Your Pet's Holiday

About this time of year the majority of Australian households start to plan for their Christmas holidays. Half the fun of a holiday is in the planning, so they say, and travel brochures make great reading. Most people are aware that they need to book air fares or accommodation well in advance for the school holiday periods but not all are aware Rover and Puss need to book their accommodation in advance also.

During school holidays most of the cat and dog boarding facilities are heavily booked and it may not be possible to find a “bed” for your pet if you leave it to the last moment. There are many excellent dog and cat boarding establishments and they may be found in the Yellow Pages under “Dogs - Boarding” and “Cats -Boarding”. Most dog boarding kennels also have a boarding cattery which makes it easier for those owners who have both a dog and cat.

Don’t worry that your dog or cat may fret at being enclosed. Most dogs quickly settle down and enjoy watching the activities which occur in a boarding kennel. Cats, being a bit more homebodies than dogs, tend to sleep their day away no doubt dreaming of returning to their own home and hearth. Most kennel and cattery proprietors have boarding establishments as an extension of their own hobby of showing and/or breeding dogs and cats so you can be comfortable that the well being of your animals is in the hands of true animal lovers. The advantage of placing your pet in a boarding kennel is that there is expert, competent staff available at all times to observe your animal, it is securely confined to prevent escape and a veterinarian is on call if it becomes ill.

You may choose to leave your pet at home and arrange for someone to feed and give it water. It is much cheaper if you have a friend or relative who can do this for you but first make sure that they are reliable and are going to call at least twice a day. Make sure also, that they have enough knowledge of animal health and behaviour to know if things are not right. Be sure to leave the name and after hours number of your veterinarian.

There are also home feeding services where you can pay a fee for a pet minder to visit and feed your pets. This can certainly be a good option if you own species which aren’t catered for by boarding establishments -such as rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles etc.

Make sure that the pet sitter has references, and do check them out. It is imperative that they have experience and also that they are mature enough to accept the responsibility of caring for your best friends. Invite them to your home to meet your pets and discuss their special needs. Remember that you are committing the well being of your pets solely to this person. If they are unreliable and do not turn up one day your pet will be left without food or water. Many veterinarians will know of someone reliable in your area.

In the unlikely situation that your pet may become ill while you are absent, be sure to leave a phone number where you can be contacted or give prior authorisation for someone to act on your behalf should the pet need veterinary attention. Many vets are reluctant to perform surgery without an owner’s consent.

Whether your animal goes to a boarding establishment or remains home, it should wear a collar, identification and/or registration tag if it is a dog or cat. Home feeders should also be given a list of people to contact if the pet escapes and is lost. First on the list should be your local Council and adjoining Councils, followed by local veterinarians and all animal welfare shelters. Leaving it until you return home to look for your pet may mean that the animal has been sold or euthanised as unclaimed after the required holding period.

Holidays are a time to recharge our batteries after the humdrum routine of the year and making a few prior arrangements for your pets well in advance can ensure that both you and your pets can enjoy the holiday.

Article Courtesy of Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia