Preparing for the holidays: a pet owner’s guide

Preparing for the holidays can be an exciting time for families, and especially after the year we’ve just had, but don’t forget your pets. They have specific needs too before we all head off to the beach. It’s a good idea to have your pet microchipped, whether he’s going to kennels, staying at home or accompanying you on your holiday. The change in his routine may result in him straying and microchipping is the surest way of being reunited with him again.

Preparing for the holidays: boarding kennels

There are several important steps that must be taken before booking your pets into kennels. These include:

  • Tick and flea prevention. Ticks and flea infestations are easily spread and tick-borne biliary kills more dogs in South Africa than any other disease. Don’t believe you can protect your dog by simply removing a tick when you see it; these deadly creatures are masters at concealment, creeping deep into ears, between toes, in armpits and the groin and, of course, in long-haired dogs they’re almost impossible to detect. Apply parasite prevention; spot-ons, long-acting chews, collars, powders or shampoo. Ask your EberVet Vetshop or your vet for the one best suited to your pet.
  • Vaccinations are your pet’s best chance of avoiding killer diseases like distemper, parvovirus and feline leukaemia. Reputable kennels will demand proof of vaccination before boarding your pet. If you have a dog, it is worth asking your vet about a kennel cough vaccination. This is a highly contagious disease most often transmitted in overcrowded conditions like boarding kennels…ners-should-know/.

Preparing for the holidays: pet sitters

It doesn’t matter how experienced your pet sitter might be, every pet he or she cares for will have different needs so it is important when preparing for the holidays to include a comprehensive list of your pet’s habits, likes and dislikes and important stuff like medication.

  • Pets (yes, cats included) are sociable creatures; they crave company. Leaving them alone for weeks with just a neighbour popping in to feed is cruel and likely to result in destructive behaviour, straying or depression. Arrange for a live-in pet sitter but check your sitter’s credentials. Ask him or her for references. One of the most important skills a pet sitter can have is being able to identify when a pet is unwell. A good pet sitter should know how to recognise symptoms of common ailments such as constipation, choking, seizures and poisoning.
  • Your pet sitter will need to know the name and telephone number of your vet (including emergency numbers); your pet’s medication details (especially if he is on chronic meds); his feeding, sleeping and exercise routine and any behavioural issues like fear of lightening or other dogs. Compile a checklist and stick it up on the fridge.
  • Your pet’s greatest comfort is routine so make sure your pet sitter knows your pet’s daily routine and sticks to it, including feeding habits and exercise times. If he or she doesn’t stick to your routine, you may find your pet has gained a few kilos while you were away or refuses to get into his own bed at night!

Taking your pet on holiday

Pets are home bodies. As much your dog might love a run on the beach, he needs his home comforts to make him feel safe and secure. If you’re taking him to your holiday cottage or to a pet-friendly hotel, be sure to pack his favourite things. Taking along his bed, his usual food and water bowls, and his favourite toys will put him at ease in a strange environment. Try to maintain an exercise and eating routine similar to what he has at home. And before you leave home, do your research on the vet clinic nearest to your holiday destination. You may not need a vet but it is always better to be prepared in case of an emergency.




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