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Keep your furry friends happy and safe this summer break

SPCA and Southern Cross Pet Insurance share expert tips on taking your pet with you on holiday or leaving them at home

With summer holidays just around the corner, SPCA and Southern Cross Pet Insurance (SCPI) are urging pet-owners to consider all the options before deciding what to do with their beloved pets this holiday season.

Depending on your pet, it’s important to organise a holiday home that will ensure both you and your companion have a happy break.

SPCA Chief Executive Andrea Midgen says that with Christmas just around the corner, pet owners should consider the needs of their furry friends.

“Maybe you love the idea of taking them with you on your summer break – they are a part of the family after all. But do they travel well and is your destination safe for them? Likewise, if you decide to leave them behind, do they have the right needs and support to be well looked after while you’re gone?” Midgen says.

Southern Cross Pet Insurance General Manager Anthony McPhail agrees, saying there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach on whether or not to take your pet with you on holiday.

“Most importantly, your pet needs to feel safe and secure whether they’re travelling with you or being cared for at home.”

To help make the decision easier, SCPI and SPCA suggest the following top tips to keep in mind when making pet-friendly holiday plans:

Leaving your pet at home:

1. Hire a house or pet-sitter or ask a family member to stay in your home to look after your pet – this will keep your animals in their regular routine and in a familiar environment
2. Another option is a professional kennel or cattery – choose one where you are confident they’ll be cared for well and in good canine and feline company
3. If they’re staying in a kennel or cattery, your pet will need to have up-to-date vaccinations and worming treatments – don’t leave this to the last minute
4. Separation anxiety can be a problem for animals, particularly dogs, so whichever option you choose, leave a favourite toy or something with your scent on so your pet feels comfortable and secure
5. If you have pets who have a close bond with each other, they will cope better if you keep them together while you are away
6. Consider doing a trial day with your pet sitter, kennels or cattery in advance of your holiday to see how the person interacts with your pet

Taking your pet with you:

1. If your dog gets separation anxiety, it may be better to find dog-friendly holiday accommodation, so you can take them with you
2. Check to see whether they accept animals, have fences for security and safety, and if the area is hazard-free for your pet
3. If your pet has not received their full course of vaccinations, avoid public areas such as parks
4. If you’re at a campground, do they have leash restrictions, are they dog-friendly and is your pet calm around children?
5. Check the location of vets in the area you are visiting in case of any accident or illness while you’re away
6. Before travelling, take a few short trips to get your pet used to time in the car. We recommend travelling with your pet in the back seat, safely secured with an approved pet harness or crate/carry box
7. Travel tips for your pup: face them forward in the car, keep them cool, leave a crack in the window, limit food/drink intake before travel (car sickness is more common in younger dogs), and stop regularly to allow your dog exercise and to go to the toilet
8. Never leave your pet in a parked car, even if it’s for a quick lunch or shopping trip. Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels, causing organ damage, and even death. On a day where it’s 24 C° outside, the temperature inside a car can rise to 34° within 10 minutes and 40° in 40 minutes
9. Young animals, in particular, can be easily overwhelmed, so be sensitive to your pet’s limitations and be prepared for more breaks if their behaviour indicates stress (e.g. whining/crying, pacing, panting, licking their face)
10. A pheromone spray can mimic the pheromones of your pet’s mother; helping reduce their anxiety and give them a sense of security in a new environment
11. Make sure you have pet insurance to prepare for unforeseen circumstances
12. Bring familiar objects with you such as your pet’s bedding, bowl, leashes, and favourite toy to help them feel comfortable away from home

Southern Cross Pet Insurance offers six weeks of free puppy and kitten cover for pets aged between 6 and 20 weeks. Claim up to $1,500 worth of vet treatment. A seven-day stand down period for illness applies. To apply and see the terms and conditions, visit https://www.southerncrosspet.co.nz/Offers

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