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SINGAPORE: Pet hotels are becoming a hit with owners who want to ensure that their furry friends are in good hands while they are away.
Some hotels said demand went up by about 30 per cent last year, compared with 2011 while occupancy rates are almost always full during the year-end holidays.
From massages to soothe aching joints to customised spa sessions that come with a clay pack wrap of nutrients and minerals, the pets are enjoying a break of their own at pet-wellness centres, such as pet hotel, Petopia, while their owners are away.
Petopia’s marketing director Richard Wee said: “They find this place more like a playroom. We have one case of a customer’s dog that after they left the hotel and came back for grooming one day, the dog ran all the way back to the playroom to just look for his friends to spend time with during the hotel stay.”
Petopia can take in up to 50 animals and rooms are usually booked a few months in advance.
Pet owners fork out between S$75 and S$158 for a night’s stay.
“We are looking at three different crowds. The year-end holiday goers, they clear their annual leave. We have families who bring the children overseas during school holidays and a large number of expatriates who return home for the year-end season,” said Mr Wee.
Safety and security are the top concerns of owners, along with separation pangs.
Mr Wee said: “We have customers who choose not to go away for many years because they are afraid of not having someone to look after their pets well.”
To allay such concerns, the hotel installed webcams in the building for owners to track their pets’ movements.
Er Yanshan, a pet owner, said: “It’s better than just leaving your pet at home with no one to look after it, so it’s a good idea.”
What’s more alarming is when owners abandon their pets.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) said more than 100 animals were given up at the centre in December 2012 by owners who wanted to go away.
That is twice the number, compared with the other months of the same year.
Mr Lee Yao Huang, who is animal care officer at SPCA, said: “Some of them might decide to give it to SPCA, or they just abandoned it at their HDB area or grass patch near their place.
“We actually give them some help by advising them to put it on our re-homing notice on our SPCA website or they can put up brochures and notices on the vet’s clinics or supermarkets on their notice boards.”
And for those who don’t want to fork out too much at the pet hotel, another way is to get friends or relatives to play pet-sitter.