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Holidays can be stressful - for pets!

As holiday time approaches, many pet owners spend as much time thinking about how their pets will cope while they are away as choosing a destination.

Holidays can be stressful for pets - a stay in a kennel or cattery, a new house-sitter or a changed routine can all be unsettling.  Many owners coming to the clinic tell staff that the thought of leaving a pet makes them worry whilst they are away, and in some cases makes them think twice about going ohn holiday in the first place.

Common signs of stress shown by an animal in an unfamilar and stressful situation include frequent pacing, changed appetite, reduced interaction with people or other animals, repeated vocalisation (some dogs are hoarse after a stay in kennels) and also some behavioural problems such as overgrooming.

Cats, more commonly than dogs, may withdraw into themselves and stop playing and socialising until they adapt to the change in their routine or their owners come home.

So what can you do to make holidays as stress-free as possible for pets? Firstly, make sure you are using an approved kennel or cattery - the local council can provide a list and assocations such as the Feline Advisory Bureau offer guidelines for choosing the right cattery for you.

However, a stay in even the best cattery or kennel is a big change for pets and some may need additional support during their stay. Zylkene is a natural product, proven to help pets manage stress in many common situations e.g. moving house or the arrival of a new pet. It can also help dogs and cats at holiday time - whetehr during kennel or cattery stay or to help them feel more confident with the person feeding them at home. Zylkene is also easy to give - the palatable powder can be mixed with food or a favourite treat, avoiding any struggles.

It is important your pet's vaccinations are also up to date. Dogs should also be vaccinated against Kennel Cough. This is not always included as part of the annnual vaccination, so please ask us if you wish for this vaccination.

So if you are planning a holiday and are worried about your pet while you are away, please feel free to contact the clinic to discuss how to ensure a happy holiday for all the family.

Simon Robinson B.Vet.Med., MRCVS

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