Worried about leaving your pet on vacation? Follow these four tips


Six-year-old Morgan Wilcox border collie Milo is an important member of the family – and that can make getting around difficult.

While Morgan likes to bring Milo when she can, pet-friendly accommodation isn’t always an option.

There are always animal sitters around, but finding the right fit can be a challenge.

We spoke to Morgan and her friend and occasional sitter, Brooke, to get their tips on stress-free pet care.

Find the right person to take care of your pet

If you can’t take your pet with you on your travels, you have three main options.

  • You can try to find a friend who might be willing to take care of your pet.
  • You can hire a pet sitter
  • You can leave your pet in a kennel, cattery, or other pet care provider.

Keep in mind that looking after a pet is a big responsibility, especially during vacation times when people may travel on their own or go out more than usual.

As Morgan brings Milo to his workplace, he has made quite a few friends – and some have offered to look after Milo while he is away.

“It really happened organically with people coming to me and offering to me. I would hate to impose myself, and I don’t take it lightly,” says the Newcastle archaeologist.

Often times, Milo will stay with Brooke Reeves, one of Morgan’s co-workers. Brooke loves dogs and has spent time caring for pets for her friends and family.

“She’s amazing. It started when she was in her twenties and lived at home,” Morgan says.

“It gave him the opportunity to stay with me and have his own space. Taking care of Milo while he was here was part of the package.”

Morgan often leaves her border collie Milo with friends when she has to travel.(Provided)

Be reciprocal

For Morgan, it’s reassuring to know that Milo is with someone he knows well. It also helps that Morgan and Brooke have a good relationship and have established a relationship of trust.

“They’ve built a very strong relationship now. Brooke now has her own place to call home and she took it home with her to stay,” she said.

“She sends me regular updates and things like that, and they’re having a good time. He’s very comfortable with her.”

If you ask others to take care of your pets, it’s important to return the favor.

“A key part is to be reciprocal with this. I have a number of friends with dogs, and they will volunteer to take Milo just like I took their dogs,” Morgan says.

There are also benefits for Brooke.

“My partner and I don’t have a dog, we both work full time and now is not a good time for us,” she says.

“It’s really nice to have Milo in our house because we have the advantage of having a dog at home but it’s not full time.”

Leave written instructions

Brooke, who is now 24, has been keeping animals since she was 17.

A selfie shows Brooke with Milo, a brown border collie.
Brooke, one of Morgan’s coworkers, often takes care of Milo.(Provided)

To make the experience better for the dog and the sitter, Brooke says it’s important to be clear about potential issues.

“If you ask someone to look after your pet, tell them the whole story,” she says.

“Glad to face a responsive dog, we can have this conversation – but if they don’t tell me it puts me and the dog in danger.”

Although she has a regular routine with Milo and Morgan, Brooke finds it helpful to have written instructions when dealing with new animals.

Does your pet need to be fed at certain times? Is he sensitive to food? Does he become anxious or aggressive with other animals?

All of these things are useful for pet sitters to know. It is also helpful to have contact details for yourself, your veterinarian, and anyone else who can help you with your pet.

Ask for recommendations from other pet owners

If you are looking for a pet sitter, Brooke recommends that you ask other pet owners you know.

“I really think word of mouth is the best way. It’s a personal thing, keeping animals,” she says.

“I’ve always felt more comfortable if they know me, or if there’s a connection there.”

If you’re hiring someone to look after your pet, it helps to have the money conversation early on, says Brooke. This can help avoid embarrassing conversations and misunderstandings.

Word of mouth can also help when finding a good kennel or cattery.

Morgan and Milo on the couch.
Morgan relies on word of mouth recommendations for Milo’s kennels.(Provided)

“When I took it [to kennels], this has always been on a first-hand recommendation, ”Morgan explains.

Another important factor to consider is the facilities, Morgan says. Is there room for your pet to move around freely? If your dog or cat has special needs, will the kennel or cattery be able to accommodate them?

“When I took him to a kennel the people were amazing and sent me texts and pictures of him,” Morgan says.

“[Look for people] who genuinely care about dogs and look after them when they are around. “

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