travel and discovering new places, it may be best to leave them behind with a trusted pet sitter or borrower. A dog friendly holiday is also one where you can take your pooch on long walks in areas of natural beauty - not one where you'll be visiting landmarks in a busy city. Make sure to take this into account before you take off!

What pet should I get if I travel a lot?

People who travel a lot generally steer clear of dogs since they can be such a handful. Better pets for avid travellers include fish, rodents, or even cats, as they require less attention and care than dogs (though they will of course still need a pet sitter when the owner is away).

However, it is still possible to own a dog and travel at the same time. If you plan to travel with your pet, you are better off opting for a small breed, which will be easier to transport. Most importantly, you must socialise your puppy well, getting them used to new people, places, and experiences from a young age. This will help your puppy grow into a confident dog who won't fear travelling.

If you're not planning on travelling with your dog, make sure you think long and hard before purchasing or adopting one. Ask yourself what you'll do with your pup when you go away. Will you always have a family member prepared to take them on? Is there a trusted daycare in your local area?

Whether you're spending Christmas with your dog or away, we hope this special season is filled with joy for you and your pets!