《TAIPEI TIMES》 Ensure holidays are not stressful for pets, vet says
Two dogs sit in a pet stroller in Taipei in an undated photograph. Photo: the New Taipei City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office
TRAVEL ADVICE: When looking for a pet hotel, it is best to choose one that is licensed and partnered with an animal clinic that is open during the holiday
By Lee Yeh, Tung Kuan-yi and William Hetherington / Staff reporters, with staff writer
Those traveling with cats and dogs over the Lunar New Year holiday should be aware of potential stress factors, a veterinarian said.
Dogs and cats are particularly sensitive to changes in the environment, and are easily frightened by stimuli such as firecrackers, veterinarian Lin Wei-chen （林瑋真） said.
Pets can remain nervous after being frightened, during which time they might be unwilling to eat, she said.
“It is especially important for those traveling with pets to prepare a small, safe space wherever they are staying during the holiday for their pets to hide in if they become frightened,” she said.
“Allow cats and dogs to hide, and prepare familiar blankets, small toys and other items” for them, as these put them at ease and can help to soothe them, Lin said.
For pets that are too sensitive, or in cases where sources of stimulation are unavoidable, owners should ask their veterinarian about nutritional formulas or medications that can help calm their pet, she said, adding that sensitive pets should always be kept on a leash or in a cage when in loud or crowded places.
Meanwhile, veterinarian Hsieh Ming-jui （謝明瑞） said owners should avoid feeding their pets unfamiliar snacks or table scraps during the holiday, as this can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, vomiting, abdominal pain or other problems.
Owners should ensure that any new snacks they plan on giving their pets comply with the standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials or the European Pet Food Industry Federation, she said.
Royal Canin general manager Chang Chin-chi （張堇琪） said that the best pet foods are often wet foods that replenish moisture and are balanced nutritionally.
Veterinarian Lin Yu-wen （林郁玟） said that pet owners should always remember to ask their veterinarian for backup medications prior to long holidays such as the Lunar New Year, when animal hospitals are generally closed.
Separately, New Taipei City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office official Hsieh Yu-ta （謝侑達） said that people who leave their pets at a pet hotel should ensure that the hotel is partnered with an animal clinic that is open during the holiday.
“When looking for a pet hotel, make sure the place you choose is licensed, and make sure your pet is chipped and vaccinated for rabies before sending it to a hotel,” he said. “It’s also a good idea to visit the hotel with your pet in advance to familiarize them with the environment there.”
Finally, owners should inform the hotel of their pet’s diet and habits, and sign a contract with the hotel to ensure any potential disputes are easily resolved, he said.
Those looking for a pet hotel can check the Ministry of Agriculture’s Web site for a list of licensed hotels in every city and county, he added.