The month of January is filled with self-reflection and great expectations for the year ahead. You’ve probably already indulged in setting your own personal targets and goals for 2019, but between all our commitments and responsibilities, we understand that it can be easy to lose track of what’s going on in our pet’s lives day to day.
As the start of a year can signal a fresh start for your pets, as well as you, we’ve put together a list of 6 New Year’s resolutions that will help you be a better pet parent in 2019:
1. Keep your data up to date
All dogs now have to be microchipped, but at least 30% of owners have changed address or telephone number and not bothered to keep the data controllers informed. You paid for the chip, why run the risk of losing your dog as a result of a small oversight?
All animals can be microchipped. Cats in particular are neglected and as a result, thousands end up in rescue centres whilst their frantic owners search fruitlessly for them.
Give yourself complete peace of mind, and possibly saving the life of your pet, by having this tiny device implanted painlessly under the skin.
2. Watch the spare tyre
The ideal body condition score for your pet is listed below as ‘3’ on the Hill’s chart, which means that when you place your fingers on their ribcage and gently move the skin backwards and forwards, you should be able to feel each individual rib underneath, with a very thin layer of muscle over them.
If the ribs stand out, then your pet is too thin, but most are actually overweight and it is difficult to feel the ribs at all!
The abdomen of your pet should be a little thinner than the chest – and it’s no good sucking it in when others are watching, too! Being the correct body condition score can add a number of years to your pet’s life and can even help prevent arthritis and ligament damage, diabetes, liver failure, heart conditions and a host of other complications.
If in doubt, our trained veterinarians and nurses at our practices are able to offer comment and advice.
3. Ignore the feeding recommendations on the bag
It is impossible for any manufacturer of pet food to list all the different breeds, sexes and individual levels of activity and then give the amount of food they need!
The only one who can tell you just how much food to give is your pet themselves. Slightly overweight means they’re receiving too much, and slightly underweight suggests that they need more. Body condition score for your pet is incredibly important and monitoring their weight on a scale will help you keep things stable.
4. Check your smile
Dental hygiene is the most neglected aspect of pet care. It is not a natural thing to open your dog or cat’s mouth to see the condition of their pearly whites and most owners are shocked when shown the condition of the teeth!
A brown crust at the base of the tooth is the tip of an iceberg. This microscopic honeycomb harbours billions of harmful bacteria and the scale extends below the gum line, pushing between tooth and gum, causing periodontitis. The bacteria invades the body and causes significant damage to a lot of organs, and in particular to the kidneys. It’s not unusual for older animals to die from kidney failure, partially brought on by dental decay.
5. Get your MOT done
Just as a qualified mechanic can see the wear and tear this is not initially visible through the shiny paintwork of the bonnet, so can the vet pick-up signs of impending problems.
An annual exam for a pet is the same as visiting your Doctor only once every 7 years! On average, pets have 2.5 problems when examined. Most of them can be corrected very simply, whereas ignoring them invites disaster.
Your pet’s annual examination is a good time for your vet to give the essential core vaccinations that are required – some annually, others only every 3 years, and some only in special circumstances.
6. Stop the wrigglies
Playgrounds for children are infested with worm eggs from pets – every dog or cat has them! However, most are not serious for healthy people or healthy pets, but the very young or ill individual may be vulnerable and as a result suffer severe complications, including damage to the eyes.
Very few worms can be seen without a microscope and the dangerous ones cannot be seen in faeces . Only their microscopic eggs are passed.
Quarterly worming will reduce the numbers of most worms apart from lungworm. Monthly worming, with an effective product, will prevent worms completely. There are only two wormers that control lungworm.
If you wish to enquire further about dietary advice for your pet or would like to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Tiptree Veterinary Centre – 01621 818282
London Road Veterinary Centre – 01206 544918