Dr Katrin Jahn Image Credit: Supplied


Summer is a common time for many people to go on holiday. But, is it safe to leave your pet at home while you’re away?

Dr Katrin Jahn, general manager and head veterinarian at German Veterinary Clinic in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News: “It is safe as long as you have someone living in your house or checking on the animals at least twice daily whilst you are away. Apart from the obvious need for food, water and exercise, it is important to observe animals to make sure they are healthy.”

So, should people then leave their pets at boarding facilities?

Jahn said: “As long as the boarding facility offers everything the pet needs, that is adequate space, care and personal interaction, it is safe to leave the pet in a well-run establishment for a longer period.”

Leaving a pet behind may cause some behavioural issues in the animal.

Jahn said: “The main behavioural issues we see are due to stress, resulting from changes in routine or lack of interaction and love from carers. It can sometimes take a pet a few days to adjust to new surroundings and routines, but if the facility is run and managed correctly and the animals have enough care and attention, there should be no change in behaviour. It is important to understand what type of holiday care is best suited to your pet. Some love going ‘on holiday’ to a boarding facility, others, especially cats, prefer to be taken care of in the comfort of their own homes.”

It is, therefore, important for pet owners to do some research before dropping of their beloved pets at a boarding facility.

Jahn said: “You need to ensure that the pet’s vaccinations are fully up to date and that the pet is healthy before going into boarding. You must inform the facility of any previous illnesses or medication your pet might be on as well as its likes and dislikes, diet and routines. Many boarding facilities have a list of standard procedures. This usually comprises internal and external parasite control and a full health check in order to ensure that there are no signs of transmissible diseases. Dogs usually need to be vaccinated against Kennel Cough before going into boarding.

“It is also important that there are enough caretakers per animal to offer love and attention to each pet. I would also look at the facilities. For example, in cat boarding facilities, the rooms should be set up in a ‘cat friendly’ way in order to minimise stress to the animals. I would also check the cleanliness and hygiene of the facility and whether the staff have a personal interest in the animal. Also check what happens if the animal becomes unwell. Do they work with a veterinary clinic and how would they intervene?”