Resolutions for pets Print E-mail
News - Rubrieke
Tuesday, 28 January 2020 14:00
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I’m back from a three week break with friends in the countryside in Scotland. No news of Eskom, rolling blackouts, state capture, downgrading to junk status and no bullying, bad irresponsible driving.

So, I’m back refreshed and full of New Year’s resolutions. My main one being to stop working myself up about things I can’t change and try to just get on and get the things I can change done. This is advice we can all take, I think.

Sometimes the venting or stressing is just not worth the energy. Rather sit down, see what needs to be done around you and start doing it. Like the question, how do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.

So let’s apply this to our pets:
Make sure they are identified with ID tags and a microchip. The two main microchip brands in SA are Backhome by Virbac and Identipet. Both of them offer amazing apps and websites where messages about lost dogs can be posted to other pet owners in your area. Microchipping is a permanent method. If the collar is lost, the chip endures.

Try for the best insurance you can. I have already spoken about low-cost accident cover if your finances don’t stretch to full pet insurance, but remember this will not cover chronic illness.

Read the small print before you decide. One Plan has R8 000 accident cover for R55 a month, a really valuable offer in my opinion. Plan ahead. See if your home insurance covers pet accidents. Some do.

Get systems in place to make sure your pets are vaccinated, sterilised and insured. Ignorance is no excuse. Information is so freely available on the internet that you can research “What to do for a new puppy” in an instant, yet so many people still buy a dog with no idea of what the management protocol for disease and health is.

You are what you eat. Try to feed the best food you can afford. Look at protein levels, but also protein sources. A 20 kg bag of food for R250 cannot have much good quality protein in it if you look at the price of meat. Dogs cannot digest poor quality protein. It goes straight through the digestive system. Another thing lacking in cheaper foods are trace elements and minerals and oils and fat. Omega 3 oils are essential for health and are expensive.

It is a fact that obesity shortens the lifespan of dogs and cats and predisposes to chronic diseases, such as arthritis, breathing problems and diabetes. Feeding does not equate with love. If your pets are fat, it is because you feed them too much. They cannot open the fridge or use the can opener. 

Prescriptions diets are the best way to lose weight. Bite the bullet, pay the extra and use a proper diet food. They reset the hormones to decrease hunger, they change the way the body metabolises carbohydrates and fat and they also show you a result more rapidly with weight loss of fat and not loss of muscle. Average loss is about 1% bodyweight per week with recommended weight reached in five to six months.

Exercise is healthy for the body and the mind, for you and your dog.

Pet-proof your home. So many emergencies can be avoided. Don’t put rat poison out. If you do, use bait boxes. Make sure all your plant poisons and fertilisers are out of reach. Know which plants and foods are toxic. Multiple sites list these on the internet for cats and dogs because sometimes it is a species-specific sensitivity.

Make sure your garden is properly enclosed. With thunderstorms pets may often try to escape. Make sure your pet cannot injure itself on spikes on your gates or fences. The low spikes on fences should be safety-proofed. They serve no real barrier to any half-determined burglar. Cap then or blunt them.

Every week we see dogs whose front legs or feet are cut with these spikes. 

Find your nearest emergency vet clinic. In a crisis you don’t have time to start googling and looking to see which vet is open after hours.

Start a little emergency fund for your pet. If you don’t use it, you can consider it as an investment.

Even with a pet medical aid you need to pay the vet and then the medical aid pays you out. You need to have a bit of readily available cash for emergencies.

Now sit back and enjoy the relaxation that follows after sorting all this out and having a happy healthy pet you can look after to the best of your ability.

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