Every once in a while it is nice to take a vacation. But when you have animals, including large animals at home, there is an extra step you have to consider in your vacation planning. That is when you leave home, who is going to take care of the horses?
This is one of the reasons we don’t typically go anywhere. We have too many animals at home to care for. I would be happy to just hire someone to come over twice a day and feed all of the animals, and check in on everything.
But my husband has feelings for our dogs like I do for my horses. And he cannot even think about our four legged fur babies being left to their own devices for an extended period of time.
Honestly his reaction to having someone come feed only was comical when I told him that Lynda (my horse friend) offered to come over and feed the horses, and take care of the dogs. My husband was like “we can’t leave the dogs alone, someone has to be here with them!” He looked so devastated at the mere thought of our dogs being left alone. He looked so sad!
So if you have animals at home, and want to take a vacation away from home, what do you do? Thankfully, there are options other than sending your horses to a boarding barn, but that might be a viable option for you too. Each of the options have Pro’s and Con’s, but hopefully it will give you some ideas.
Hire A House Sitter
You can actually hire someone to come and stay in your home while you are away. There is even a website where you can find someone to watch over your home, and care for your animals while you are away.
Depending on where you live, it can be expensive. For example I looked up how much it would cost for someone to come watch our house for 5 days, and it would cost around $250.00. For some, this might bee too expensive, but depending on how many pets you have, it might be a very viable option.
Hire A Fooder
This is almost the same as someone staying in your home. But instead of having them stay, they just come over and care for your animals. You can even have them play with your pets, or clean stalls. The cost is about the same as having someone stay in your home. But if you only need them to come feed outside pets (like horses) this is an option too. I found a website that has pet sitters (or fooders as my husband likes to call them) in many different states.
Enlist The Help Of A Family Member or Neighbor
If you have someone that you know really well, and trust to come stay in your home, this might be the best option. Thankfully we have adult children that live relatively close by, and if they can make it work, they love coming home. Especially if the refrigerator is stocked.
If you don’t have adult children, possibly other relatives or even your neighbors would be willing to help out. It’s a good idea to let close neighbors know you are going to be gone anyway, so someone is keeping an eye on the house right?
Before You Leave For Vacation
Ok, now that you have the arrangements of who is going to be caring for your animals, you need to make it as easy as possible for them, and your animals.
Have A Command Center
The first thing you should do is make some sort of communication board for whomever is going to be caring for your horses while you are away. I made one for my horses while our daughter stayed in our home when we went a way for a couple of days.
It’s important to have pictures of which horse is which, if you have more than one horse. This way your caregiver will know who is who.
I made this one with a dollar store frame and piece of foam board. I made sure that my daughter would know which horse is which. This is important for feeding, stall assignments, and heaven forbid, if the vet needs to be called out.
It just makes it easier on someone who is taking care of your horses, especially if they don’t really know them. I also added important phone numbers, and their feeding schedule.
I also think its a good idea if you can pre-plan your horses meals. Since my horses are fed with hay nets, this was easy. I just filled all of the hay nets for all of the meals the horses would need. It was important to also have plenty of hay bales, just in case extra hay would be needed.
Measuring out all of their grain rations helped too. Putting their names on the bags made it easier for my daughter. I also included a few extra grain pans, just in case.
And to make sure the ‘fooder’ knows which horse belongs in which stall, it can be helpful to make name plates for your horses stalls. Again, just in case. You can do the same for your dogs, cats, or whatever animals you have that someone will be caring for.
Watching When You Are Away From Home
And something else that is really nice to have, although not a necessity is a camera. We have the Ring Security Camera and I absolutely love it. I can access the camera from my phone, even when I’m away from home. I can actually see my horses out in their pasture when I’m at work.
This is the best thing ever. I love this thing. It was well worth the $199.00. I can see what the weather is like at my home before I leave work, I can see when my horses are out, and I can see when the UPS guys drops off a package. I am so glad we bought this!
And being over 1000 miles away from home, having a camera to keep an eye on things is really nice to have. And yes, that is my driveway with the remnants of the Bomb Cyclone that happened in Colorado last week!
You Need A Vacation!
Every once in a while, we all need to get away. Don’t let your animals keep you from taking a break once in awhile. You will find that you will come back refreshed, and excited to be home again. After all, I think the best thing about a vacation is coming back home! And with some planning on your part, you can take a vacation and know your animals and home are well cared for because you did your planning ahead of time.