Summer care for dogs: internet enabled dog walking and holiday care. Ireland AM Vet Spot Video

With long days and milder weather, the summer months are enjoyable for pets.

Watch the video at the foot of this page to learn more, or read on here.

There are two areas where pet owners can need help when caring for their animals.

Extra exercise

Ideally, most dogs should be taken out for a half hour walk, twice daily, and it can be difficult to fit this in when working full time. For this reason, it can be helpful to engage a dog walker to help out with the daily routine.
It’s easier than ever to find skilled and reliable help to do this, with the following websites
a) helps you to find a referenced, insured, experienced dog walker in your area
b) is a free version, where people who positively want a dog in their lives can borrow your dog to take them for walks
Word of mouth in your own area is still a great way to find someone to do this for you
How much does it cost? For an hour’s walk, the going rate can be anything from €10 to €25. It’s a big responsibility.

A third possibility is to take your dog to a doggy day care, for two or three days a week. This does not necessarily cost much more (e.g. €20 to 30 per day) but your dog will be entertained all day by socialising with other dogs, and will be exhausted the following day

Having your pet cared for when you are on holidays

If you are planning on heading off for holidays, one of the hidden costs is having to pay for your pet to be cared for in your absence. And you want to make sure that this is done in a way that your pet really enjoys.

Ask a friend or relative to mind your pets: for many people, this is the cheapest and handiest option, but it is not always possible.

Boarding kennels.

This is the traditional alternative to friends/relatives minding your pets, and there are many excellent kennels across the country. A good starting place when looking for one is the Irish Boarding Kennels and Catteries Association which has set standards for its members. Alternatively, ask around locally, or even speak to your local vet.

Internet enabled pet care

Having friends minding pets isn’t always possible, and traditional boarding kennels can be pricey, especially if you have more than one pet. And many people don’t like their idea of their pets being cooped up in a cage while they are away.
In this internet, sharing economy era, there’s a new cost-effective possibility: having your pet minded in someone else’s home via a dedicated website/app. This has taken off in a big way in the USA in the past decade, and is now becoming very popular in Europe, including Ireland. An Irish start up – is now popular across Europe: the service is always geo- located to your own area, so it crosses national borders easily.
The concept is that websites connect up pet owners with dog-loving members of the public who are happy to mind pets in their own home. The service gives your pet an experience which is more what they are used to – idling around a family home all day, going for walks with friendly people, sleeping in the kitchen, whatever – it is very different from being in an enclosed kennel and run, so many people prefer it for their home loving pets.
There are reassuring security aspects built in to the system: for example, all pet minders are covered by complimentary emergency veterinary insurance in case their pet has an accident or falls ill. And an online review system means that pet minders soon build up track records of reliability. Most people make sure they meet a new minder first (perhaps going for a short dog walk together), and ideally they arrange a ‘trial stay’ for a couple of hours or overnight, so that they can thoroughly check the minder and their home out before leaving them there for a longer period.

There are other pet sitter type websites too – e.g. PetsittersIreland and BorrowMyDoggy can also include people who just want to borrow your dog for an extended period because they like doing it, for free.

A final couple of summer tips

  • Always be aware of the risk of heat stress to dogs
  • Remember to prevent the common summer parasites: fleas, ticks and lungworm. Talk to your vet about what you need to do for your individual pet.

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