Holidays and Pets

Holidays and Pets

Many pets are given up at vacation time because of a perceived inconvenience. Thousands of pets who were left with “pet sitters” are lost each year. A little forethought would have prevented these things from happening. Here are a few helpful hints about holidays and how to make them safe and enjoyable for your pet.

If You Leave Your Pet Behind…

Take time to explain your pet’s routine to the sitter and include a list of instructions of what to do if the pet is lost.

The Live-In Pet and Plant Sitter…

Ideally a relative or a friend who knows your pet (or gets to know him/her before you leave and will be with him/her most of the day). Before you go, leave an adequate supply of food, grooming instructions, exercise routine and veterinarian’s (including emergency clinic) telephone numbers. Also inform your microchip provider of the temporary contact numbers. If possible, leave your itinerary and phone numbers. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and tag and has had all vaccinations. Phone your sitter a couple of times to check things out.

The Drop-In Neighbour

Many agree to stop by each day to feed, water and exercise your pet. Make sure you entrust this duty to a responsible person (some students do this for a summer job). Get references.

Professional Pet Sitters

This is a relatively new field and is an excellent alternative to kennelling, especially for cats who often don’t do well out of their home environment. Check the yellow pages for persons offering these services. Better yet, talk to friends and family and find out if they can recommend someone. Always check references and look for someone who is bonded.

Visit The Kennel and Check for the Following…

  • Are the cages clean and large enough for your pet?
  • Is water available at all times?
  • Do the kennel owners insist on all vaccinations?
  • How often will your pet receive exercise? What kind of exercise?
  • Is the boarding agreement complete and satisfactory?
  • Is a veterinarian on call 24 hours? You might check with the doctor’s office to verify.

If You Take Your Pet With You

Keep complete identification and rabies tag on your dog or cat at all times.

  • Carry current health and vaccination certificates
  • Book your hotel in advance in a hotel that allows pets.
  • Do not leave your pet alone in a hotel room without familiar toys and bedding. It is a good idea to bring a pet carrier or even a crate with you.

Travelling By Car

  • Make sure your pet is used to travelling in the car. If necessary take him/her on a few short rides before vacation time.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car during warm weather, even with the window open. Heat Kills!
  • Do not feed your pet for a few hours before a trip. Bring along fresh cool water and a familiar water bowl.
  • Allow for exercise breaks during long trips. They’re good for both you and a your pet.

 Travelling By Air

If travelling by air or train, make sure to check on the policies of the carrier or train line beforehand. Air travel is of most concern when taking pets on vacation. It is recommended that you do not ship your pet unless there is no alternative. However, you can minimize the chances of an unpleasant experience.

  • Contact the airline well in advance to check regulations and services.
  • Ask about other cargo on your flight and placement of the crate.
  • Feed your pet a light meal at least 6 hours before departure.
  • Try to schedule the flight so that there are a minimum of stops and transfers.
  • Choose early morning or late evening flights during warm weather.
  • Make sure the shipping container is well constructed. The proper cage, available from airlines or pet supply stores, should have the following features:
    • Large enough to allow the animal to stand, lie down or turn around
    • Leak-proof bottom covered with absorbent material
    • Label “LIVE ANIMAL” with arrows indicating upright position. Include your name, pet’s name, address, phone number and destination.
  • Find out about quarantine regulations, required health certificates and location of quarantine facility at your destination.
  • Tranquillize your pet – only with veterinarian’s approval and instruction.
  • Pick up the animal promptly upon arrival

 At the Cottage or Camping…

Remember, there is never a vacation from a leash, collar and identification tag. Do not allow your pet to roam. Many pets become lost and confused in unfamiliar surroundings. Many die from malnutrition, stress or disease. Encounters with wild animals such as raccoons and porcupines can be very unpleasant and dangerous to your pet.

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