If you're going on holiday or away for the weekend, it's very easy to forget your pets in the hustle and bustle of planning the trip. Advance planning is key - animals used to regular care and attention should not suddenly be abandoned. Make sure your pets get the care they need while you're away.
Kennels and catteries
Reliable kennels and catteries ensure your cat or dog will be properly cared for. The DSPCA has a pet boarding centre if you need to find a boarding facility for your pet. Alternatively, your vet may be able to suggest a reputable place or look in the Golden Pages, and visit several so that you can check which will best suit the needs of your pet.
· Is your pet's inoculation form up to date? Remember to take it with you to the kennel or cattery.
· Does your chosen boarding kennel or cattery have an insurance scheme. If not, have you taken out a policy in case your animal needs emergency care?
· Have you given the boarding kennel or cattery your vet's name and telephone number and, if possible, a number where you can be contacted in case of emergency?
Relying on friends
The safest alternative is always to leave your pet in the expert care of a good boarding kennel. However, if friends offer to look after your pet while you are away, make sure it will be welcomed by every member of their household, including any other animals. Also, make sure your pet has an identification disc giving its temporary address.
If you are leaving your dog, make sure your friends will give it the exercise it needs.
Your cat may be happier if it is left at home, though not necessarily safer. Make sure a responsible friend will visit twice a day to feed and water it - ideally, have someone stay in your house while you are away.
Remember - your friend(s) must be responsible for all aspects of your pet's welfare.
Caged birds, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs can be looked after by a reliable friend - remember to leave clear instructions on how to feed them.
· If your cat or dog is staying with friends, does it have an identification disc with its temporary address?
· Will cages of smaller animals be in the shade all day? Remember, they should never be left in direct sunlight.
· Have you given your friend clear instructions on how to feed and care for your pet?
· Have you left the name and number of your vet and, if possible, a number where you can be contacted in case of emergencies?