Pet owners have a responsibility over the festive season

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Owning a pet is a full-time responsibility which cannot be taken lightly.

For most of us the festive season is a time to temporarily forget about your responsibilities and relax. The NSPCA explains that owning a pet is a full-time responsibility which cannot be taken lightly. Courant compiled the following report on pet safety and care during the holidays.

As the NSPCA’s Christine Kuch explains, the type of problems experienced by their organisation during the holidays tend to be an exacerbation of the normal problems that pop up during the rest of the year. Problems include pet owners who wait until the last minute or forget to stay up to date with their pets’ vaccinations.

This is a requirement if you wish to house your pet in a kennel whilst on your holiday. “Work something out, whether it is a friend or a family member who will house-sit for you, or make use of boarding kennels, keeping in mind these boarding kennels are fully booked quickly, so you should make provision. Also look ahead to New Year’s Eve. There are going to be fireworks around the world, whether you like it or not. It is legal within the Explosives Act and by-laws, so again make provision that your animals are safe,” Kuch suggests.

As Kuch explains, there are certain things pet owners can do to ensure their pets are safe and comfortable during these New Year’s celebrations. One could also keep animals indoors. “We often hear from people whose pets ran away, because pets were kept outside while owners were having a party indoors. In these instances, please be fair towards the animal.”

Other tips include:

• Make sure your pet has a form of identification, whether it is a tag around its collar with your contact information, or the modern and preferred electronic tag implanted under the skin.

• Keep your contact information up to date, especially if you have moved or your contact details have changed.

• Do not give animals medication prescribed for humans to calm them down – this can have damaging effects in the long term.

• Some homeopathic medication needs to build up in the animal’s system over time, so start administering medication well in advance and not the day before New Year’s parties start.

Finally, Kuch says ensuring your pet’s well-being and safety during the festive season requires your input well in advance. “So let’s do those pre-festive season checks and let’s make sure that even if the worst happens and an animal does get out, he or she goes back to their owners as quickly as possible.”

dane@centralmediagroup.co.za