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Exchanging your home and your pets

by Didier on August 13, 2011

By Didier Leclerc, translated and edited from the French original by John Mensinger

Trading your home may mean exchanging pet care. This year I swapped my cat for a lovely aquarium with fish and a turtle. You can find exchange opportunities that include dogs, horses, birds, snakes, chickens, and other animals.

Think carefully before agreeing to a trade that includes pet care. You need to know what is involved: certain pets can take care of themselves while others require constant attention which may interfere with your vacation or prevent you from spending a few nights away from your exchange home.

Caring for certain beasts may be unpleasant, such as feeding the snake a rat every 15 days. Other pets may bring you or your kids great joy. You can discover what it is like to own a cat—without making a permanent commitment. You can delight in collecting fresh eggs from the chicken coop while your children learn the lesson that cleaning a cage is real work.

If you leave your pets at home, be sure your exchange partners are willing and able to take care of them. Provide them with an ample quantity of pet food. Include information on your pet in the guide to your home that you give your exchange partners:

  • A photo with the pet’s name
  • How to feed and handle them
  • An explanation of their unique habits and behaviors
  • How to keep them active and happy
  • The name and number of the veterinarian in case of sickness
  • The location of health records

If your pet needs special care or can be dangerous in certain situations you may need to send them away during your absence. They could go to friends, the kennel, a cattery, the vet, or in the case of exotic animals to a specialist. You need to go this route unless you are sure that your exchange partners can safely care for your pet.

Think about the welfare of your pets during a home exchange. My cat seems to have developed a dislike to house swapping. He was a delight to children that came to our house when he was young, now our guests don’t view him the same way. He leaves the house at the beginning of every exchange and only returns when it is over. Your pet might prefer being in a kennel or with friends to experiencing a new family in your home.

Even if your pet leaves your house let your partners know about them. Certain folks are allergic to animals and may not be able to live in your home even if the pet is on vacation.

Your pet will appreciate your thinking about his welfare before your exchange begins.

You can view Didier’s original post in French by clicking here.

Si vous avez bien préparé votre échange, vos animaux l’apprécieront.



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Brian Luckhurst August 14, 2011 at 4:03 AM

Excellent advice. ‘Pet swapping’ can really help people exchange but it is something that needs considerable thought beforehand and as you rightly explain a list of what is required is essential along with the vet’s contact details.

Our 20 year old cat I am sure would not like to be included in a Home Exchange, so we have to wait for the inevitable and then look at swapping homes for great holidays again.


Brian Luckhurst

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