Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goldfish; we love our pets. But every now and then we need a refresher on how to take care of them. As vets, it’s our job to make sure your four-legged, furry and feathered friends are healthy, but there are a few extra things at home you can do.
These little guys should be as free as, well, a bird. They aren’t made for being in cages all day so make sure you give them time to exercise. Birds aren’t solitary creatures either, they quite like the company of their own kind as well as humans. Give them a bird bath or mist them over with a spray bottle as this helps them preen.
Ask us about the best type of feed for your bird; they can’t survive on seeds alone. Bird cages must be cleaned daily, especially the newspaper that collects the droppings. This is important to the pet’s overall health.
These guys love high-rise views so expect them to jump up on the couches and window ledges, and to sit at the top of the stairs. They also love grooming themselves so it’s wise to invest in a sturdy brush. Give them a comb a couple of times a week to keep their coat shiny and get rid of excess hair. This equals fewer furballs for you to vacuum up later.
Health-wise cats need a lot of protein in their diets that comes from meat and meaty bones. Pet mince never fails, but don’t rely on giving your cat dry food. They need a balanced diet. Change out their water every day. If you’ve adopted a kitten, they require a special formula several times a day to stay healthy.
You see the dogs walking around in puffer jackets that are probably nicer than the average human’s? Sometimes they do need the extra help to stay warm due to their small size, lack of body fat and thin fur. It’s not unreasonable to get some extra blankets and other winter warmers come the cooler months.
A dog’s skin is just as vulnerable as a human’s, and they get dry skin, dandruff, and other irritations that can turn to something more. Book an appointment with the vet if they don’t stop scratching and nibbling or if they start to smell.
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Adopting a pet into your family is a big adjustment, even if you’ve had one before. It’s fun to daydream about walks, cuddles and sleeping with your dog on the bed but there are some practicalities you cannot ignore.
Your pets will get sick and need to go to the vet from time to time; their immune systems aren’t invincible, after all. There’s also the issue of desexing, vaccinations, and regular checkups. You can also pay for pet insurance. You will invest a lot of money in your pet during its lifetime, so be prepared. Our vets will give your companion the care it needs.
Dogs need their walks, so if you’re only looking for a pet to keep you company around the house you’re better suited for a cat. Birds need to be let out of their cage and fly around for both their mental and physical health.
- The House
Is your house ready for pets? Cats enjoy high places and dogs need grass to play on. Go online or speak to one of our vets about the kind of pet that’s best for your current living situation.
Before you bring the new addition home, go through the house and make sure it’s pet-ready. You might need to install a safety gate if you don’t want the animals upstairs. If you’re getting a bird, invest in a large cage, put it in a warm, sunny spot and stock up on newspapers to line the bottom. If you’re bringing home a cat, get a litter box with a couple of bags of kitty litter, food and water bowls, toys, and a scratching post. Dogs will need toys, a bed, some blankets for the cooler months, and a leash for when it’s walk time.
- The Kids
Kids can get bored easily and will slack off in caring for the pet if you aren’t careful. Playing with the cat or dog isn’t enough; this is a chance to give them important jobs to show them a pet needs to be given love and care, just like a human.
If they’re old enough, involve the younger ones in walks and feeding time. Get them to wash the dog or brush the cat.
- The Feelings
Animals are more intelligent than you believe. They pick up on the emotions of their owners and the environment around them. This means if you’re stressed, excited, happy, or sad they will be too.
Adopting a pet is a serious business that needs to be thought through carefully and discussed with the family. Who will be able to give it the love and care it needs? Will a pet positively impact the home or should you wait a few years?
It was a dark and stormy night in mid-August……no, wait, that’s another story.
One evening in mid August, not long before closing time, we received a call from a member of the public who had found a stray dog and wanted to bring him down so we could scan him for a microchip and perhaps locate his owner.
When they arrived, the dog (a Shih Tzu cross) was scanned and did have a microchip. Given the time, we couldn’t contact the council rangers to collect him so our vet looked up his details on the Companion Animal Register. He was registered but the contact number was one that blocked incoming calls. I sent a text message in the hope that would get through and also sent an email to the address on the CAR. No text came back in response by the time we closed and left for the night, so he had to stay in the clinic overnight to be collected by the council rangers the next day.
When our morning receptionist arrived the next day we had received a response to the email. The lady sounded very excited and surprised. She then called us to let us know she would be coming to pick him up and said that he had been missing for two years!!! The dog (whose name is “QQ”) had obviously been looked after by somebody during that time as he was in good condition. At least he hadn’t been roaming the streets for two years.
Later that day, a lady walked through the door and I didn’t even need to ask why she was there. She was literally vibrating with excitement. As I went out the dog room to get him, I wondered how he would respond to his owner, given that so much time had passed since they last saw each other.
When I led him out to the waiting area, the lady had squatted down and he walked up to her. He didn’t do anything for a few seconds and then he stood up on his back legs and excitedly started licking her face. He very obviously recognised her. Such a great moment. The lady was crying and if a client hadn’t walked in right at that moment, I would have been having a cry with with her.
The lesson to be taken from this story is the importance of microchipping your pet so if they go missing, they can be reunited with you (hopefully it wouldn’t take two years to happen). It also highlights the importance of making sure any changes to your contact details are updated on the Companion Animal Register.
Toni our Receptionist was thrilled to be able to write this good news post
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29 Grosvenor Crescent
Summer Hill NSW 2130
(corner of Sloane St & Grosvenor Cres,
on the Nth side of the line at Summer Hill station)
Mon: 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM
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Wed: 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM
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