If you follow these 10 helpful tips, you’ll be well on your way to being the very best pet parent possible.
1. Get pet insurance
This is a must! Ask anyone who has ever owned a pet in need of medical attention and they will tell you how vital pet insurance is. Vet bills are expensive, and you never know when something could happen to your pet that could cause them to pile up. You don’t want to find yourself in the horrible position of having to say goodbye to your beloved animal because you can’t afford the vet bill.
PD Insurance offers pet insurance that’s simple, affordable, flexible and will protect you against the unpredictable – with no lock-in contract. Plus, they offer a wellness package that covers all kinds of things for when your pet is well (boarding fees, vaccinations, desexing, microchipping etc). Click here to find out more and to get a quote (the first month is free if you buy online!).
2. Maintain a healthy diet
Once you’ve got your pet insurance plan in place, it doesn’t mean you should be complacent when it comes to your pet’s health. Obesity is one of the leading causes of pet diabetes, so keeping your pet on a healthy diet and at a healthy weight is essential to avoid your pet being diagnosed with the condition.
Ask your vet what and how much you should be feeding your pet, and stick to this at mealtimes.
With the holiday season upon us, don’t be tempted to sneak Christmas leftovers under the table. Many common Christmas foods are toxic to pets and should not be fed to them under any circumstances.
3. Know which foods and plants are toxic
On the subject of toxic foods, there are lots of food items that are common in human diets that should never be given to your pets. But it’s not just food that’s poisonous – there are plants that your fur babies need to steer clear of too.
You can find a helpful list of foods to avoid and plants to be aware of here.
4. Get your pet exercising
Giving your pet regular exercise will go a long way in preventing pet diabetes. With most COVID restrictions eased, there’s no excuse not to get out and about with the dog for a walk, run or game of fetch.
As for the cat, don’t forget to get some toys out for them to play with in between those many naps!
5. Be mindful of separation anxiety
As we spend more and more time back in the workplace rather than working from home, your pets will be susceptible to separation anxiety. But there are strategies to prevent your pets becoming distressed in your absence. Find out how to identify separation anxiety in your pets, and how to help them overcome it, here.
6. Find the right holiday accommodation
It’s important to find accommodation that your pet will be comfortable in when you have to leave them for a holiday. There are a number of options for your pets and they’ll respond differently to each depending on their personality.
If opting for a kennel or cattery, do some research and ask for recommendations to find a reputable place. It may pay to visit in advance to investigate the facilities and make sure it’s the right fit for your pet. Make sure your pet’s vaccinations and flea/worm treatments are current beforehand.
If you have a family member or friend who would like to look after your pet, ensure your animal already gets along with theirs beforehand. Tags, chips and documentation need to be up to date in case they run away.
Having someone come to your home to pet sit is another option. Choose your pet sitter wisely and ask them for references and a police clearance certificate.
If you have a particularly independent cat, you might consider a staycation where a neighbour or friend comes to feed them and check on them.
Find out more about how to find the right holiday pet care here.
7. Keep them safe and happy during road trips
If you choose to bring the pet on your summer holidays, it’s vital to know how to keep them calm in the car. In addition to ensuring they are safely secured in the vehicle, you should take steps to avoid stress and car sickness. You can find lots of helpful tips for car travel with pets here.
8. Beat the heat during summer
Hot days can be tough on our fluffy fur babies. Keep them cool by ensuring they have adequate shade and multiple sources of water, and avoid exercising them in the hottest parts of the day. You should bring your pets inside on very hot days, but remember – fans do not help pets stay cool as they don’t sweat like humans do, so don’t rely on fans to cool your pet down. Find out more about beating the heat here.
9. Consider adoption
If you are thinking of adding to the family in the new year, consider finding your new furry friend at a rescue centre. PD Insurance partners with HUHA (Helping You Help Animals), a charitable trust actively seeking homes and foster care for a multitude of homeless, abandoned, seized and abused animals. A portion of every PD Insurance premium sold is donated to HUHA.
10. Take your vet’s mental health into account
Vets are under enormous amounts of pressure, which often leads to burnout and struggles with mental wellbeing. In fact, small animal veterinarians are one of the most at-risk professions for suicide.
Some of the pressures they face include having to deal with euthanising pets or having them pass away while in their care, feeling guilty over having to turn away owners who can’t afford treatment, and juggling incredibly full days and long hours.
Distraught, rude or entitled pet owners can add to the stress, so bear that in mind and be kind to your vet! Having pet insurance is also important for alleviating the pressure on your vet. This will allow your vet to provide the most appropriate treatment without worrying about the financial pressure on you. The last thing you or your vet wants is to have to forgo treatment for your pet because you can’t afford it.
Learn more about how pet health affects vet health here.