National Pet Month began on the 1st April this year and will run through until 7th May. Up and down the UK, a whole host of organisations have been taking part in the campaign and are continuing to do so.
Now in its 27th year, National Pet Month is a registered UK charity that brings together businesses, schools, youth groups and other professional bodies, all for the purposes of pet welfare. They aim to celebrate and raise awareness of:
- Responsible pet ownership
- How pets benefit and enrich their owners’ lives
- The role pet care specialists play
- Companion assistance animals and the value of working with them
This year, National Pet Month is coordinated by the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) and the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA). The events include open days, dog walks, children’s activities, cake sales and even village pet shows. If you’d like to get involved, click here to find out how.
Responsible Pet Ownership:
When it comes to responsible pet ownership, here are some important factors to consider:
Has your pet been microchipped?
Microchipping is now a legal requirement for dogs, but it’s also ideal for cats as they too can wander off a little too far now and again. Your chances of reuniting with your pet are much greater if they’ve been microchipped. The device is tiny (about the size of a grain of rice) and administration is almost pain-free – just like a big injection. Your pet’s contact information may be stored at your vets for their use, but will always be linked to a central database, meaning that if they’re found anywhere in the country, they can easily be reunited with you once they’ve been scanned (a painless process).
If you relocate, do remember to contact the central database and change your contact details.
Are their preventative vaccines up to date?
Thanks to frequent administration of vaccination programmes, several nasty and potentially life-threatening diseases are now rare in the UK. To keep your pets protected, follow the vaccine protocol issued by your vet. This will include a plan on when to return for revaccinations/boosters, the frequency of which varies according to the disease they’re protecting your pet from – some are needed every year, others could be every three years.
Are they neutered?
Unless you plan to have a litter, we strongly recommend neutering your pets. You won’t have to worry about dealing with an unexpected litter, sexually aggressive behaviour (or your pet running away from you) and several diseases. On a larger scale, neutering helps to prevent the spread of genetic defects in many breeds.
Are you administering their medicine responsibly?
If your pet requires a repeat prescription of any kind, it’s your responsibility to make sure they receive the correct dose at the correct time, that there isn’t a gap or delay with their treatment in any way and that you book aftercare appointments/check-ups with the vet as and when appropriate.
Are they insured?
Even the healthiest and least adventurous pets can suffer accidents and sometimes the costs for certain emergency (and necessary) treatments can be incredibly high. If your pet is insured, your provider will be able to help with treatment costs – if not cover them completely. An insurance policy therefore provides peace of mind; it may well save your pet’s life and after all, it’s always better when someone else pays your vet bills, right?
Are you aware of the season?
Is it hot outside? Is there an event going on which might bring about noises, Bonfire Night for example? Are you having a party?
We assume you’ll have chosen your species and breed of pet based on your lifestyle and what you’re best suited to, but make sure you take these extra measures to keep your pets comfortable during external events/incidents. A safe refuge is often the key – every pet deserves somewhere to retreat to when they don’t feel like company.
Their day-to-day health?
Are you feeding your pets the right foods and steering clear of the wrong ones? Are their portions the correct size? How about exercise? Do your rabbits have space to roam? How much exercise does your dog need? These are all important factors to consider when it comes to responsible pet ownership.
Rabbits and rats are companion animals, meaning they feel far more comfortable living with a companion of the same species. With other animals, the opposite can be true. If you work long hours or are not home much, it can be worth having two pets so they can accompany each other.
If you do only have one pet, how about a puzzle feeder? This will keep them entertained as well as nourished. You don’t always have to get out your purse either, puzzle feeders are easy enough to make using spare cardboard and a few pet treats!
To mentally stimulate your dogs, try scattering a handful of their kibble across a lawn or suitable area so they have to rummage and sniff around to find it.
Are you looking to buy your first ever pet? Alongside all of the above, be sure you source your species of choice wisely and that you buy from a breeder who is responsible and legitimate. Because poor or illegal breeders can sometimes be tricky to recognise, here are some tell-tale signs of a genuine breeder:
- They have a fixed address and are happy to invite you inside
- They don’t rush you into a spontaneous purchase
- In the case of puppies, they’ve had them microchipped once they’re over 8 weeks’ old (which they must do by law)
- They’re happy for you to visit on several occasions, to answer your questions and to provide you with proof that all essential vaccinations and other treatments have been administered
So without further ado … Happy Rest-Of National Pet Month! As ever, contact us if we can be of any assistance.
Are you up to anything for NPM? If so, let us know!