Pets in tran­sit need spe­cial care

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Now more than ever we con­sider our pets as fam­ily mem­bers, so when head­ing off on a sum­mer hol­i­day, they come too.

But trav­el­ling with your furry friends can re­quire a bit of for­ward plan­ning to en­sure the safety of ev­ery­one con­cerned.

The Mo­tor Trade As­so­ci­a­tion (MTA) has put to­gether a few tips and sug­ges­tions with ad­vice from the SPCA, to make sure your sum­mer road trip is as stress free as pos­si­ble.

‘‘As you pack the kids and lug­gage into the car ready to head off on a hol­i­day, most peo­ple sel­dom think twice about putting the pets in the back be­fore mo­tor­ing off. ‘

‘It’s just as im­por­tant to con­sider the safety and needs of our pets on a long jour­ney, as it is for our kids and other pas­sen­gers,’’ said MTA spokesper­son Jayne Mur­ray.

Here are a few sim­ple steps you can take to make trav­el­ling with your furry friends a lot eas­ier and safer this hol­i­day sea­son.

Se­cure your pets in a well ven­ti­lated crate, car­rier, or har­ness. An un­re­strained pet could be se­ri­ously in­jured, or in­jure other peo­ple in the car, if a crash were to oc­cur. A dog sit­ting un­se­cured in the back seat can be­come a large furry mis­sile, if the car stops sud­denly in an ac­ci­dent.

Un­re­strained pets can also dis- tract a driver and cause an ac­ci­dent if they get fright­ened or threat­ened by some­thing. If in­volved in a crash, an un­re­strained pet could es­cape and be hit by an­other ve­hi­cle or cause an­other col­li­sion. And a fright­ened dog may at­tack strangers who are try­ing to help at the scene of an ac­ci­dent.

SPCA chief in­spec­tor Ritchie Daw­son said: ‘‘As a pet owner you have an obli­ga­tion un­der the An­i­mal Wel­fare Act to trans­port your an­i­mal in a safe and se­cure man­ner. Cats are best trav­el­ling in a cage, and dogs should be re­strained in a safety har­ness or crate.

‘‘If you’re trav­el­ling in a ute with an open deck, it is the le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity of the owner to en­sure that any load is se­cured in a safe man­ner, un­der the Land Trans­port Act.

‘‘The best way to se­cure a dog on an open ute is to tether them to the mid­dle of the front of the deck, right be­hind the cabin in the cen­tre so the dog can’t lean out over the side.

‘‘The tether needs to be long enough so they can sit and lay down com­fort­ably, but short enough so it can’t lean out over the edge of the deck.

If you were to go around a cor­ner too quickly, and the tether is too long, you could hang your dog if it fell off the deck,’’ he said.

Make sure your pet stays within the ve­hi­cle at all times.

You wouldn’t let your kids hang out of the win­dows, would you? Keep­ing your pet in­side the ve­hi­cle not only keeps them safe from get­ting hurt by ob­jects out­side, but it also keeps passersby safe too.

‘‘If you’ve stopped to get petrol, or you’re caught in line of slow hol­i­day traf­fic and a pedes­trian or cy­clist passes, if your dog is able to stick their head out the win- dow, they’re not only go­ing to give the per­son a fright, but might latch on. Then you’re in all sorts of trou­ble,’’ Mr Daw­son said.

Pre­pare your pets for a long trip by tak­ing them on a se­ries of short drives first.

Pets can get car sick too, so be pre­pared – put some news­pa­per, a sheet or tow­els down so you can eas­ily clean it up.

Med­i­ca­tion could work, but speak to your vet if your pet is ner­vous about trav­el­ling.

‘‘Don’t feed them just be­fore a trip.

‘‘Feed them when you get to your des­ti­na­tion or if you stop for lunch give them a bit of food then and let them go to the toi­let and have a bit of a run around. Most peo­ple know if their pet is a good trav­eller or not. Stick to what’s tried and proven,’’ Mr Daw­son ad­vised.

Take your pets with you when you park.

Never leave them unat­tended in a car for more than 10 to 15 min­utes. If you’re go­ing to stop and have lunch, make sure some­one can stay with your pet. Let an­other per­son get take­aways, or sand­wiches, or have a pic­nic, rather than leave your pet in the car.

The in­side of a car heats up very quickly. On a 30 de­gree day, the tem­per­a­ture in­side your car – even with the win­dows slightly opened or in the shade – will reach 39 de­grees within 10 min­utes. In 30 min­utes it can climb up to 49 de­grees, or even higher and for any pet trapped in­side it be­comes like an oven.

Th­ese con­di­tions can eas­ily mean death for the an­i­mal, Mr Daw­son said.

‘‘It’s not an of­fence to leave your pet in the car, but if the an­i­mal suf­fers from any un­nec­es­sary pain or dis­tress, you can be li­able for crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.’’

Pet trav­el­ling kit – things take with you on your trip

Take the es­sen­tials with you; plenty of water, food, toi­let bags, (don’t leave it on the side of the road), groom­ing equip­ment, bed-

to ding, bowls, a leash, a fa­mil­iar toy, and any med­i­ca­tion.

If you want to leave your pet at a board­ing ken­nel or cat­tery, you’ll need to have to have a vac­ci­na­tion card – vac­ci­na­tions need to be up to date to get into board­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

If you are plan­ning on us­ing a board­ing ken­nel or cat­tery this will need to be booked well in ad­vance if you’re go­ing to have any luck get­ting in.

Just re­mem­ber that you can get stuck in traf­fic, some­times for hours so make sure you have plenty of water and food for ev­ery­one.

Plan ahead and con­sider des­ti­na­tion.

Make sure you know your des­ti­na­tion and make sure that they’ve got the ap­pro­pri­ate fa­cil­i­ties for your pet when you get there.

For ex­am­ple, if you’re stay­ing with fam­ily some­where else in the coun­try, make sure they have a fenced yard to keep your dog se­cure in, and that there’s a ken­nel or shel­ter if the weather changes or to get out of the sun.

‘‘Be pre­pared: you may need to take a few stops on the way. You might not do the trip in one day – so find a mo­tel or mo­tor camp that al­lows pets. A lot of them do and it’s just a mat­ter of ask­ing.

‘‘If you’ve got a well-be­haved dog it could sleep in the back of the car at night,’’ said Mr Daw­son.

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