Holiday tips for pet owners
RSPCA WA is reminding pet owners who are going away during the school holidays to make proper plans for their pet’s care.
Whether you’re leaving your pet at home, or bringing them with you, following these top tips will help keep your furry friend happy and healthy.
If you’re leaving your pet at home
A change of routine can be stressful for your pet, so having someone look after them in your home is usually the best option. To keep things as familiar as possible, a friend of family member is ideal.
If this isn’t possible, consider hiring a pet sitter. This can be a daunting task – so ask friends and family for recommendations.
We’d suggest you meet with the pet sitter before employing them, and check their references.
A reminder – pets should never be left at home with ‘enough food and water to last until you get back’.
This is risky, as many things can go wrong:
- Water bowls can easily get tipped over or dry out on hot days;
- Food can spoil or be consumed too quickly;
- Bored animals can hurt themselves and lay injured or dying if not checked daily;
- Sudden changes in the weather, like heat waves, can cause distress.
Abandoning an animal is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act (2002), which carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine or five years in prison.
If you're boarding your pet
If you can't leave your pet with a sitter, find a good dog kennel, cattery or small animal boarder. Always visit the boarder, ask questions, and check you’re happy with the facilities – do you feel welcome and do the animals in care look happy and healthy?
Make sure whoever is looking after your pet has everything they need, including:
- Details of your pet’s routine – including diet and when to exercise them
- Your emergency contact details
- Your vet’s contact details (including after-hours service)
- Supplies like lead, collar, litter tray and toys
- Information about your pet’s likes and dislikes
- Details of any medication
If your pet isn’t at home, providing them with a familiar smelling item – like a blanket or toy – can help them feel more comfortable.
If you’re taking your pet on holiday with you
Check your microchip data is up to date: If your pet gets lost while you’re away, they can be easily identified and quickly reunited with you.
Check medications and equipment: It’s important to pack everything your pet needs while they’re away: A collar showing their council registration tag; any medication they require; bedding; food and treats; and things like bowls to put their food and water in.
Check vet services where you’re going: Research the closest vet clinic to where you’ll be staying before you leave, so you know exactly where to go in the case of an emergency.
Proper pet restraints: Animals should be appropriately restrained inside the vehicle. Animals should not be tethered on the backs of utes nor travel unrestrained in any part of the vehicle, including the boot. There are a variety of dog seat belts and cat carry cases on the market to allow pet owners to safely transport their pet.
Dogs in hot cars: If you stop somewhere for a break, DO NOT leave your pet in the car. It can take just six minutes for a dog to overheat and die in a hot car, even with the windows down or parked in the shade. Instead, take your pet with you and offer them a drink and something to eat, and stop for regular toilet breaks.
On arrival at your holiday destination
Settling in: Give your pet some time to have a sniff around and get used to where they will be staying. Give them some food or treats to help them relax, and put their bed somewhere out of the way so they can retreat if they feel overwhelmed. If there are new people around, ask them to act calmly around your pet and to give them some space to adjust. It’s also a good idea to check out the property to familiarise yourself with any potential escape routes your pet might find or potential hazards that could cause harm, such as balconies or open windows.
To find pet friendly accommodation, it’s easiest to start by doing some online research. Tools like www.holidayingwithdogs.com.au can be useful.
For more tips and helpful info on pet ownership, visit RSPCA’s Knowledgebase website here.