Holiday Animal Care

The summer holidays are coming! Think about your animals and start planning now.

Most of us can look forward to a holiday break over the summer. But if you have pets and livestock you should start planning now to make sure they are well cared for while you are away. As many of us know, it’s when we’re on holiday that things tend to go wrong.  

It will take a bit of organising, especially if you have lots of different types of animal, but it’s worth the time and effort

If you don’t like to leave your dog behind, there are more and more motels and camping grounds that will let you bring your dog with you, usually by prior arrangement. (These places can be found in AA Accommodation Guides or on the internet). 

Leaving your animals at home?

If you are leaving your pets and/or livestock at home, you must find a good minder for them – a friend, a neighbour or a pet-minding service.

  • First and most important, this should be a trust-worthy person who will live in or visit every day, someone who knows what your animals need. In other words, a “treasure”! 
  • You will need to take plenty of time to explain or demonstrate the routine and make sure your carer can recognise the first signs of a problem.
  • Emphasise that your animals must have good clean drinking water at all times. The water bowls should be checked daily.
  • Make sure there is enough food on hand for your animals, or that your minder knows where to get it, and that he or she knows exactly how much to feed.
  • All dogs need an exercise opportunity each day.
  • Leave a list of contact numbers for emergencies, make sure your vet’s phone number is in a prominent place, and of course your own contact numbers too.


  • If you are putting your pet in boarding kennels, you might like to visit yourself first to make sure you are happy with where your pet will be housed.
  • Ensure the food offered is suitable for your pet (or arrange to take your own).
  • Some kennels and catteries provide bedding so if it’s allowed, take some of your pet’s familiar bedding to help it settle.
  • Kennels and catteries require your pets to be fully vaccinated so you will need an up-to-date vaccination certificate. Get any boosters necessary in plenty of time.


  • Before you go away you should put your stock in safe paddocks with good feed.  If necessary tell your caretaker when to move them, making allowances for very bad weather. 
  • Livestock should be checked daily to make sure they have enough food and water and that they are not ill or lame.   
  • Check the fences before you go.
  • Check and clean your water troughs and ask your minder to check them daily. 

Animal identification

  • Remember to leave a collar on your dog with the registration disc attached, so that if it goes missing it can easily be traced to you.
  • If you have a cat, you could get it a collar with elastic insert, with your name and phone number written on the collar.
  • If your cat or dog hasn’t been micro-chipped, consider getting this done by your vet. It’s the best way to ensure your pet will be returned to you if it gets lost.


Thefts are much more likely when you are away.  Even livestock like the roadside goat can go missing.  So if your caretaker is not living in, ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your place, consider getting locks on the gates, and do your tethered goat a favour - put it in a paddock with a good shelter!


Phew!  You will wonder if it’s worth going away at all, but if you plan well enough, you will enjoy your holiday with an easy mind, and you will be able to look forward even more to coming home!