The RSPCA Qld Property Guide for Home Pet Stays provides advice about the safety and security of Pet Minder's homes and backyards. Please read this document carefully. The guide has been developed by RSPCA from years of experience working with pets and pet foster carers. It aims to help both pet owners and minders assess the suitability of the minder's property for minding the owner's pet. Ultimately, by following these guidelines problems with pet security and safety will be minimised, which will create peace of mind for pet owners who entrust minders with their much-loved pets.

Each pet minding situation needs to be individually assessed because what qualifies as adequate security for one pet may not be for another. Both pet owners and pet minders should appraise the property for the pet being minded; together, they are more likely to identify all potential escape routes and hazards and find acceptable solutions.

Checklist for cats and kittens (must be kept indoors at all times)

Security: entry points to the cat's area must be securely blocked at all times

  • Screens - Are screens used to create a barrier? If so, screens must be in a good state of repair.
  • Bars - Are security bars used to create a barrier? If so, the spaces between the bars must be small enough that a cat or kitten cannot squeeze through or become trapped.
  • Latches - Are latches on the windows/doors secure? Could the cat/kitten potentially wiggle them open?
  • Windows - Are there high, relatively inaccessible windows that remain open but may be accessed by a cat via furniture, such as bookshelves?
  • Doors - Are there certain doors that must remain closed to keep the cat/kitten secure? Will children or other family members remember and reliably stick to these rules?

Safety: here are some common safety hazards. Be alert for other hazards that are not listed here.

  • Everyday household items - Are there normal household items that may become a hazard for playful pets, particularly if they are bored? Electrical cords, candles, curtain cords, and fish tanks are obvious hazards.
  • Ventilation - If the house is relying on doors and windows to be closed to keep the cat/kitten secure, will the room be too hot/stuffy in summer?

Checklist for dogs and puppies

Security: entry points to the dog's containment area must be securely blocked at all times

  • Flimsy or inappropriate - Is the fence poorly constructed or poorly maintained, or inappropriate for containing dogs (such as an electric containment system)?
  • Height off the ground and above the ground - Is the fence high enough and low enough to prevent the dog from escaping over or under? Remember to consider the gate as well as the fence height; the height at the lowest point determines whether or not an animal can jump out.
  • Slope - Does the slope of the land or adjacent furniture make the fence less secure (facilitating escape either over or under the fence)?
  • Gaps between - Are there gaps or holes in the fence that may allow an animal to squeeze through? Dogs can be very determined to squeeze through gaps between palings and spaces in wire mesh. Pay particular attention to gaps under fences.
  • Latches - Do the gates have latches that are easy to use and can effectively keep the gates closed?

Safety: here are some common safety hazards. Be alert for other hazards that are not listed here.

  • Water: Are there unfenced water features, such as a pool, fish pond or dam? Many pool fences won't exclude a small dog or puppy, and they can drown if they accidently fall in and are unable to get out.
  • Cars: Do cars back out through the dog containment area? If so, how will the dog be kept safe from the moving vehicle?
  • Rocks or Seeds: Are there other potential hazards in the yard, such as macadamia nuts, palm tree seeds, poisonous plants, or garden rocks?
  • Shade and Shelter: Is there adequate shade and shelter to protect the animal from the full force of the sun throughout the day and/or to escape adverse weather during thunderstorms? Remember, shade areas move throughout the day. It is important that shade is available ALL day long.
  • Cords: Are there potential hazards indoors, such as electrical cords and curtain cords?
  • Ventilation: If a dog or puppy is to be kept indoors, is there adequate ventilation in the secured area on hot days?