New Years Resolutions
- Make a note in your new diary of the important healthcare dates for your pet such as his or her booster vaccination date and parasite treatment application reminders.
- Speak to your veterinary nurse about on-going preventative health care such as safe and effective flea and worming treatments. Buy the treatments in advance so that they are ready for use when your pet needs them. We now offer free text reminders for flea and worm treatments, so let us know if you would like to opt in.
- Weigh your pet regularly to ensure that you are feeding the right amount of food, you are giving the right dose of flea or worming product and that your pet is not becoming overweight.
- Get into the habit of checking your pet’s mouth regularly. Your pet’s teeth should be nice and clean with little or no plaque on them and healthy gums should be pale pink. Our veterinary nurses offer free dental checks and can advise you about caring for your pet’s teeth and gums with daily brushing.
- Find time each day to interact with and play with your pet. Grooming or stroking your pet is a great way of bonding and it also allows you to check for any lumps or bumps that may have appeared. Play is very important for pets and new toys don’t have to be expensive. You can use home-made items such as paper balls and kitchen roll tubes filled with a few treats for cats and small furries. For dogs, hide and seek games with people, toys or treats always go down well.
- Enrol your cat, dog or rabbit into the Castle Vet’s Pet Health Club and ensure they receive the best healthcare on time every time. You can make substantial savings on your pet care and each new member will receive a £10 voucher. For the full range of member benefits and prices visit our website or telephone the practice.
- Give your pet the opportunity for exercise and mental stimulation.
We all know that exercise and mental stimulation are good for us; they can help us maintain a healthy weight, give us energy, keep joints flexible, make us feel better and help us to live longer. The same is true for our pets, so make sure that you give your pet the opportunity to stay fit and healthy.
Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Ferrets can be encouraged to exercise and forage for tasty food quite easily by hiding tasty treats around their hutch and exercise area. Tasty treats and veggies can be suspended from the top of the hutch or enclosure to provide tasty and stimulating entertainment (this should be done under supervision to ensure your pet doesn’t get tangled in any string). Plastic tubing and cardboard boxes can be used to provide stimulation and encourage exploration and play. Many of these pets will also enjoy walking on a harness if you introduce it slowly and carefully, but be mindful of other animals that may be around such as cats and dogs.
Rodents and other small furries can be encouraged to exercise using wheels or exercise balls, where appropriate. You can also provide small cardboard boxes or tubes for them to climb in and out of or chew and treats can be hidden around their cage to encourage exploration. You could also invest in some plastic tubing to run around the outside of their cage to allow more space for exercise. Remember that rodents such as rats are highly intelligent and can be taught many simple tricks, using food rewards, that will keep you and them entertained.
Dogs can be great fun to exercise and their enthusiasm will encourage you to be more active too. Exercise for your canine companion will greatly depend on what you and he can cope with, but can be anything from leisurely walks in the park or around the block, to racing after a ball or a frisbee and playing with other dogs. If your dog isn’t used to lots of exercise, build up slowly over a few days to avoid any health problems or injuries. It is a good idea to warm up your dog’s muscles properly, with at least 10-15 minutes on-lead walking, before allowing him or her to race about. For extra mental stimulation and boredom prevention, try changing your walking route occasionally to keep things varied and interesting for your dog. If you can’t get outside with your dog a 10-15 minute training session, teaching a new trick or improving an old one is really good mental stimulation for your dog.
Other than walking there are plenty of other activities you can get involved in to improve your dogs fitness including swimming, agility classes, obedience training, rally O and heel work to music.
Cats can take laziness to dizzying heights; snoozing in the afternoon sun, taking cat naps after strenuous activity such as visiting the food bowl or the litter tray, and helping you watch the telly while curled up on your lap. There are plenty of things you can do to encourage your feline friend to exercise, but remember cats prefer short, frequent periods of activity, usually limited to 5 minute bursts. Good cat toys include empty cardboard boxes (some with cat-sized holes and some without) to encourage play and exploration or some paper bags with treats inside. Climbing towers and scratch posts can be made at home or purchased from pet shops and cats love to be up in high places, so even providing access to a shelf or the top of a cupboard can help them achieve this. Dangling toys attached to string or ribbon and batting toys, such as rolled up paper and ping-pong type balls, also work really well and can encourage even the laziest cat into activity. You can also train your cat to perform tricks if your cat is willing and you can find the right food motivation.
Agility clubs This website has information about agility and lists of local clubs
Pets In Practise Our local dog training club offers dog training, kennel club good citizen scheme, and Rally classes
The Kennel Club Offer lots of information on dog related activities
Cat Clicker Training A good article on training your cat
Cat Entertainment How to make a box tower for your cat
The Hay Experts Some ideas on activities and equipment for small pets