National Pet Month is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year; it began in 1989 as National Pet Week and has grown more and more popular every year. Veterinary practices, animal therapy providers, animal charities, animal experts and pet shops all over the UK support this annual event, with the aim of
- Promoting responsible pet ownership
- Raising awareness of the mutual benefits of pet ownership
- Increasing awareness of the role of pet care specialists
- Raising awareness of the value of assistance and working companion animals.
This years theme is Celebrating Our Pets. There are lots of events happening all over the UK for pet lovers this month, including the All About Dogs Show at Newbury Showground 12-13th April. You can visit the National Pet Month website to look for other events near you.
During National Pet Month you can access some free webinars about pet care, available to pet owners with internet access. Topics on the site currently include cat diabetes, dog diabetes, vaccines, cat hyperthyroidism and reptile care. These can be accessed by registering on the Pet Webinars site.
Are you a responsible pet owner?
One of the main aims of National Pet Month is to promote responsible pet ownership and offer help and advice on caring for pets and keeping them happy and healthy. Responsible pet ownership will ensure your pet stays happy and healthy and can include
- Learning about your pet’s individual requirements and ensuring you meet them. Each type of pet will have it’s own special requirements whether it be a special type of food, home or even the need for mental stimulation through play, activity and training. Even goldfish need a stimulating and enriched environment.
- Providing a nutritious and well balanced diet. Every animal needs a particular type of diet; you can ask your veterinary nurse for advice about what will suit your particular pet. It is very important not to let your pet become overweight as this will have an impact on their general health and lifespan. Visit our article on overweight pets for more information
- Keeping your pet fit, healthy; every animal needs exercise. You can visit our article on keeping pets fit and healthy for some ideas but generally speaking,
- Dogs can be taken out for walks to ensure they get their exercise.
- Cats can usually be let outside, but if they are indoor cats, exercise can be encouraged with climbing towers, boxes and other play activities.
- Rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets should have access to an outside area, or a secure run, in which they can stretch their legs and have a run about in. Rabbits and ferrets will usually be happily to walk on a harness if trained while they are young.
- Rodents, other small mammals and birds should either have enough space in their cage for exercise or be allowed out into a safe space or enclosure for exercise.
- Providing suitable housing and bedding for your pet. Each pet will have its own specific requirements and it is advisable to research these properly to ensure you meet your pets individual needs. If you are keeping rodents, try to get the biggest cage that you can afford to ensure that they have plenty of space to exercise. Did you know that most illnesses and problems in reptiles occur because they are kept in the wrong environment? If you are keeping pet reptiles do your research and make sure that you have the correct type of lighting, heat sources and substrate for their needs.
- Providing environmental enrichment and mental stimulation for your pet. Life would be very boring if you were staring at the same 4 walls every day with nothing to do. Keep small pets happy by providing environmental enrichment such as toys, tunnels, hidey holes and ladders in their cages. Dogs and cats can stimulated by playing with toys, interacting with their owners, going for walks and doing some training (yes cats can be trained to do tricks too!)
- Cleaning up after your pet. It is important to keep your pets environment as clean as possible by cleaning up after them every day. If you have a dog you must pick up and dispose of any faeces while you are out on a walk.
- Protect your pet against parasites and disease Your pet may require regular parasite control to keep them free from worms, fleas and other parasites. Vaccination and good health care will also help to keep them free of disease. Dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets can all be vaccinated to prevent disease. Visit our article on Vaccination for more information.
- Neutering your dog, cat or rabbit. Neutering will prevent unwanted litters and help reduce the number of stray and unwanted animals in rescue centres. Neutering reduces the risk of your pet running away and can also help prevent hormone related behaviour problems in certain animals. visit our article on Neutering for more information.
- Ensuring that your pet is properly identified. Your dog should always wear an id tag in public places. Microchipping is a safe and permanent way to identify animals and it will become law to microchip your dog in 2015. Did you know that we can microchip most types of animal including rabbits, birds and reptiles? Some people even have their valuable fish microchipped. Visit our article on Microchipping for more information.
- Ensuring that your dog is sociable, well trained and under control in public places. If you own a dog you must make sure that he or she is not a danger to people or other animals in public places. Puppy socialisation and Dog training classes are very important and will help you to achieve this.
- Being financially responsible for your pet. Your pet is your responsibility and all pets cost money to look after especially if they become ill and need to see a vet. Pet insurance is available for dogs, cats, rabbits and exotic pets and is a great way to ensure that you can afford any unexpected veterinary fees if your pet becomes unwell. Before you take on or buy a pet, have a think about whether you can afford to look after it properly.
Castle Vets are offering free consultations with our veterinary nurses, by appointment, to discuss any aspect of your pets care and wellbeing. We also offer free consultations for people who would like to know more about owning a pet before they buy one.
For more information or advice please contact us.