Observer on Saturday - - Analysis & Opinion - Ol­i­days af­fect pets, too, and of­ten in neg­a­tive ways.

HMake sure vis­i­tors un­der­stand and keep in place your nor­mal safety mea­sures re­gard­ing pets, e.g. keep­ing gates closed so the dogs can’t wan­der into the road.

Do not leave kit­tens or pup­pies with small chil­dren. Chil­dren can hurt them and break frag­ile bones.

Make sure that kit­tens and pup­pies do not chew on elec­tri­cal cords for fairy lights.

Make sure that small toys do not get swal­lowed by pup­pies.

Make sure that your dog does not have ac­cess to your, or your neigh­bour’s, rub­bish bags. The de­cay­ing food may smell good to the pet but re­sult in se­vere gas­troen­teri­tis and or pan­cre­ati­tis.

If you have a braai be aware that bones given to dogs can re­sult in block­ages.

Be aware of wooden ke­bab sticks – they can be swal­lowed whole!

If your pet is fright­ened by fire­works take pre­cau­tions.

Amid hol­i­day chaos, re­mem­ber to make sure that your pet’s wa­ter bowl is kept full – it’s a hot time of year.

Make sure you have enough pet food to tide over the hol­i­days. Stick to your flea con­trol reg­i­men. Don’t take your pet shop­ping and leave it in the car. When the shops are busy, you can’t guar­an­tee how long you’ll be and a hot car is the same as a hot oven to a pet or small child.

Don’t ac­cept a pet as a gift un­less you are com­mit­ted to a life­time of care and are prop­erly pre­pared (cor­rect food, bowls, bed­ding, ken­nel, col­lar, and leash).

Don’t give a pet as a gift un­less you are 100 per cent sure the re­cip­i­ent is pre­pared for and wants it – for a life­time.

If you are go­ing away and leav­ing pets at home

Make sure your house sit­ter has your phone num­ber in case of emer­gency.

Make sure you leave more than enough food and any med­i­ca­tion your pet is tak­ing.

Make sure that your pet is mi­crochipped or has a col­lar tag.

If you are leav­ing pets at SAWS for safety

Make ken­nel reser­va­tions WELL IN AD­VANCE. The ken­nels get very busy over hol­i­days.

Make sure your pet’s vac­ci­na­tions are up to date and take the vac­ci­na­tion cer­tifi­cate along.

Leave an emer­gency con­tact num­ber where ei­ther a rel­a­tive or a friend can be found or where you can lo­cated through­out your hol­i­day.

Let the ken­nel know who your usual vet­eri­nar­ian is. Let him/her know when you’ll be away.

Make sure your pet has been treated for fleas and ticks.

So that the ex­pe­ri­ence is less trau­matic for your pet, take along his own food, bed­ding and some toys.

If your pet is on med­i­ca­tion, take enough to last through his stay at the ken­nel.

If your pet is trav­el­ling with you

Have your vet­eri­nar­ian ex­am­ine your pet within two weeks of travel.

Make sure your pet’s vac­ci­na­tions are upto-date.

Bring vac­cine and health records with you. (Pets can’t cross the bor­der with­out a “pass­port”.)

Put an ID tag on your pet’s col­lar and carry a cur­rent photo of it.

Bring more than suf­fi­cient of your pet’s food. Bring bowls for food and wa­ter. Bring bot­tles of wa­ter for times when your pet is thirsty and wa­ter is not avail­able. Bring leashes, toys and bed­ding. Make sure your pet has been treated for fleas and ticks.

If your pet is on med­i­ca­tion bring enough to last through­out the trip.

Bring a car­rier for your pet to travel in safely.

Bring bags to clear up dog poop. Happy hol­i­days to you and your pets!

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