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Holidaying with your Pet

Holidaying with your Pet

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Getting organised to go away on holidays can sometimes be a stressful time. This can be even more so if you haven't planned what to do with your pets. Here are some tips that may help:

Accommodation - If you're planning to take your pet(s) on holidays with you, always enquire in advance whether or not they will be admitted. Listings such as those put out by the NRMA will sometimes say whether or not a pet will be allowed on to a particular property; but often it is at the owner/manager's discretion, and various restrictions apply.

For more information we suggest you get a book specifically about holiday destinations that will accept pets, called ‘Australian Dogs on Holiday’, which includes travel tips, and reviews of pet-friendly accommodation at approx. 400 destinations around Australia. The NRMA also has their own Travelling with Pets guide with reviews of approx. 180 pet-friendly destinations. Other similar titles are available at bookstores.

If you plan to leave your pet behind, obviously you will want to make sure that he/she is well cared for. There are a number of options available here:

• Have a friend or relative care for them. Either take your pets to stay with friends, or have your friend come to your house on a daily basis.

• Hire somebody to come to your house each day and care for your pet. This may be a trusted neighbour's child, or there are a number of people who do this professionally.

• Put your pet into a boarding kennel or cattery. Unfortunately, the size of our hospital makes it impossible for us to offer dog boarding facilities. But there are a number of good boarding kennels around the local area. We do however, offer cat boarding here at the hospital. If you are trying to choose a boarding facility for your pet, we recommend that you visit the establishment first, and meet the people that will be caring for your pet. Only then will you be confident that your pet will be properly cared for while you are away.

Vaccinations - If you are boarding your pet, or taking him/her on holidays with you, make sure that their vaccinations are up to date. Get your pet vaccinated at least two weeks before you go - to give the vaccine time to take effect. If you're planning to board your dog, make sure that they've had a kennel cough vaccine within the last 6 months (as well as parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis). For cats, make sure that their last vaccine included cat flu and enteritis.

Medications - Stock up on any special foods or medications that your pet may need. Take them with you on holidays, or leave them with the people caring for your pet back at home, and leave clear written instructions about any of your pet's special needs.

Car Travel - Some pets do not travel well. Long drives can be bad enough without having a screaming cat or barking dog bounding around all over your car. Make sure that your pet is properly restrained in the car, for their benefit as well as for the safety of yourself and your family. Dogs should wear a harness, and the seatbelt should be looped through the harness to restrain them. Cats should be kept in a cat carry cage, secured in the car so that it cannot dislodge in the event of an accident.

Car sickness - can also be a problem, leading to drooling or vomiting. If you are not sure how well your pet travels, try some shorter journeys around home first to find out. Then if necessary, you can take appropriate action. We can prescribe medication to control motion sickness, as well as calm your pet for the trip if necessary.

In case of emergency! Just in case something should go wrong, you should leave emergency information with the person looking after your pet - the vet's telephone number and a contact number where you can be reached - and a copy of our Emergency Services handout. In case you can't be contacted, ensure that someone else is authorised to approve any urgent treatment that may be necessary. If taking your pet with you, it is wise to make sure you know where to find the nearest vet. There's no 000 or ambulances for pets, so you'll need to be able to contact and get to the nearest vet quickly in case of an emergency.

Paralysis Ticks

If you're taking your pet with you on holidays, you need to be wary of the paralysis tick - Ixodes holocyclus. Though these types of ticks are very uncommon around Ingleburn, they are very common along the coast (especially during the warmer months) and are very deadly. Paralysis ticks attach to the skin, usually around the head and neck, but all parts of the body are susceptible. They feed on blood, injecting a neurotoxin as they feed. The first symptoms are usually weakness in the hind legs, and perhaps a change in your pet's breathing or its voice/bark. Within as little as 1-2 days, this can progress to paralysis and death.

Learn to search your pet for ticks every day whilst away on holidays. The paralysis tick burrows its head into the skin, but the body is always outside, and is a steely blue/grey colour. A tick may be only 1-2mm in size when it first attaches, but grows as it feeds and will usually be 3-5mm (or more) in size by the time it is causing signs of illness. Because they are hidden by your pet's fur, ticks will often not be obvious, so you should search for them by running your fingertips carefully through the coat. You should check the entire body, from head to toe (even between the toes!) every day. If you find a tick, you should seek veterinary attention. You can spray it with Frontline and/or remove it as quickly as possible without squeezing the engorged abdomen. A special hook or tweezers may be useful.

We recommend using any one of the following products to reduce the risk of tick paralysis to your pets:




Frontline Spray


Preventic collar

These products are found to be very effective, however, daily searching of your pets for ticks is still highly recommended.

Having planned for the proper care of your pet, you can now relax.

Have a great holiday!


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