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Happy Holidays For Pets

The Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has called on pet owners to ensure their animals are cared for properly during the Christmas holiday period.

"Most of us are looking forward to the holiday season. It's a time to recharge our batteries, get together with family and friends and generally enjoy ourselves. But for the animals who share our lives and homes, the holiday period can be a time of misery and danger, with all too many of them ignored or even abandoned by the humans who should be looking after them," says Royal New Zealand SPCA Chief Executive Officer Peter Blomkamp.

"People planning a holiday away from home, really must make sure their pets are cared for. That could mean boarding them in a kennel or cattery, leaving them with a friend or neighbour or, in some cases, taking their pet along on holiday.

"Your vet, local kennel club or SPCA branch should be able to help you identify a kennel or cattery with high standards. But, in all probability, your pet will only be allowed in, if it's more than four months old and all of its vaccinations are up to date. In addition, some kennels and catteries refuse to accept animals which haven't been de-sexed, Mr Blomkamp says, adding that it's best to investigate these requirements well in advance orf your holiday so that you can plan accordingly and avoid last minute panics.

Alternatively, Mr Blomkamp says, it may be possible for friends or neighbours to look after your pet. But, he points out, pet owners should only choose this option if they are absolutely certain their animals will be looked after adequately.

"You might have a particularly good friend who will live-in and look after your pets, so that they don't have to suffer the anxiety of being moved from their normal surroundings. Alternatively, your friend could pop in regularly and ensure your pet is properly fed, watered and, in the case of a dog, taken for walks," he says.

"Dogs, in particular, tend to miss their owners and need a little bit of company on a regular basis. But other animals also have special needs. For example, caged birds, rabbits, guinea pigs or fish need to be kept out of direct sunlight and in generally cool conditions during the hot summer weather.

"It's important that the person looking after your animal knows your vet's telephone number and also knows where and how to contact you if there's an emergency. Other neighbours also need to be informed that your pet is being looked after so that they don't worry unduly and contact the SPCA or the police," Mr Blomkamp adds.

When it comes to taking animals along with you on holiday, the SPCA firmly recommends placing both your home and holiday addresses on your pet's identity disc. It also reminds pet owners that not all animals travel well and that it might be wise to consult a vet for advice on sedatives and tranquillisers.

"Make sure that your pet is on a lead or in a cage whilst you're driving. Don't let it roam freely around the car whilst its in motion and, alternatively, don't keep your pet it for lengthy periods in a cardboard box . And remember to take essential items with you, including your pet's favourite food and any medications it might need, as well as flea treatment and, in the case of cats, a tray and kitty litter," says Mr Blomkamp.

"It's also important to have water available in the car and to make frequent stops for toileting and exercise and to allow your pet to cool off. These stops should be made at least every two hours and more regularly during warm weather. And, above all, don't leave your pet unattended in the car, especially during hot weather, as this could lead to heat stroke or even death," he says.

Ends


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