It’s a pet’s life: Newcastle’s short-term pet accommodation fully booked over Christmas

LUXURY LIFE: Leesa Bathgate’s Newcastle Cat Stay is a top-of-the-range cat hotel and will house around 25 cats over Christmas. Picture: Marina Neil.n pet owners arespending up to $34.6 million on short-term accommodation for their petsover the Christmas break, research reveals.

According to a survey of over 1100 cat and dog owners conducted by financial comparison company Finder, 43 per cent of pet owners were planning on heading away this Christmas.

Equating to approximately “865,000 cats and dogs”, Finder insurance expert Bessie Hassan said the difficulty in taking pets away made short-term accommodation a popular option.

“The majority of airlines and cruises don’t allow animals, so in many cases it’s easier to send them to a pet resort or a kennel rather than to take them on holidays,” Ms Hassan said.

“However this can be expensive so it’s important to weigh up your options.”

Read more: Don’t forget your pets this summer, NSW vet warns

While pet accommodation has been available for decades, the industry has seen a boom in recent years and many services now prefer to be known as a pet hotelor resort.

Former president of Hunter Animal Rescue Jaimie Abbott, who uses short-term pet accommodation for her two dogs “five or six times a year”, believes pet owner’slove for their animals has driven the growth.

“People treat their pets like their kids these days,” she said. “They go away, they want peace of mind;if their pets have medication they want aprofessional to administer those.“It’s a bit of a burden [leaving them with friends or family].”

Pets on vacation over holiday break | PHOTOS Picture: Marina Neil.

Picture: Marina Neil.

Picture: Marina Neil.

Picture: Marina Neil.

Picture: Marina Neil.

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Proving just how popular the residences are, Leanne Morris opened Hunter Dog Centre in Gateshead in mid-December and is completely booked out despite minimal advertising before opening.

“It’s no different to everybody else, we’re completely booked out till January,” Mrs Morris said.

“We’re still turning people away, we’ve still got people ringing each day looking for stuff over the Christmas break.

“We’ve got 32 rooms and we only book dogs together if they’re from the same family.

“We’ll have about 45 dogs over Christmas.”

Hunter Dog Centre owner Leanne Morris

A former police dog handler who worked with sniffer dogs during the Sydney Olympics, Mrs Morris shares similar thoughtsregarding pet owners increasing use of the facilities.

“People are becoming more aware about pets needs and we’re probably getting a lot busier as a society,” she said.

“With people working longer hours, they’re wanting their dogs to come and have that human interaction.

“With houses, yards are getting smaller too. It’s definitely a growing industry.”

In a further indication of the country’s love of pets, Animal Medicines claims $4.2 billion was spent onpet food in 2016, up 35% since 2013.

Another $1.09 billion was spent on pet products and accessories.

Read more: Getting pets home for holidays