October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month, prompting both pet owners and those who work in the sector to think about the varied ways in which we need to keep our pets safe and healthy. It is also Pet Obesity Awareness Day on 13th October; a reminder that it can be more cruel than kind to spoil your pet with too many treats or empty calories.
As the cost of living continues to escalate, it can be tempting to cut corners on the steps they need to take to keep pets healthy and safe, but we have a responsibility to care for the cats and dogs that bring us so much joy and affection.
Here are just some of the ways in which we can keep our cats and dogs safe and healthy.
Complete & balanced nutrition
Just like humans, cats and dogs need a good diet to keep them healthy. Nutrition plays a significant role in a pet’s health throughout their life, from taking care of their delicate tummy as a puppy or kitten, through to maintaining good heart and joint health as they enjoy their later years.
It is easy to compromise your pet’s health by giving them too many treats or substituting specially formulated pet food with leftovers from your own plate. Either or these is fine occasionally, but your pet will be healthiest when fed pet food that has been especially formulated to provide complete and balanced nutrition, with the right mix of vitamins, minerals and protein.
And if your pet has any special dietary needs, such as allergies, for example, it’s worth shopping around to find suitable formulations, such as grain-free or single source protein recipes.
While there is an array of premium pet foods available for pampered pets, it’s also worth knowing that you don’t have to spend the earth to keep your pet healthy. Often people assume that raw food diets will be the best choice for their pet, but this is often not the case because pet foods have been specially formulated to deliver the correct nutrition for cats and dogs.
At C&D Foods, we work closely with retailers and brands to ensure they can offer their customers a range of pet foods that suit different dietary requirements for cats and dogs at a varied range of price points. While the premium ranges we create enable customers to select the very best foods for their cats and dogs, all the products we manufacture – across our canned, alu try, pouch, sausage and dry food capabilities – support excellent cat and dog health with quality ingredients in recipes formulated by the specialist nutritionists on our R&D team.
Prevention is always better than cure, for both your pet and your purse, so it’s important to keep up to date with your pet’s routine vaccinations and worm and flea treatments.
Vets will usually send out reminders when vaccinations are due and it’s much better to have these done on time, because delays could leave your pet unprotected and lead to added expense when you do want to catch up.
For worm and flea treatments, a subscription service that provides monthly deliveries is both convenient and cost-effective, providing a useful reminder to keep your pet’s protection topped up.
If your pet becomes ill or has an accident, vet bills can soon mount up, particularly if tests and investigations are required. For this reason, most people choose to protect their cats and dogs with pet insurance. It’s important to be honest about the age of your cat or dog and any pre-existing conditions when you take out pet insurance, because you may not be covered if there are any inaccuracies in the information you have provided. It may be possible to save money on your premium by buying it from a provider you already use for other policies. However, there are a number of companies that specialise specifically in pet insurance and some even offer an online vet consultation service.
Lost and found
It is not unusual for cats to wander, but dogs need to have a secure environment that protects them from the traffic and from dog theft, which is an increasing problem, particularly for rare and expensive breeds.
Whether you have a dog or a cat, it’s important to have them microchipped and to have your contact details on their collar so that they can be safely returned to you if they do go missing. Even a well trained dog can be spooked and bolt when they are off-lead, and cats can wander a long way from home, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
A safe environment
Most people will ‘puppy-proof’ or ‘kitten proof’ their home when their pet first arrives, but pet owners can become less vigilant over time, which raises the risk of accidents. The most common hazard is poisoning, particularly for dogs, who are natural scavengers and may eat things that are lying around – whether it’s food or not!
The most common poisoning hazards for dogs are chocolate and grapes (in all forms, including raisins and currants), and it’s important to consult a vet if you know your dog has eaten these foods. It’s also vital to keep medications out of your pets’ reach, because both prescription drugs and over the counter remedies can be harmful to pets. Other common poisons include the sweetener Xylitol, rodent and garden pest poisons, and household cleaning products.
Fit and healthy
Both cats and dogs need plenty of exercise to stay healthy. While a cat will pick and choose when it wants to go for a walk, a dog is reliant on its owner to take responsibility for providing plenty of exercise.
Alongside physical exercise, it’s important to remember that your pet also needs mental stimulation to stay fit and healthy. They want to interact with you, and spending time with your pet will not only exercise their brain, it will also give them a sense of security that is important for their wellbeing too.
Our pets are the furry members of our families and, in return for the love they give us, we have a responsibility to provide them with the same care and respect we would give to the rest of the family. Keeping on top of their safety and wellbeing ensures a happy, healthy cat or dog throughout their life.