It is nearly Christmas and many Benallaites will be making plans for their pets as they head off to visit relatives across Australia.
Whether you leave your furry friend at home or with a trusted sitter, it’s best to plan for all eventualities.
RSPCA Victoria chief executive officer Liz Walker said it was essential all pets were fully vaccinated and wearing identification tags.
‘‘We recommend that all pets are desexed and up-to-date with vaccinations and routine preventative health care, such as worming and flea control,’’ Dr Walker said.
‘‘If you are travelling with your pet, ask your veterinarian whether your destination has any pest or health concerns that you should be aware of, and whether vaccination is recommended.
‘‘Pack a first aid kit for your animal and look up the contact details for 24-hour vets at your destination. It’s better to be prepared.’’
The laws regarding restraint of dogs in or on vehicles can vary between the states, so it’s best to check the local road rules, particularly if you are heading interstate.
RSPCA Victoria recommends restraining pets throughout their journey.
‘‘A cat can be kept in a carrier and a dog on a harness or in a dog crate,’’ Dr Walker said.
‘‘The container should enable your pet to lie down comfortably in a natural position, turn around, stand, sit and stretch with clearance.
‘‘Rest breaks are also important to allow your dog to stretch its legs.
‘‘However, ensure they are safely under control in a new environment, both on the road and when you arrive at your destination, and that your pet is wearing identification, so it can be reunited if lost.’’
For those pets left back home, you may consider boarding them at a registered kennel or cattery, arranging for them to stay at a friend’s place, having someone care for them in your home, or enlisting the services of a reputable pet-sitting service, such as PetCloud.
Whatever you decide, provide a list of your pet’s requirements and a copy of their medical history, along with a letter of permission that states exactly who is looking after your pet in your absence and instructions for an emergency.
‘‘Preparation goes a long way to ensuring both you and your pets enjoy the holiday season,’’ Dr Walker said.