Frequently Asked Questions When You Get a New Pet
There are a lot of important things to consider if you’re looking for a new pet – from choosing the right pet, considering where to get your pet from and what you need to do when you find your new best friend. Here we have some pet advice to help you during this exciting and busy time.
Why do I need to vaccinate my pet?
We vaccinate dogs to protect them from life threatening diseases such as canine parvovirus “parvo” and leptospirosis. We also vaccinate dogs against Canine Cough often called “Kennel Cough” which is a very contagious cough your dog can pick up outside. We vaccinate cats against “cat flu” to prevent flu like symptoms caused by feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus and feline panleucopenia.
How many vaccinations does my pet need?
Your pet will require 2 vaccinations 4 weeks apart initially to start off their vaccines. After this your pet will require a yearly top up/booster vaccination for the rest of their life to continue protecting them from these serious diseases.
Can my pet go outdoors after the first vaccination?
Your pet should not mix with other pets until approximately 2 weeks after the last of their primary vaccinations as they will not be fully protected before this.
Why should I neuter my pet?
Neutering your pet has a number of positive health benefits. Firstly it helps to prevent a variety of serious cancers (e.g mammary cancer in females, testicular cancers in males). Neutering prevents females from getting pyometra, this is a life threatening womb infection. Neutering male cats can help stop them from straying and getting into fights with other cats.
I have heard people say my pet will get fat if I neuter them is this true?
Pets are prone to gaining weight after neutering, however, this is something that is completely in the pet owner’s control. It is best to get into the habit of weighing your pet every month. If you notice an increase in your pet’s weight you should immediately start to reduce your pet’s food. This is a subject your vet and nurse will always be happy to advise you on. Weight management clinics are available to help you and your pet if you find your pet is/has gained weight. Weight gain should never be a reason not to neuter your pet as you can fully control this.
What food should I feed my dog?
You should keep your pet on a good quality dry food. This has all the nutrients your pet needs and it will keep them healthy. If you are feeding a mix of dry and wet food always make sure it is good quality. Your local pet shop or veterinary clinic will have a variety of options to suit every budget and will be able to advise you on what option best suits your pet.
What should I feed my cat?
Cats should get a mixture of good quality wet and dry food. Your local pet shop or veterinary clinic will have a variety of different options to suit every budget.
Can I give my pet food from the table/scraps?
No, you should not give your pet some of your own breakfast/lunch/dinner. Feeding your pet from the table can cause bad habits, lead to weight gain and contribute to the development of diabetes. Feeding your pet from the table can also lead to behavioural problems with your pet.
I only feed my dog once a day as he is overweight but he’s still not losing weight, why is this?
It is always best to feed your dog at least twice a day as this keeps their metabolism going. For weight loss we will reduce the amount of food given in each meal but not the number of meals. If a reduction in food is not working then your local veterinary clinic or pet shop can advise you on a weight loss or low calorie food for your dog.
But what about my cat she’s eating all day and is not overweight?
Cats tend to be grazers and it is not a problem to leave food with your cat throughout the day as long as they are not overeating, overweight.
I’ve heard chocolate is poisonous to pets is this true?
Yes chocolate is poisonous to your pet. There are other foods that are also poisonous to your pet; grapes, raisins, garlic and onions.
Are there any other items in the house I need to be careful with when I have a pet?
Any detergents should always be kept away from your pet as they can make them quite sick. Very importantly lilies are toxic to cats. Avoid bringing lilies into your house if you have a cat. Antifreeze for cars is poisonous to cats so always make sure to keep it locked away and that it is not leaking from the press or your car.
Do I need to clean my pet’s teeth?
You can brush your pet’s teeth using a toothbrush and water. You should never use human toothpaste as it is poisonous to your pet. You can get toothpaste in the pet shop that tastes nice for your pet or that smells nice. You can also get an anti-bacterial toothpaste from your local vet. If you avoid giving your pet food from the table this can also help to keep their dentures smiling nicely!
Can I give my dog a bone?
No. It can be very dangerous to give dogs bones, even if you have previously given your dog bones. They can cause obstructions and your dog may require surgery to remove the bone. It is much better to avoid this situation by never giving them a bone in the first place!
Do I need to microchip my pet?
Yes you should definitely microchip your pet. Did you know that it is now a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped? If your pet goes missing the microchip number will allow a vet or pound find your contact information to reunite you with your pet. Having the correct and up to date contact details registered is extremely important in case your pet wanders or gets lost. Always remember to update your details if you change phone number or address. Your vet will advise you how to do this.
Does a microchip track my pet’s location?
No a microchip will not track your pet’s location. If your pet is found the microchip will allow a veterinary clinic or dog pound to access your contact details to let you know that your pet has been found.
Does my dog need to be groomed?
All dogs require grooming. Their coat type determines how often they need to be groomed. It is good to get your pet used to being brushed from an early age. Brushing your pet’s coat will stop the hair from matting which can be very painful and can also lead to skin infections. Long haired or curly haired dogs will often require more grooming e.g. a Bichon Frise will require significantly more grooming than a Labrador.
Does my cat need to be groomed?
Cats will usually groom themselves. If your cat stops grooming then there may be an underlying health problem (for example sore gums) and you should get your cat checked by the vet if this happens. If your cat has an underlying medical problem and doesn’t or can’t groom then you may need to have your cat groomed to remove any mats as these can be painful.
My dog was wormed as a puppy when do I need to do it again?
Puppies and kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 4 months old and every month between 4 and 6 months of age. Over the age of 6 months you then need to worm your cat or dog every 3 months for the rest of their lives.
My cat only gets fleas in the summer do I need to give a flea treatment in the winter?
Most spot on flea treatments only last a month and prevention is better than the cure. It is best to apply a flea treatment every month. Some pets suffer from skin problems and in this case it is essential to apply the flea treatment monthly. It can be very difficult to clear your home of flea eggs. Flea eggs are so small you can’t see them unless you have a microscope! Fleas will hop off your pet and bite you and your family but they won’t live on you. It is always best to treat monthly to avoid the problem! Your vet will let you know what flea treatment options they have in stock and how often they should be used.