Stena Line, one of the world's largest ferry operators, is encouraging its customers to spare their pets the psychological distress of being left behind when the family goes on holiday. Working with animal psychologist Dr Roger Mugford, the ferry company has found that animals can suffer separation anxiety if left in boarding kennels when their owners go on holiday.
The request from Stena Line is supported by research by the RSPCA which found that animals left in boarding kennels away from the security of the people and places they know are prone to suffering from angst known as “separation anxiety”. This can take the form of howling, barking, loss of bowel control, chewing, or a mixture of all four.
Dr Mugford, Britain's leading animal behaviourist and psychologist, said, “Pets require more than just a balanced diet, a constant supply of fresh, clean water and safe place to play and exercise; they need companionship for at least part of the day."
He continued, “Left in unfamiliar environments, pets have been known to reach levels of depression that verge on hysteria so I have teamed up with Stena Line to educate holidaymakers that there is a viable alternative to leaving pets with relations or in kennels and to offer some guidance to ensure that holidaying with pets in Europe can be stress-free and enjoyable for everyone.”
Lars Olsson, Stena Line's general manager of travel for the UK, said, “We are keen to encourage holidaymakers to take their pets with them on holiday as the findings of animal psychology experts have corroborated our suspicions that pets left in boarding kennels can suffer genuine mental health issues. We also want to help people to ensure that their pet travels as safely as possible so we have asked Dr Mugford to work with us to devise a set of simple travel safety guidelines.”
In June 2007 Stena Line upgraded its onboard kennels - now the largest on the North Sea - to cater for the needs of the significant proportion of passengers wishing to go travelling with pets to Holland. Owners could also choose to leave their pet in their vehicle throughout the crossing if they prefer.
In 2007 Stena Line carried 1,301 dogs and 117 cats on the Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry as part of the pet travel scheme and the refitted kennels ensure that the levels of onboard comfort enjoyed by Stena Line’s four-legged passengers match that of their owners. With pet wellbeing in mind, the kennels are well ventilated, spacious and located in a quiet area of the vessel.
In addition to Dr Mugford's pet travel tips, it is important to note that all pets travelling by ferry to Holland must have a valid pet passport. More information can be found at www.defra.co.uk.
Notes to editors:
In the UK alone, Stena Line offers two daily crossings on its Harwich to Hook of Holland route as well as over 30 daily crossings on its five different routes to Ireland (Stranraer to Belfast, Fleetwood to Larne, Holyhead to Dublin, Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire and Fishguard to Rosslare) providing fast and efficient crossings with excellent onboard services and facilities.
Stena Line PR contact
91 Waterloo Rd
020 7902 2990
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