All loving cat and dog owners want to keep their pets safe, as they would any other member of their family. The world today is choke-full of risks and hazards waiting to harm your pet, many of which we may not be aware of.
With 25 million cats and dogs in Australia it is no wonder that many of these curious animals who love to explore the outdoors end up lost if they go walkabout – for anyone who has experienced this, you will know it can be extremely stressful and scary.
Make sure you have a good photo
A dog, for instance, may dig or jump out of a fenced yard, run out of an open door or slip out of a leash. Other times, your dog may just get stolen. One great way to prepare for such instances is to have a photo of your pet. You may have hundreds of photos, but make sure you have a photo that is readily accessible and clearly shows your pet’s characteristics. This way, in case your pet ever gets lost, you can make a “lost pet” poster. The photo will also be helpful in proving that you are their owner in case they get stolen.
Invest in a high-quality Pet ID tag
When a dog or cat is found wandering the streets without their owner in sight, the first thing anyone who sees them does is check for their ID tag to get the owner’s contact information. Hence, it is crucial that you have a good quality pet ID tag on your dog or cat’s collar for safety purposes. Make sure the contact details on the tag are up to date with your current phone number on the tag to allow rescuers to contact you directly. If you go on holiday and your dog or cat are in the care of others, it is worthwhile to invest in a second tag with the carer’s details – as this could be the time that they are most inclined to go walkabout and get lost.
Microchip your pet
Make sure your pet is microchipped and the details are up to date and correct. This way if your lost pet finds its way to a vet, they will be able to contact you. Find out more about microchips here.
Conduct regular wellness exams as a preventative measure
Some pet illnesses are much easier to avoid than to cure, and it’s much better to nip them in the bud. Hence, it is crucial that you take your dog or cat to the vet for annual or bi-annual checkups. These routine checkups are not always about vaccines. The vet will examine your pet for any signs of health issues that are just beginning to ensure they get all the necessary treatment before they get sick. To help with the vet's bills, consider investing in pet insurance.
Store garden supplies away from your pet
During the warmer months of the year, people tend to keep a stash of bug spray, sunscreen and gardening supplies nearby. Always remember that these chemicals can be harmful to your pet. Ingestion of any of these chemicals can cause drooling, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and excessive thirst in your pet. Never store your gardening supplies in an area that is accessible to your pet. Also, restrict yard access after applying gardening products
Never leave your pet, especially a dog, unattended outside
It is tempting to take your dog for a walk and run a few errands at the same time. However, you shouldn’t do chores that require you to leave your pet outside unattended. Doing this only increases the risk of the dog getting stolen or escaping and getting lost.
Beware of parasites
To protect your beloved pet against the pesky parasite that threatens their health and happiness, you need to be proactive about taking all the necessary precaution. Parasites like fleas, ticks and heartworm cause havoc on a pet’s life, bringing with them sickness and disease to your entire household. Ticks of course, can even be deadly. That is why you need to give your pet year-round preventative treatments to provide the required protection against these parasites.
While most people think that they need to be less careful about staying hydrated during the colder months of winter, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Even during winter, your pet needs to stay hydrated at all times. Do not take your pet out for a run in the middle of the day if it is hot. Dehydration can cause a severe health risk in your pet. Some of the most common signs of dehydration in pets include sunken eyes, lethargy, dry mouth and loss of skin elasticity. Make sure your pet has enough clean water to stay hydrated all day every day. If your pet suffers from dehydration, seek the advice of a veterinarian immediately.
Watch out for allergies
Just like you’re your pet is prone to seasonal allergies. So keep a watchful eye on your dog for any signs of allergies like sneezing, itching, and coughing. If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with your vet to ensure your pet stays safe regardless of the season.
Caution in cars
This should go without saying, but unfortunately every summer in Australia we see a news clip about an animal left in a hot car, or even a child. Never leave pets or even children in unattended vehicles. No matter the time of year, the heat in the car can build up fast and high in a closed automobile, even in shady spots.
Whilst this is not a complete list of all the hazards a pet can face in it’s life, these are common and easy to avoid. If you have more to add, we'd love to hear from your!