March 24, 2020
The RSPCA has urged everyone to spare a thought for their pets in these times of uncertainty.
RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty provided some tips that may prove useful in the coming weeks:
- The Essentials. Make sure that you have at least two weeks’ worth of food for your pet. If they are on any medications or a prescription veterinary diet have at least a month’s stock of both. For cats, ensure you have enough cat litter and if your dog does have to stay inside with you for a few weeks, consider having enough poo bags. To keep your pet healthy, have at least a month of parasite prevention. Call your vet before visiting to ensure they have the food or medicine ready for you to help with social distancing.
- Buddy Up. Contact and designate someone to look after your pet if you need to go to hospital. Make sure they have a way to access your house and know your pets and their requirements. Have all food clearly marked with feeding instructions. If your pet is on medications have instructions on what and when, and to make it easier have at least two weeks of medications pre-dispensed into labeled pill organisers. Write up a day planner of your pets’ normal routine and quirks so that whoever is looking after them can keep their routine as stable as possible. Have a call list which includes your veterinarian, alternate nearby veterinarian and available boarding facilities.
- Pet Documents and ID. Gather all the essential documents relating to your pet and have them easily accessible. Make sure your microchip registration details are up-to-date and consider a secondary form of identification for your pet such as a collar and tag. Have a full list of emergency contacts including yours and family and friends’ phone numbers and email addresses.
- Emergency Accommodation. Research and contact local boarding or pet minding facilities near you in the event that your pet requires emergency accommodation. Ask them to email you their boarding paperwork so this can be pre-filled out and also send them any vaccination or registration paperwork in advance so that even a stranger could get them to safe accommodation. Have appropriate transport crates or leashes for each pet and place these within easy access. Most boarding facilities will require up-to-date vaccinations, so check your pet’s vaccination status and call your vet if you require a booster.
- Isolation Enrichment. If you and your pet do need to self-isolate make sure you keep their mind and body active. For cats, this includes at least 30 minutes of one-on-one playtime or interaction; new toys that can be brought out for stimulation and indoor cat grass for nibbling on. For dogs that are usually walked, you will have to find alternate ways to keep them active: lots of one-on-one games, rotate dog toys and have a stock of new ones, play hide and seek, teach them new tricks, and give them treat balls that make them work for the reward.
“As you can imagine, the majority of the RSPCA’s work is hands-on, so although a small number of our staff can work from home, for our inspectors, veterinarians and animal attendants and volunteers it is business as usual,” Mr Beatty said.
“We’d urge people to continue to adopt but sadly we have to remind people that, due to recent government directives, our care centres cannot be used as public gathering places. So please only come if you are genuinely thinking of adopting now or in the near future.
“We also currently have 40 horses in foster care that desperately need new homes so that their carers are free to take on other animals.”