More than half of Brits own a pet and there are so many benefits to having an animal in the family! Here are some titbits to ensure that your pet is at his or her happiest…
1. Taking time to decide which pet you get is vital. Responsible pet ownership is a big commitment. Consider your budget, space and lifestyle when deciding on a pet, not whichever animal is cutest. Rescue centres (such as Dogs Trust Surrey) not only have a huge variety of pets needing “forever homes” but offer advice on helping your pet settle in and their happy life beyond.
2. “Dogs are descended from wolves which are very social animals.” Bruce’s Doggy Day Care puts doggie wellbeing first, offering full-and half-day boarding, a puppy nursery, grooming and a Tiny Town for little dogs to mingle. www.brucesdoggydaycare.co.uk
3. Breeding animals on the basis of appearance can wreak havoc on their health. The charity PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is trying to combat irresponsible breeding, especially in light of recent “teacup” breeds, popularised on social media. Visit www.peta.org to find out more
4. Here some some fun facts about pets for you! Did you know, for example, cats have no facility for tasting sugar? Henry III of France used to have a basket of small dogs hanging around his neck. The bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in an American court. Queen Victoria won six prizes at Crufts in 1891 for her Pomeranian dogs, whereas Winston Churchill, Raymond Chandler and Samuel Johnson were all cat lovers.
5. Rabbits make great pets but are not an easy option! “A rabbit can live for eight years plus, up to four years longer if spayed or neutered,” says Sue Beckram of Pets Homes & Gardens in Cranleigh.“They need to socialise daily and can become listless and difficult to handle if neglected and need regular grooming.”
6. All dogs need regular exercise. Without daily walks, dogs get depressed, fat, poorly or bored, as curious canines love to sniff about socially. How much exercise your dog needs depends on its breed, age, fitness level and personality. Contact Kaz’s K9s and Equines on 07881 915815.
7. Should you insure your pet? The average pet insurance claim is £750, but claims can run into thousands if your pet develops an ongoing condition. If you’re unsure whether insurance is worthwhile, consider how you would deal with an unexpected bill. The easiest way to bag the best deal is to buy a lifetime policy when your pet is young. There might also be discounts for spaying/ neutering and microchipping your cat.
8. Birds can live to a ripe age. Larger species such as macaws and cockatoos can live for 35 up to 50 years. Tarbu, an African grey, lived to 55 and today’s oldest parrot is 82-year-old Cookie who lives at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
9. Raw and grain-free food can make a massive difference to your pet’s health and behaviour. Most experts agree grain-free and raw dog foods are the best choice as they are the closest equivalent to the natural diet their ancestors (wolves and wild cats) would have eaten.
10. Don’t think of fish as low-maintenance. A thriving aquarium needs consistent attention. Overfeeding is the biggest problem with fish because uneaten food pollutes your tank and inhibits filtration. All pets need dedicated care.
11. Take care of your pet’s teeth & gums! Just as with humans, a good oral care routine is a vital part of your pet’s health and wellbeing. The experienced team at Lynton Veterinary Group advise: “This can be aided by regular brushing, a good diet and, if necessary, scale & polish to prevent further issues. A neglected mouth can cause pets a lot of pain and discomfort and may lead to other serious health problems.”