Harry Cooper, the amiable vet in the tweed cap, has as much advice about what to do if you are leaving your pets behind as well as what to do if you take them with you on holidays.
Harry believes that both the temperament of your pet and their training is critical before travelling with them.
For example, if you have a dog who is a barker, anti-social or a poor traveller, then maybe a boarding kennel is the best choice for them.
He says owners should always check before they place their pet in a boarding situation.
Trial runs are good. And when it comes to first impressions use your basic senses of sight and smell. Harry says if it smells bad then it is no place for your pet.
His check list also includes:
Are the water bowls bright and clean?
Are the staff really pet lovers?
Will your pet have something to look at?
Is there space?
An essential is having the shots for kennel cough, he says, as the treatment has a relatively short effective life.
Cats are anti social animals and get the “Cat Mads”, Harry says. Despite their ability to sleep for up to 80 per cent of the day. The “Mads” are part of the cat’s routine and often kick in around 3pm and 5pm. So clear the way, says Harry, it is essential that the cat’s routine be accommodated.
Harry and his wife breed cats. He says the Asiatics with their dog like characteristics may well make the best travellers with training, but it is a matter of patience and kindness to get them keen on the idea. Generally cats are not good on the road, he said.
This means that as they are more than likely to feel insecure a really good cat carry case is a must. He says that if a frightened cat bolts in a strange environment it is unlikely to come back.
This should always be considered when deciding whether to take pets on holidays. Boarding prices range from “basic” to “exotic” but the decision about boarding should be made after testing what is best for the animal.
Cats can be trained to walk on a lead, Harry says. His method is time and patience based. Starting with allowing the cat to become familiar with a cord and then progressing to a collar with the cord attached and then finally, over time, to maybe a sock with a small amount of sand in it tied to the cord so the cat gets used to the idea of “weight” attached to the collar.
There comes a day, says Harry, when the owner can pick up the cord/lead and walk the cat.
Leaving your pets with friends, can end friendships, he says, and clear binding agreements about where responsibility lies should be in place before any such arrangements are put in place.
Harry says treatment for sick or injured animals can run into thousands of dollars. Fortunately this is not so much of an issue with pets like rabbits, fish and birds.
If your loved bird is going along then cover the cage. Objects flashing past can leave your pet a psychological wreck. Arriving at your caravan park with a parrot which will not stop screeching is not Harry’s idea of a happy holiday.
With small birds, particularly small yellow birds don’t hang them outside in their cage. You are just running the high risk of providing a savory snack for the local kookaburras and other native predatory birds according to Harry.
Snakes, lizards and fish, are no great problem if there is a quick daily check made. In the cool months small feeds or fairly long periods without feeding will not upset the natural order of things.
When travelling with dogs stop every two hours and exercise them. It will be good for you too and help you arrive safely. Make sure you have fresh water; it is best if it comes from the home supply and can be carried in sealed plastic containers.
Do not feed your animal on the day you leave and restrain them in the vehicle. If there is too much enthusiasm from the pet while it is in the vehicle it should be restrained on the floor behind the front passenger seat.
Make sure all shots are up to date and off you go.
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