Pets need Christmas care

By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au

WITH just over one week to go until Christmas, last minute present buying and planning for family get-togethers are foremost in people's minds.

However, one family member is often forgotten during the Christmas season ? the family pet.

Friends of RSPCA Gladstone foster care co-ordinator Tammy Driesson said if people were planning trips away at Christmas, it was important they ensured pets were looked after.

'If people leave pets at home they need to be checked on at least once a day or if they decide to take them on holidays with the rest of the family, they need to be properly vaccinated, exercised and watered frequently,' Tammy said.

Veterinary nurse and pet carer Carmen Kerr said she had cared for 21 pets on Christmas day last year, getting up at 4am to do the rounds.

'Christmas is a really busy time and often the kennels are pretty full, so people call me to check on their pets once or twice a day,' Carmen said.

She said apart from feeding and playing with the animals, she also checked the mail and watered the plants.

'Just the fact that someone's around can be a security measure for people as well,' Carmen said.

She said she generally cared for cats, dogs, birds and fish. However, she would never turn down a request to care for an animal during the holidays.

'I never say no, because I think if the kennels are full and I can't do it, does that mean the pet stays at home by itself?

'I'd rather get up 10 minutes earlier to check on them than know they were at home alone.'

Other than using boarding kennels or home visit services, Tammy said people going away could ask family, friends or neighbours to make daily visits to check on pets and ensure their property was looked after.

'If you decide to get a friend or neighbour to look after your pet, whether it's at your home or theirs, make sure you leave enough food for the pet. 'And ensure the pet is in a safe and secure environment,' Tammy said.



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