At this time of year many Queenslanders are heading off on holidays… but what will they do with their favourite pets?
According to an RSPCA survey, 55% of people will take their pets on holidays with them. RSPCA Qld spokesman Michael Beatty praised Queenslanders for including their animals but warned about the danger of taking pets on unplanned vacations.
"Obviously Queenslanders consider their animals an important, much loved part of their family, said Mr Beatty. "Although this is encouraging, it's important that people organise themselves so that long trips and staying in unfamiliar places don't become too stressful for them and their animals."
"It's vital that animals have holiday tags on their collar containing their owner's holiday contact details. It can be very distressing for animals who are stuck at the RSPCA or Council Pound because there is no way of contacting their owners," continued Mr Beatty.
Before setting off with their pets, owners also need to ensure that their holiday location is suitable for their pets and that cool water and appropriate restraints are used on car trips. For pets not going with the family, the RSPCA strongly urges owners not to leave their pets alone.
"Animals, especially dogs, are sociable creatures and are best left with friends, reputable pet sitting services and boarding kennels. By being organised and taking the necessary precautions people can ensure that their trip away is well deserved and stress free for both themselves and their animals."
RSPCA Qld is also urging pet owners to use its Home Alone service if they're going away for two to three days. The RSPCA Inspectorate came up with the idea after Inspectors were continually being called to investigate possible cases of neglect and cruelty during holiday periods.
"Many people leave pets at home and rely on the goodwill of neighbours and friends to keep them fed, watered and exercised," said Mr Beatty. "The problem is that often these friends forget or the animal escapes and we have no one to contact in case of emergences.
With Home Alone people can register their pet on our website and leave the name and contact details of the people taking care of the animal. That way we know whom to contact in case of emergencies." \
RSPCA Qld investigates over 18,000 complaints of animal cruelty annually and reports of abandoned animals make up a large quantity of these complaints.
During holiday seasons these types of calls escalate with families leaving pets behind in the care of friends and neighbours. The good intentions of neighbours looking out for the welfare of your pet can often lead to unneeded investigation.
Simply by completing your details on Home Alone when your family is going on holidays you can be reassured that RSPCA Inspectors will contact you or your animals' nominated caregiver if a complaint is lodged or the animal ends up at an RSPCA refuge.