The festive season may be a dim and distant memory and January’s resolve may be weakening but February is a great time to focus on getting your New Year’s resolutions back on track – especially when it comes to your pets and helping keep them happy and healthy all year round. If you’re stuck for inspiration, we’ve put together a handy set of resolutions especially for pet owners, to get you started!
This post is the first in a series of year-round healthcare advice we will be sharing as we gear up to launch our new campaign later in the year, so watch this space for more info. If you’d like to get involved in helping us develop this content, or if you have an idea for a future post, drop us a note firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Plan and prepare
Start the year with a plan – make a list of when your pet’s vaccinations and key healthcare treatments for the year– such as booster vaccinations, worming and de-fleaing treatments - are due. That way you’ll have all the info you need close-at-hand and taking great care of your pet will become that little bit easier. For more information on vaccinations and regular healthcare treatments, don’t forget to take a look at our vaccinations post.
2. Focus on diet
It’s not just humans who can benefit from paying close attention to their diets at this time of year – our pets’ diets are just as important all year round. One of the Five Welfare Needs for pets, set out in the Animal Welfare Act, is access to proper food and water. The right diet for your pet will vary according to the type of animal, the pet’s age, weight, general health and many other factors, so always seek expert advice from your vet or a pet professional to make sure you’re feeding your pet the most nutritious and beneficial foods all year round. You can find more advice here.
3. Make time for play
Just like their owners, pets need plenty of time to let off steam and stay in touch with their playful side. Make sure that whatever type of pet you own, he or she has plenty of room to play and indulge in its normal behaviour depending on the type of animal. For example, if you have a dog, make sure he or she has access to plenty of space to exercise in the fresh air. For more information on physical and mental stimulation for dogs, take a look at our dog health post.
4. Get your house in order
It’s vitally important for your pet that their home is the right one. Make sure that whatever type of pet you own, he or she is living in the right type of home, with somewhere comfortable to rest and hide, the right type of shelter, as well as the appropriate space to exercise. The right kind of shelter is especially important in the winter months, particularly for smaller pets so take a look at our advice here.
5. Talk to the experts
It’s likely that your pet’s healthcare needs will change throughout the year. As well as making sure that you’re helping prevent your pet from becoming sick by ensuring that vaccinations and regular treatments are up-to-date, seek regular expert advice from your vet or a pet professional as additional healthcare needs arise.
PDSA vet, Vicki Larkham-Jones, adds: “Vets are not just there for when your pet is sick or injured – we’re always on hand to give you help and advice about all aspects of keeping your pet happy and healthy. Your pet’s needs change throughout their life and regular check-ups with your vet are a great opportunity to discuss this, along with any changes to their health. Your vet can advise you on everything from the best preventive products available to protect your pet, to how much they should be eating.
“The latest PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report – the most comprehensive annual insight into UK pet welfare – revealed that around three million pets are not registered with a vet, with 43% of owners stating it’s because they can just turn up if necessary. It’s always recommended to register your pet with a vet, as getting to know your local practice will mean that should the need arise to visit, or if there is an emergency situation, it will be as stress-free as possible.”
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