How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

We always want to be there for and take care of our pets. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you have everything in place to keep your pets healthy and happy while you’re away. If you’re leaving your furry friend at a kennel, with a pet sitter, or at home with a loved one there are steps you can take to make sure they are taken care of how you would take care of them. Using Gentreo to create a Pet Information Sheet and Pet Power of Attorney is the best way to make sure that your pet is taken care of while you’re on vacation.

How to prepare your pet sitter for your trip

With Gentreo’s Pet Information Sheet, you can provide pet sitters and caregivers with the details about caring for your pet. List your pet’s vet and emergency contact information, note their diet and exercise routines and preferences, point out medications and dosages, and more! You can even list things like your pet’s favorite toys, treats, walk routes, and any other details that will help your pet’s caregiver take care of them as you would.

Create a Pet Power of Attorney just in case

Because pets are legally considered property you have to take legal measures to make sure that they are cared for like family. A Pet Power of Attorney is a fairly new concept but has become more popular in recent times. If you’re leaving your pet with a sitter or caregiver and something happens that requires veterinary or medical treatment, a Pet Power of Attorney may be required for your pet to get the care they need. This is because many vets will not provide expensive treatments without written authorization by the owner, and if you’re unreachable while you travel, your pet’s caregiver will need legal authority to approve the treatment. A Pet Power of Attorney gives them this authority.

Your Pet Power of Attorney can cover items including but not limited to veterinary care, food, and grooming. There are two main types of Pet Powers of Attorney, a Limited Pet Power of Attorney and a Durable one.

“Limited” Pet Power of Attorney

As the name suggests, the power of attorney is only for a set duration of time. You should choose this document if you are going away for a trip in case your pet sitter may need to take your pet to the vet.

“Durable” Pet Power of Attorney

This form of power is a permanent power to care for your pets. It is not limited by time and takes effect immediately by default. This is a good choice for people you already know and trust to care for your pets, like a close friend or relative.

How to store your documents so everyone knows where to turn

Gentreo Pets includes only the pet-specific documents – a Pet Power of Attorney, Pet Trust, and Pet Information Sheet – and costs $49 per year. Membership includes secure storage in Gentreo’s proprietary Digital Vault, where you can share your pet protection documents with caregivers and other individuals of your choosing. With the Vault, anyone you choose can access documents and information in an emergency with just a couple of clicks.

Having all your documents in one place makes them easily accessible for your pet’s caregiver. In case of emergency, if you’re traveling, or if you have a pet sitter watching over your pet for a short period of time, this information makes sure your pet is protected and cared for. If something were to happen to your pet while you’re away, having all this information in one place could save precious time. Don’t leave your pet unprotected or your pet sitter uninformed. Join Gentreo Pets today so you can make sure that you can prepare, plan for, and protect your pets.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

No matter what kind of pet you have, it's normal to have concerns about leaving them unattended when you go on vacation. And while some birds can manage lots of time on their own, most birds are highly social creatures that form close attachments with their owners.

Before you leave on your vacation, you may be wondering if your bird will be traumatized by the separation, if you can find someone who will be able to properly care for them, or if they'll be angry with you when you return.

Adjusting Is Easy

Many people are concerned that new locations and new caretakers will be a detriment to their pet bird. They feel that if they leave, their little guy may have high anxiety during this time, get scared, or become depressed and refuse to eat. In fact, this worry is mostly unfounded.

Birds are adaptable creatures that adjust well during times of change. Our pet birds in captivity are not very different from their wild counterparts, and birds in the wild have been adapting to family changes, weather changes, and even seasonal changes for eons. In nature, birds have to be flexible and they also have to figure out new problems on a daily basis; adaptability comes naturally to them.

Selecting the Best Bird Sitter

Despite how adaptable they are, your pet bird will still need some attention while you're away. If you don't know anyone who would be responsible enough to provide for your bird's daily needs, many professional pet-sitters do have experience providing excellent care to many species of exotic pets, including birds. Check with veterinary technicians at your local veterinary offices as many of them have side jobs pet sitting for animals with more extensive needs.

There are two ways you can ensure your birds are cared for well whenever you have to leave home. You can board your bird with a reputable person, or you can have someone come in daily to care for them.

Some people prefer having someone come in a few times a day because they feel this is less traumatic than moving the bird and all of their belongings to another location. The best location to choose is the one where your bird will get the most attention and watchful eyes.

Introductions and Making the Transfer

Whenever possible, the best way to begin your pet's vacation adventure is to invite your chosen caregiver over to your house for an evening, just to meet your bird. This way, you can find out if there are any problems with the arrangement ahead of time. At the introduction, have your sitter put the evening meal of favorite foods into the bird's cage with you looking on and talking to your pet to help reassure them about their new friend.

It is important to try out this match when there is still time to alter your plan. Some well-meaning friends may not realize that they are actually afraid of birds. They may especially be afraid of large beaks. People who do not have pet birds may find out that they are allergic to feathers, have trouble with cage smells, or difficulties with screeching noises. It's important to uncover these problems before they become a problem for all concerned.

If you are driving your bird to a new location, put a seat belt harness around the cage or attach it to the car seat. Cages tend to jostle too much when you stop. Remember to remove all water dishes ahead of travel.

A Vacation for Your Bird

Birds, like other pets, have very good memories for home-like conditions. Their favorite foods, favorite sights (like a familiar house plant next to their cage), extra toys, and their familiar cloth cage cover at night will help them to feel that some things have not changed. It’s also good for enrichment to ask your sitter to come up with some new games to play with your bird.

If taking your pet bird to a sitter’s home, it’s important to be careful about where you put the bird cage. New locations that have not been made bird-safe with window guards, electric cord covers, and potential other hazards, can be dangerous for your pet bird.

If your bird-sitter has another animal or bird in their home, it is best for your bird to be kept in a room by itself as becoming accustomed to other creatures is difficult for any pet and must be done gradually. An ideal location is near a clear, closed window but away from all heating and cooling elements in the room.

Returning Home to Your Bird

Just because you are away from your bird does not mean that you cannot have an eye on your bird. Whenever you travel, use video chat to get a real-time visual on the state of the cage and on your little friend. This will give you added peace of mind until you get back home, and your bird may be comforted by hearing your voice as well.

Depending on how long you've been gone, you may see a little bit of "acting out" from your bird once you are reunited back home. Your bird may turn its back to you or appear to be giving you the cold shoulder for a little while, but this usually doesn't last more than a day or two. Before long, you will be telling each other about the amazing things you both saw and learned, and about the new friends you met!

If you’re going on holiday and leaving your pet, it’s important to ensure your pet is cared for when you are away. The best option is to have a friend or family member look after them. As this may not always be possible, we’ve listed the best other options as well as what to look out for to ensure your pet has the best time whilst you’re away.

  • Have a pet-sitter. Take a look at Rover and find your perfect dog sitter.
  • Take them to a boarding establishment or dog kennel.

Having friends or family look after your pet

An absent owner or change of routine can be stressful for your pet. Having someone look after your pet in your home is usually the best option, as it allows you to keep things as familiar as possible for your pet. This is especially true if you’ve got a cat, rabbit or small animal as they wont be familiar with travelling and visiting new places.

For dogs, it depends on the individual whether they’d be happier to stay in their home or go to a friend or family member.

Make sure you give who’s looking after your pet all the information they need to care for them whilst you’re away. Use our holiday checklist at the bottom of the page so you don’t miss anything!

Pet sitter

If you can’t find a friend or family member to look after your pet, think about getting a pet sitter.

Finding a pet sitter can be a daunting task, as you want to make sure your pet (and property) is looked after properly. The National Association of Registered Pet Sitters can provide you with a list of their members.

Our tips when choosing a pet sitter

  • Meet them before employing them so you’re confident that they can care for your pet’s needs
  • see a copy of their police check or Criminal Records Bureau certificate to check that they don’t have a criminal background
  • check their references
  • check that they have insurance to cover your pet in case of an emergency
  • ‘introductory sessions’ with your pets new carer will help them settle in for when you’re on holiday.

Make sure give your pet carer all the information they need to care for your pet. Use our holiday checklist at the bottom of the page so you don’t miss anything!

Animal boarding establishments and dog kennels

If you can’t find a friend, family or pet sitter – the best option might be to find a good dog kennel, cattery or small animal boarder.

It’s important you take the time to find a place that’s suitable for your pet, as each one will vary and the environment can be stressful. If it’s your first time choosing an animal boarding place, ask your vet or friends for recommendations. You can also contact local councils or search online for local places. Always visit the boarder before choosing one.

What to check for when visiting an animal boarder

  • An up-to-date licence in case your pet needs emergency care
  • facilities are clean, dry, draught-free, secure and provide shade
  • will they exercise your pet and give them the space they need to act normally?
  • will the staff spend time with your dog each day and give them the social contact they need?
  • a suitable system to monitor pets in the day and evening
  • predator and prey species are kept separately to prevent stress
  • do they ask for proof of vaccination? This is important to stop the spread of contagious diseases
  • number of staff – are there enough to look after all of the animals?
  • do they ask about your pet’s diet and health?
  • can they accommodate for any medical issues your pet has?
  • do you feel welcome and do the animals in their care look clean, happy and healthy?
  • all dogs and cats are to be up to date with flea and worm treatment.

If the boarding establishment isn’t happy to answer your questions or you’re not satisfied they’ll be able to care for your pet properly, find another reputable boarder who will be able to.

Holiday checklist

Make sure whoever is looking after your pet has everything they need.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

Going on vacation is the best, but leaving your pets behind can be the pits. It’s hard to relax and have a good time when you’re away from home and worried that your dog or cat is missing you, not eating properly, and—worst of all, the thought that they’ve run away to try to find you.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

Going on vacation is the best, but leaving your pets behind can be the pits. It’s hard to relax and have a good time when you’re away from home and worried that your dog or cat is missing you, not eating properly, and—worst of all, the thought that they’ve run away to try to find you. (Does everybody else worry about that, or is it just me?)

I’ve boarded my dog, Ira (scruffy star of This American Dog), a few times when I’ve been in a pinch, but, for the most part, I’ve been lucky enough to have a circuit of friends that trade stay-at-home pet-sitting duties when one of us leaves town. I know boarding is the perfect solution for a lot of people, and there are some really stellar kennels that will take top-notch care of your furry family, but for me, I’ve always felt more at ease knowing that Ira is at home, on his own familiar turf.

Either way, whether you board or have a friend or neighbor take care of your pet, here are some helpful tips for pet care when you’re away on vacation to ease your mind so that you can enjoy your vacation, and come back to a happy pet.

1. Make sure your dog or cat has updated pet ID tags. If, heaven forbid, your animal decides to make a break for it, you want to make sure they’re wearing your current phone number so that you can be reached in an emergency.

2. Activate Virtual Leash. Say you leave your phone charger at home, so you’re stuck with a dead phone on vacation, or you accidentally drop it into the ocean, or a pool, or, even more likely: a toilet. It happens all the time! With Virtual Leash, all of your pet’s vital information is kept on their online profile, which is printed on Dog Tag Art’s personalized pet tags. With the click of a button, anyone who finds your pet can notify your emergency contacts via e-mail, Twitter, text message, and voicemail, and you can even update the best location for your pet to be returned, in case they’re staying away from home while you’re gone.

3. Detailed care instructions. Whether you board your pet or have someone come over to take care of them, you want to leave clear, detailed information so that there’s no confusion or guessing involved. Leave a note specifying exactly how much food your pet gets for every meal, including how many treats it’s okay to feed them. If they’re on some kind of medicine, leave instructions for how much they need to take, the best method to give it to them (ie. “Slather the pill in peanut butter”) and any other important information. It’s a good idea to have your home pet-sitter come over in advance of pet-sitting so that you can walk them through your routine, show them where everything is, and introduce them to your pet if they haven’t met already.

4. Important personal details. I once took care of a friend’s dog who tried to attack delivery trucks. They failed to mention that to me, and Rosie almost got away on our first walk when she lurched with all her might at a UPS van speeding down the road. Point out your pet’s lovable quirks so that your pet sitter knows what to expect, and how to keep your pet safe. Does your dog scrap with the dog across the street? How are they socialized with other animals? Do they show aggression when they’re on the leash? Have a problem with big or small dogs? Do they try to run after the mail carrier? Instinctively bolt after cats or squirrels outside? These are all important behaviors you’ll want to point out to your sitter.

5. Leave small comforts. Put an old t-shirt in your dog’s bed or crate so that they’ll be comforted by your scent. If your dog is going to be alone for stretches of the day by himself, leave a treat-dispensing toy, a Kong with peanut butter, or a pet-safe bone to keep them occupied. Make sure your sitter knows to refill the treats, too. You can ask your sitter to leave the radio on, or play some soft, soothing music during the day if your pet is used to noises of an active household.

6. Keep the goodbye short and sweet. Don’t make a production of your departure or you’ll leave your animal feeling anxious. Try to treat it like any other time you’re leaving the house, or dropping your pet off at the groomer’s or vet for a check up. It’s easier said then done, but if you can leave your animal in a relaxed a state as possible, it will serve you both well. In the end, it will probably be harder on you then your animal to say goodbye, but make it swift, and keep moving. You’ll have a sweet reunion to look forward to, and can show your excitement then.

Before adopting a cat, or any other animal, it is very important to take into account all the responsibilities that this adoption entails. In particular, where to leave your cat when you go on vacation is an issue that cannot be overlooked.

We are aware that feline health can be adversely affected when their guardians go on vacation, specifically if their care is not adequately provided. For this reason, in this AnimalWised article we will share our recommendations on where to leave a cat on when you go on vacation. We aim to put emphasis on the importance of their welfare and advise you on how long you can leave your cat alone.

Where to leave my cat on vacation?

Many people believe that the seemingly independent personality of the cat allows it to be left alone at home without any problems. However leaving a cat at home alone is not advised! Cats require daily attention and leaving them with ”enough” food or water is not sufficient. As with dogs, domestic cats need someone to take care of them and supervise them, making sure that everything is in order. They need someone with them to constantly play with and administer to their needs. It is true that not all cats take well to human contact, especially strangers, but this does not mean that we should not give them adequate attention.

For these reasons, there are different options that can be taken into consideration to ensure our cat is safe at home alone. These options include leaving them with a friend, neighbor or for temporary lodging in a cat residence.

Leaving cats while on vacation

The most common option among tutors is to leave the cat at home and ask someone you trust to visit and care for them a couple of times a day. Undoubtedly, the best environment for a cat is their own home, therefore, it is always advisable to leave your cat at home on vacation. They must however, always be under surveillance. We must put emphasis on the fact that you should NOT leave your cat at home alone while you go on vacation.

Cats are very susceptible to change, so taking them to an unknown place, whether it’s a friend’s house or a feline residence, will most likely result in the development of stress and anxiety. Unless your cat is very sociable and adapts easily to different environments, we discourage this option.

Feline ethologists and psychologists advise choosing to leave your cat at your home with a friend or someone you trust. You can ask a friend to live at your house for the time while you are away. Cats are also very susceptible to separation anxiety, therefore, having someone in the house while their guardians are away, will aid in deterring this.

Recommendations to leaving a cat at home on vacation

As it is not always easy to find someone willing to live in your house during your absence, if you choose to have someone visit your cat daily instead, it will be essential for them to;

  • Clean the sandbox.
  • Change their food and clean their feeder.
  • Renew their water
  • Play with the cat.
  • Give medication (if necessary).

Since cats are very sensitive, it is common to notice that cats stop eating during the absence of their owners. This fasting can result in health consequences, such as: hepatic lipidosis or kidney problems. For this reason, in addition to the above, we highlight the necessity of insisting that the person looking after your cat makes sure that your cat is eating and drinking.

Water consumption is essential and if a cat’s drinking fountain or water is dirty, your cat may not drink. By not drinking your cat can suffer from symptoms of dehydration. In general, cats prefer to drink from water sources. They favor this drinking method because moving liquid shows them that the water is cleaner.

Their litter box should be cleaned daily and it is essential that all this information is transferred to the person in charge of caring for the cat.

If no one can live at your house, we recommend asking a friend or family member if they can go to your house for a minimum of two hours a day, at least. You can also consider hiring a professional to stay at your house while you are away. There are currently many available independent services such as this and some veterinarian clinics provide this service. If you do consider this option, make sure that the person you hire is responsible and prioritizes the welfare of the animal.

In addition, if your cat is very susceptible to stress, we recommend investing in a pheromone diffuser (Feliway). These diffusers aim to calm and relax a cat’s environment.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

Can I leave my cat alone for a weekend?

No, you cannot leave your cat alone for a weekend. We do not advise leaving your cat alone for more than a day. Many things can happen in one weekend and if your cat falls ill or is threatened, they need someone there to take them to the vet. Something as simple as a cat overeating can result in dangerous health consequences.

Where to leave my cat when I go on vacation

If your cat is outgoing, very sociable and adapts easily to other environments, you have a third option. You can leave your cat at a cat-care residence/ feline hostel. In addition to having the constant attention it needs, it will also be able to interact with other cats.

We strongly recommend this option for felines that require daily medical treatment. Many of these residences include 24 hour veterinary treatment.

This option however is not recommended for shy and unsociable cats.

What to keep in mind when choosing a feline residence?

The needs of your cat are the most important thing to consider when choosing a feline residence. There are currently many residences that offer various services and amenities. Therefore, it is best to check each of their services and ensure that they adapt well to your feline. Make sure they; offer permanent care, quality food, play sessions and, ultimately, care about their welfare of the animal. In order to be sure of the service, you can ask your veterinarian for a reference!

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

If you want to read similar articles to What Do I Do With My Cat If I Go On Vacation?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

Many families enjoy going on a spring break vacation. A vacation to a warm location is a nice reprieve from winter this time of year.

If you have pets, they may enjoy a vacation, as well. A warm weather destination, however may make travel difficult, resulting in them being left at home. Therefore, if you’re going away for a spring break vacation or a vacation later this year, here are some things to consider.

1. Think about your pet’s routine. A lot of time and energy goes into planning a vacation getaway. However, don’t forget about your pet. Start to think about their routine and what type of care would best suit them while you’re gone.

Like small children, pets may need to follow a very specific routine to keep them happy and healthy. If your dog is social and loves other dogs, a kennel or doggie spa may be the place for them. If this type of environment stresses them out, it may be best to leave them with a friend or relative.

Cats enjoy consistency. If you take them to a friend’s house, they may be stressed out the entire time and try to escape back to their home. It may be best to leave them at home and have someone stop in to check on them.

2. Document what your pet needs. If you decide to leave your pet with a friend or relative, document everything about your pet. Things to include:

  • How much activity your pet needs;
  • Dietary needs;
  • What makes them happy;
  • What makes them fearful; and
  • Veterinary contact information.

3. Familiarize your pet with their home away from home. If you decide to board your pet at a kennel or friend’s house, take them there for a visit and watch how they react. If the first visit doesn’t go well, take them there again to see if their comfort level improves.

4. Pack a suitcase for your pet. Since you’re packing bags for others in your family, why not pack one for your pet? Taking things that are familiar to them can make the transition easier.

5. Stay calm. When you drop your pet off at their final destination, keep the goodbye short and stay calm. I know this is easier said than done, but the more relaxed you are, the better your pet will feel.

6. Discuss treats with your caretaker. I remember going to my grandparent’s house and eating as many sweet treats as possible. Isn’t that what grandparents are for? To spoil us?

If treats are a part of your pet’s routine, have their caretaker continue. If treats are not, be careful. Treats can help improve behavior and obedience in the short term, but can cause stomach problems if they’re not used to it.

7. Contact your veterinarian. Contact your veterinarian before you leave to:

  • Discuss vaccinations;
  • Discuss tips they may have for your pets;
  • Discuss boarding and kennel options; and
  • Discuss anti-anxiety medications that may help them relax while you’re gone.

Here are some additional resources that may help.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

Leaving your hamster alone whilst on vacation

Upon booking a vacation to Disneyland for the family, it suddenly struck me that we would have to find somewhere or someone willing to look after our pet hamster Oscar, whilst we were away. But just how long could he be left alone for? where should I look for hamster care? and ultimately would he be ok with someone else?!

Can you leave your hamster when you go on vacation? If you are going on vacation for an extended period of time, then you should seek alternative care for your hamster. Although your hamster will be ok for a short length of time, it will require fresh water daily and sufficient food supplies every 12 hours.

Finding care for your hamster whilst on vacation

If you are going away overnight, then providing you have topped up your hamsters’ food and changed their water bottle in advance, they should be just fine. In fact, on the rare occasion, we have gone away overnight as a family, we have left a couple of water bottles in Oscar’s cage, just in case one happens to get jammed, blocked up or drips dry. Plus we always ensure he has an overflowing food bowl.

If, however, one night turns into a few days then I would strongly advise that you get someone to either pop into your house or look after them. Food when left uneaten can go rotten and water can go stale. Neither of these is particularly nice for you hamster nor good for its health and wellbeing. Plus, a dirty cage can start to smell when left unattended.

Although I managed to find a number of small animal boarding homes and pet sitting services which charge a nominal fee to feed him daily and top up his water when googling online, we were fortunate enough to have no end of offers from family and school friends all desperate to look after a pet hamster.

Small animal boarding for your hamster

You want a caretaker that you trust, but this can be tricky when using someone for the very first time. In the state of America where we live, I did some research and found a number of small animal care companies that would either let your hamster board whilst you are away or make daily visits to your property depending on your preference.

Most of these companies came with glowing reviews, and in fact, I was surprised to learn that our local vets even offered a pet boarding service. Therefore, make sure you ask around for any recommendations and visit the premises before committing. This will provide you with a good overview of your hamsters proposed living conditions and will allow you to chat freely with those who will be caretaking them.

If you choose a small animal pet boarding service, your hamster should receive all the benefits of living in a home environment such as pampering, playing and handling on top of the usual sanitary and dietary requirements. Prices range from between $12-20 per day, depending on whether your rent a cage for your hamster during its stay.

Pet sitting services for your hamster

If you have an anxious hamster or one that does not travel well, taking them out of their everyday environment could be stressful for them. Therefore, another solution could be to employ a pet sitter.

This is someone who will come to your home on a daily basis to care for all your hamsters’ needs and because their routine and surroundings remain the same, these visits create a sense of security for you and for them. Some even offer additional services over and above looking after your hamster, such as picking up the mail, turning on and off lights, opening and closing blinds, watering plants or taking out the garbage.

As per any service employed to commence within your own property, it is important that you organize a meet and greet beforehand and check out the credentials of the person who will be holding the key.

This type of pet sitting service tends to be more expensive than a boarding option, due to the daily travel time involved for the caretaker. Prices can range between $25 and $40 per day.

Leaving your hamster with friends and family

When you go away on vacation, you want to feel happy and relaxed, safe in the knowledge that your hamster is being given the same care and attention that they would get with you. Therefore, the easiest option when looking for hamster care whilst you are on vacation is to ask trusted friends or family that live close by to drop in on a regular basis.

Preparing your hamster for going on vacation

  1. Find a caretaker – a responsible person to look after them, someone who is familiar with hamster care and happy to handle them. Invite them around beforehand so that your hamster gets used to their scent.
  2. Write a routine sheet/information on how to care for them on a daily basis – this should include food and cage cleaning information.
  3. Clean your hamster’s cage just before you go.
  4. Leave all your contact details for where you will be staying and your vet’s details.

Do hamsters miss human interaction?

You might be surprised to learn that hamsters not only like affection but thrive on human interaction (when they are awake that is!). Hamsters are most content when they get to spend time out of their normal cage surroundings and are with owners that they trust.

Hamsters don’t have the best eyesight so are well adept at recognizing scents and vocal tones. Even from handling them regularly, your hamster will begin to recognize that it is you and can become fearful of those they don’t know. If you are leaving your hamster in someone else’s care, it is important that you help your hamster adjust by letting them get to know their scent in advance.

Although Syrian hamsters are ok if they are left alone without handling for a period of days, other species, such as dwarf hamsters, need playing with daily, and if left alone for two weeks or more can be become untamed again.


I would strongly advise that if you are going away on vacation for any length of time that you seek special arrangements for your hamster to be looked after. This could be a pet sitting service, small animal boarding, a family friend or even a neighbour. Wherever possible, and if your hamster likes to travel, why not try and see if you can take them along with you.

Hamsters, although not very social with other hamsters (especially Syrians) do like the attention of humans and will miss us when we are not around – especially if you have formed a close bond.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

This article sets out easy and simple tips or steps to take in preparing your chickens so they stay safe and well for when you go away on holidays or as they say in the USA, vacation. Everyone needs a break sometimes and no matter how much you love being around your chickens there comes a time when you have to leave them for a short period.

Leaving chickens on their own whilst you go away on a short holiday or break (say no longer than a week) is perfectly fine. Their eggs will pile up in the nesting boxes and their litter will get a little dirty etc but essentially there’s no problem with that.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

If you plan to leave your chickens or ducks (and other poultry) for a longer period, then I would recommend asking a family member or a friend to pop in about every 3 to 4 days just to check on your flock, collect the eggs, and top up feeders/drinkers.

In my opinion, chickens and other poultry (like ducks) are some of the easiest pets to leave on their own – definitely easier than dogs or cats. Chickens are very independent animals, they don’t fret when you go, they don’t get too upset if their routine is slightly adjusted, and they will generally go about their “business” whether you are around or not. For many people chickens and other poultry make the perfect pets!

But just because chickens will aptly adapt to conditions and hardly miss you when you’re gone away, don’t mistake this for a second and think they are dumb egg laying machines without any emotion. Quite the opposite, chickens are very smart birds and they’ll notice your absence. They can also be very emotional – just not about you though.

Main points to consider

When I go away on holidays there are four main points I take into consideration to ensure my chickens and ducks will be left able to competently fend for themselves whilst I’m away and they are: food, water, shelter, and security.

Food – A chicken typically eats about 400 grams of feed per day and a duck a little more than that; therefore, ensuring there is enough feed in the feeders to cater for the amount of birds is obviously essential.

I like to go overboard and always have plenty of feed available when I go away. My feeders are all topped up and if necessary I will pull out a spare feeder or two just to make sure no one goes hungry here at home whilst I’m living it up in the Bahamas.

My poultry are used to free-ranging daily and eating a lot of grass etc but when I go away I lock my birds in their pen so to compensate for the lack of free-ranging I throw in two or three iceberg lettuces. This variety of lettuce has a tight heart and I have found if the lettuce is placed in the pen whole or sometimes cut in half it keeps the chickens occupied trying to peck them apart.

Water – A chicken drinks between 250 – 500 mils (1 to 2 cups) of water per day. Ducks constantly need a water source (at least a bucket) but I have gone further and installed a small poly duck pond in my pen for the ducks to play in and drink from when they can’t get access to their dam.

These extra duck water sources within the pen can double as emergency drinkers for my chickens if in the unlikely event their drinking containers fail. I recommend using enclosed containers for chickens with either cup or nipple attachments because these tend to be a safer option than other drinkers such as the standard bell drinkers which are susceptible to being tipped over and get soiled quickly.

You can get specific drinkers which connect to a mains water supply and whilst they are convenient they are expensive and I’ve found the best containers to be standalones 20 – 25 litres. I have several in my pen at different locations and this ensures a water source is always nearby, if one fails there’s another available, and all up I have enough water to last my flock several weeks.

How to leave your pets alone while on vacation

Image above shows some feeders in action with my poly duck pond in the background (doubles as emergancy water source)

Shelter – Obviously, chickens need a good shelter to roost for the night but since going away means no one will be there each morning to tidy the nesting boxes and pen I add some extra litter around to help cope with any build-up of poop etc.

The eggs will be better off also with some extra straw or hay as this will give extra padding for when the eggs collect in the laying boxes.

Security – This last point is as important as all the rest because chickens are vulnerable to attack from predators in particular dogs and foxes. Both dogs and foxes have a cunning knack to know when you have gone away and this is when they’ll test your perimeter fence line or chicken pen.

I have a dog proof perimeter fence around a free-range area where my chickens and ducks get out from their pen each day and roam around in complete safety. However, my perimeter fence is not fox proof (because foxes can climb and are far superior diggers than dogs) so whilst I am away I ensure my birds stay in their fox and dog proof inner pen.

Keeping poultry like chickens and ducks “cooped up” for a short period of time (even several weeks) is no real problem at all. Domestic poultry are well adapted to small areas and will be perfectly fine locked up whilst you’re away.

Naturally, having a large secure pen is desirable but it isn’t always practical because not everyone has the room to dedicate a large portion of their property to a chicken pen when for the most part the chickens are usually out and about and only go into their coop at night.

So when it comes time to going away for a short period you shouldn’t feel guilty about keeping your birds in a smaller environment because at the end of the day it’s in their best interest. We can make it up to them when we get back from holidays!


Here’s a short video I knocked up about caring for your chickens or ducks when you’re away on holidays/vacation.


Keeping poultry (especially chickens) is not only productive but it’s also easy and needn’t be a problem if you go away on holidays.

In my opinion, chickens and ducks are much easier to leave alone than most other popular pets. Plus, what dog or cat could lay a whole bunch of eggs whilst you’re away as a welcome back home gift for when you return!

If you would like to ask a question or make a comment you can do so below or join our forum and we can discuss this subject at length.