Christmas can be a stressful time for families, with extra financial pressure and travelling to far flung places. Sadly Christmas is also a very busy time for animal shelters with a significant increase in the number of unwanted dogs and cats dumped because owners can't find a place to house their pets over the holiday period.
Monet has been cared for by a neighbour and a house-sitter
Waiting until the week before Christmas is far too late to start looking for a pet-sitter or a kennels to take care of your pets, so start early! If money is an issue ask around the neighbourhood, your friends and family; you’d be surprised who could be available to walk your dog and feed the cat, fish, snake and bird.
Alternatively someone might like to holiday in your home while you are away, taking care of your mail and garden as well as the animals. This can often cost you nothing as the house sitter is getting free accommodation in return for looking after your home and pets.
I've taken care of Whiskers (Photo P.Mansergh) when the neighbours have been away
Dogs can also travel with you to most places, just check with your destination camp site or hotel about their rules. Cats are not so easy to take away with you but are also much easier to leave at home with a neighbour feeding and checking on them a few times a day.
GD has stayed in a cattery, with a house-sitter and been fed by the neighbour
Alternatives to abandoning or dumping pets at shelters:
House and pet-sitters
Friends, neighbours or family to visit and feed your pets daily
Kennels, catteries or veterinary clinics
Take pets with you
Put a notice up in your local shop, vet clinic or high school
And as for those pets that do end up on the steps of the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League or shelter, why not help them out with a donation toward their care?
The RSPCA have the Guardian Angel programme for example. By becoming a Guardian Angel you will receive the profile of the animal you are watching over and can promote them through your social media, hopefully finding them a forever home sooner.
There are many great animal shelters and advocates in Australia and around the world including the Animal Welfare Leagues, Pet Rescue and for the pigs, goats and chooks there is Edgar’s Mission . Most countries have a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) or Humane Society who would be extremely grateful for any donations at this potentially busy time of year.
Happy holiday everyone, whether you have two legs, four, fins or scales.
These are some great tips! I've done a few of these things with our dogs - the best for your pets and for you might change, but the importance of organising it early never changes - get it done early, and that's one holiday stress gone.