We all know that having pets can improve our physical and mental health, but did you realise there are many simple changes that you can make in return to improve the life of your pet?
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to start afresh and make some simple changes that will not only make you and your furry friends happier and healthier, but they might even save you some money too.
Here are eight simple changes that you can make to help ensure this is your pet’s healthiest year ever!
1. Restrict Your Pet’s Food
With an estimated 50% of all our pets overweight, it’s probably not just the constant hand feeding of titbits of human food that contribute to your pet’s weight gain. Portion sizes of pet food also need to be accurately measured, and a simple measuring cup is often all it takes to get the portion size right.
Owners often accidentally overfeed their pet out of love, but unfortunately overfeeding of pets is a contributing factor to many of the health problems I see on a daily basis as a vet. For chronic health conditions such as arthritis, excess weight is a big contributing factor (excuse the pun)!
2. Save Up for Emergencies or Take Out Pet Health Insurance
Think of it as ‘superannuation’ for your pet. Whether you decide to choose the ‘self-managed pet fund’ option (ie put money aside in a separate savings account) or take out the more traditional pet health insurance, your pet and your back pocket will both thank you as your pet’s medical needs increase with age…
…or it the unexpected happens.
3. Ensure Your Pet’s Microchip Details are Up to Date
As my recent blog about Leo the very lucky stray cat illustrates, if your pet’s registration details are up to date you’ll give them the best chance possible of making their way home safely if they ever become lost.
If any of your contact details have changed and you’re unsure whether you’ve updated your pet’s microchip details or not, a quick call to your local council is all it takes to ensure their details are correct.
4. Stimulate Your Pet
Does your dog bark when you’re not at home, chew furniture or dig up your backyard? Perhaps your cat continually scratches your furniture? Many pet behavioural problems are caused by not having enough mental stimulation and interaction with other pets or people.
Whether you decide to take your dog to the off-leash park, teach them a new trick, walk them on a new route with new smells and sights, or just spend time playing with your cat, a small investment of your time can reap a marked improvement in your pet’s behaviour.
5. Regularly Worm Your Pet and Treat for Ticks and Fleas
There are many options on the market today for worming, tick and flea control, and our online Vetaround Shop carries a wide range of brands that can be delivered to your door.
Checking your pet for fleas and ticks daily also gives you both a chance to connect physically.
6. Simply Spend Time With Your Pet
Go for a walk with your dog, brush your cat, play games together, or simply lie together and stroke your pet.
Not only does your pet love spending time with you, but research has shown it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, whilst exercising your pet keeps you fit and healthy too.
7. Visit the Vet
Perhaps the most important habit you can develop is taking your pet to a vet for their annual check-up.
Can’t get to the vet or your pet gets too stressed when visiting a veterinary surgery? A mobile vet can come to you and do a thorough check-up…and we can even send you a reminder when your pet’s next check-up is due.
So why wait? The start of a new year is a great time to develop new habits and you’ll be amazed at the impact a few simple changes can make to both you and your pet.