As the summer vacation approaches, we wanted to cover some important things to consider in your planning in this blog.
1. Who should we leave our animal to?
Animals can be taken care of in animal boarding houses or by friends or family members. However, it is important to make sure that those responsible for our animal are over the age of 18, since keeping an animal requires responsibility. If you are asking children to feed your pet, it is important that an adult give them an oversight, because if your pet is eating less or exhibiting changes in behavior, it may be difficult for a child to assess the health of your pet. Also, be aware that an individual under the age of 18 cannot make decisions and sign official papers at the vet. An adult over 18 must be present.
2. How to properly prepare caretakers or pensions?
If you send your animal to boarding in a place where several animals are kept at the same time, it is important that the vaccination is up to date, mainly for the basic vaccine (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus +/- Parainfluenza) and the vaccination for kennel cough (Bordetella). Vaccination should be done 2 weeks before boarding to ensure adequate protection is obtained.
Depending on the caretaker’s habits and the length of the vacation, plan to continue deworming (protection against ticks, fleas, heartworms and intestinal worms), in order to have adequate protection and to allow your animal to continue its activities safely.
Also, be sure to provide a sufficient amount of food and the brand and type of food your pet is eating to make the caretakers’ life easier and avoid abrupt dietary changes. If your pet has an allergy, mention it. Also, don’t hesitate to insist on the rations to give and the limited quantities of treats to offer. Indeed, the caretakers are often rather generous in surprises, so if your vacation is long, it is possible that you notice a weight gain of your companion.
You can also give some indications to the people in charge about your pet’s habits so that they are able to detect changes in behavior or habits.
3. What information should be given to custodians?
As a veterinarian, it is not uncommon to receive an animal that is in the care of someone other than the owner. In these situations, those in charge experience significant stress. In order to make these difficult times easier, it is important to provide some important information.
- The name of your family veterinarian, if your animal becomes ill during your absence, a visit to your regular veterinarian will allow caregivers to have access to the medical file quickly;
- If you have ever needed to go to a referral center, give the name of this center to the caregivers in order to facilitate medical follow-up;
- Call your veterinarian to give the name of the caretaker so that he can make decisions in your absence;
- Inform caretakers of your budget for care in case of complications;
- Also indicate if you wish to carry out resuscitation in an emergency;
- Provide a phone number and / or email address so that we can get back to you quickly;
- If your pet has an illness, indicate or even make a small note to the keepers so that they have information about the illness and its ongoing treatments.
4. What to do in an emergency?
If you notice changes in behavior, energy level or if an accident occurs, call your veterinarian or the emergency center quickly (depending on the time), so that they can better advise you if they happen. Whether it is an emergency or not. When in doubt, never hesitate to contact a veterinarian for advice.
Communicate as quickly as possible with owners to let them know of the situation and make sure they can be reached if needed.
Then, make your way quickly to the veterinary facility for an evaluation of the animal. Let the vet know that you are not the owner, but that the owner is aware of the situation.
Also indicate the possible initial budget in order to begin care as quickly as possible if the animal is in critical condition. Subsequently, the owners can be contacted so that a more precise plan can be made with them.
Caretaking a member of our family is a big responsibility. Let’s make sure we choose the right keepers and give them the best tools to take care of them. We will therefore be able to take full advantage of our well-deserved vacation.
Dre Maude Gauthier-Bouchard,
B.Sc, DMV, IPSAV in exotic animal medicine.
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