Pets deserve to have good time, too

By Amy Shanks


Pets, although part of the family, can be forgotten in the excitement of Christmas and New Year.

That's why local SPCAs are encouraging people to stop and think about the welfare of their animals this silly season.

With many people leaving town, SPCA staff are often called in to care for cats and dogs which have been left on their own with insufficient food, water, shelter and shade.

That situation could easily be avoided, said Waipukurau SPCA manager Renee Hickey.

"There are boarding kennels and catteries, although people do sometimes struggle with the cost. You can always ask your neighbours to feed them and make sure that they get enough water and exercise. There is no excuse for just leaving them," Hickey said.

It was also important to ensure the person looking after your animal was responsible and able to check on them at least once a day.

Faye Johnson, of the Hastings SPCA, said: "It's about educating the public because they do have legal requirements to take care of their animals.

Make sure you get someone over 16 years of age and leave them with plenty of food, your vet's number and how to contact you in case of an emergency."

There was more than basic care to think of, such as cases where animals had white or pale-coloured ears and noses.

"Cats or dogs may need sunscreen in those areas because they can develop cancer. It's best to get some proper sunscreen from the vet. Zinc also works."

Another concern for dogs in the warmer months is overheating, especially when left inside a vehicle.

On a 30C day, for example, the temperature inside a car - even with the windows slightly open - can reach 39C in 10 minutes, even in the shade.

After half an hour it can climb to 49C. A dog can only withstand a body temperature of 42C for a short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

"Every summer we battle with people leaving their dogs in the car.

"They will just leave them while they have a drink or do the shopping, but that's just not fair.

"It's best to leave them at home."


Tips for leaving animals at home



  • If possible, book your pet into a kennel or cattery.


  • Never leave a dog tied up where it can get its lead tangled or where it could knock over the water bowl.


  • Check your fences before you leave to ensure your dog can't get out.


  • A bored dog can do damage to your property or bark continuously, so ensure it has something to keep it amused.


  • Make sure your dog has a collar with its registration tag on. For cats, write a contact number on their collar.


  • Pets' shelters should be out of the weather and make sure some shade is available for dogs.


  • Leave behind plenty of water in a vessel that can't tip over.


  • Tips for travelling with pets:


  • Before you leave make the effort to check out pet-friendly motels and motorcamps.


  • Stop every hour so your dog can relieve itself.


  • Never leave your pet alone in a car for more than 20 minutes.


  • Transport cats in a carrier cage lined with newspaper.

     



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