New Years Pet-solutions
What will the New Year held for you and your family? Have you made your resolutions yet? If you haven’t or you fancy adding to them, please consider my humble suggestions! They will make yours, your pets, and my life, a LOT easier! (And there are only four of them!)
1. Choose wisely
So look, I realise you probably already have a pet and I really hope you are getting along great but if not, I implore you, think really, really carefully about what animal you should have before you rush out to buy one.
Obviously as a vet I am a big supporter of pet ownership (!) but every day I see people struggling with animals that are not suitable for them and their lifestyles.
You may like the look of a blue eyed ball of fluff that is a Husky puppy or maybe the kids watched a load of Disney movies over Christmas and are now demanding a Dalmatian (Thank goodness Frozen only featured a massive Reindeer!). However, both these breeds, and pretty much all dogs, will require space at home and for you to have time to walk them for at least an hour a day.
If you have your heart set on a dog, do your research beforehand! There are plenty of breeds that require less input. Greyhounds are an excellent choice for the lazy dog owner (yes really!).
For busy households a cat can be perfect or what about a couple of house rabbits? Both will be pleased to see you when you come home and, especially if you go for a more mature pet, (rescues have plenty of these!), they will be more than happy to curl up on the sofa and watch Corrie, rather than demanding a 3 mile walk in the rain!
Or how about combining a New Years resolution of ‘doing more for the community’ and also getting to spend time with animals? The Cinnamon Trust are a fantastic charity and always need volunteers!
2. Prevent, don’t repent!
I know it’s boring thinking about fleas, worms, vaccines and stuff like that for pets and it can seem like a rubbish way to have to spend your cash but, honestly, it is important!
There are so many ways to deal with parasites, there really is no excuse. You can chose from spot-ons, collars, tablets, powders or liquids and they don’t have to cost a lot. Much less, in fact, than dealing with the aftermath of an infestation!
Annual vaccines too are vital, not to mention your pet will also receive a yearly check-up, when an awful lot of diseases and illnesses are diagnosed and dealt with.
3. Deal with Doggy Breath
Do me a favour and resolve to look occasionally in your pet’s mouths, not just the front teeth but the ones at the very back as well. Do it regularly and if you see they are dirty, do something about it.
Tartarous teeth are smelly and unpleasant for us when our animals give us kisses but for them they are much worse; painful and harbouring infections that damage not just the teeth but the rest of the body as well.
A massive number of pets have dental issues (at least a third over the age of just three years old) but unless we actually look in their mouths, it is difficult to know, as pets are very good at hiding their discomfort.
Just like with fleas and worms, there are loads of ways to keep teeth clean; brushing, chews, biscuits, toothpastes and mouthwashes. All MUCH cheaper than paying for dental work with me! Not to mention you will save your pet YEARS of pain and infection.
4. Hope for the best… but plan for the worst!
The bottom line is pets are pretty expensive. From buying them in the first place to their general upkeep, they are going to cost you money. Most people realise this but not nearly as many are prepared for larger expenses like big vet bills.
I cannot tell you the heartbreak I have seen time and time again when a pet develops a condition that their owners cannot afford to pay for. I do my best but these bills need to be paid and if they cannot, then euthanasia is often the only option.
I honestly don’t care how you plan ahead; take out insurance (policies just offering cover for single, expensive incidents are really not that costly), start a savings account, keep a credit card free just in case. Just have a plan, please!
I wish you, and all your pets a healthy and happy year ahead!!