JUST like the rest of the family, most dogs and cats love going on holidays.
But if their owners have to leave them at a boarding establishment, the RSPCA offers some simple but very useful advice for the upcoming Easter break and school holidays.
It's important to make sure all health checks, vaccinations, flea treatments, worming and heartworm treatments are up to date throughout the year. Ensure pets are microchipped. Also make sure the animal is wearing visible identification (tags) with holiday contact details.
If you are leaving a pet at a kennel, make sure the establishment meets the code of practice for animal industries under the Animal Care and Protection Act (2001).
Visit the kennel and make sure you are happy with cleanliness and the way the staff relate to the animals.
Ask friends or other pet owners to recommend a suitable place.
Check pets staying there.
Do they appear happy, well- fed, exercised, have appropriate shelter and bedding?
Ask if they exercise animals (cats included). You may have to pay more for exercising pets.
Do animals enjoy environmental enrichment - toys, exercise yards and cat enclosures.
Leave your pet's usual food and toys.
Take medication along if it's due, such as heartworm prevention.
If your pet is going to be left in the care of another person, make certain that they are willing to spend quality time with the animal each day.
You also should leave the carer with a holiday plan.
When leaving a pet in care of a trusted person, the plan should cover:
- A contact number of the owner and other trusted person who knows the pet;
- Alerting neighbours that a carer will be entering the property to feed/exercise animals - get the carer's permission to give neighbours their mobile number in case of emergency;
- Contact details of regular vet/fire/police;
- Stickers on window if a pet is inside a dwelling - in case of fire;
- Details of any food or plant allergies;
- Health details in case the pet becomes ill;
- Details of any fears the pet has (fireworks, thunderstorms) and plans of what to do in those circumstances to prevent injury and trauma;
- Details of what to do to prevent the pet escaping (make sure gates are shut, doors locked);
- Details of the pet's daily requirements and exercise regime.
- Stress that the pet needs time for human interaction each day and the opportunity to socialise with other animals;
- Hot-weather contingencies - the plan should cover: making sure the pet has at least two bowls of water in case they knock one over; the water must be left in the shade, not the sun; strict rules that the pet must never be left unsupervised in a parked vehicle.
- If you are leaving horses or farm animals, make sure they also have regular food, water, shelter, shade, exercise and that vet care is available.
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