This April is National Pet Month, and we are taking our passion for pets public by promoting and raising awareness for responsible pet ownership – It’s time to celebrate what pets do for us, and also what we do for our pets!

With around 40% of the nation owning a pet, keep on reading to see how we, as veterinary nurse advocates, can help educate owners on giving the best love and care to their four legged, scaley or feathered friend. So just how many pets are we talking about?

  • Around 10 millions dogs and 10 million cats
  • Close to 1 million rabbits
  • Other commonly owned pets in the United Kingdom are birds, guinea pigs, hamsters, tortoises and turtles, lizards, snakes, horses and ponies, rats, ferrets, gerbils, frogs and toads collectively owned in the millions!

Benefits of owning a Pet

Humans are one of the few species in the animal kingdom who like to keep other animals close to them for companionship. But there is more to it than just having them around – it is the unconditional love they provide back to us!

People say that apart from the love and company that owning a pet can provide, they also reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort when feeling sad or lonely, they make us laugh, and they even can make us more social and interactive when out walking or talking with others!

Responsible Pet Ownership Tips

Before getting a pet, a lot of people will contact a veterinary practice for advice. We’ve put together a list of things to discuss and also suggest they do to make sure they’re well informed about the huge commitment to pet ownership:

  • Are there any breed specific health concerns, e.g. brachycephalic breeds
  • What are the veterinary care plans to cover vaccinations, flea and worming treatments
  • Will their pet need to be neutered
  • What pet insurance policies suit their pets needs best
  • What kind of diet will they feed
  • Is the house and yard a suitable size for the type of pet they want
  • Can exercise and enrichment be provided, eg dog walkers
  • Are there any grooming requirements

Adopting a Pet

Rehoming an animal is a very rewarding experience, for both pet and person! Right now, there are over 2000 animals looking for their forever homes in the UK – with so many charities and rehoming centres all over the country, it is hard to know where to start.

Pet Adoption UK have a database that have rehomed over 125,000 pets since they started running! Check out their website here. On their website you can search for animals of a particular species, breed, age and even search for pets available for adoption via your postcode!

Some rehoming charities include the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, and Blue Cross.

Working Animals

National Pet Month doesn’t just celebrate companion pets – There are many working animals in the UK, who work hard to make our community safer and also work to improve the lifestyle of others.

Here are a few of the “Dogs with Jobs” out there!

  • Guide Dogs for the visually impaired
  • Medical Detection Dogs which can smell small changes in body odour which can detect things like cancer and diabetes
  • Police dogs which track criminals or diffuse dangerous situations
  • Tracking dogs who may find people lost in the outdoors, explosives, narcotics

Celebrating National Pet Month in Practice

So how can we help promote National Pet Month? With fewer clients coming through the practice doors during this current global situation, why not encourage your family and friends who have pets to share their pet pictures on their social media pages? Photographs get a lot of attention and they create engagement, discussion and bonding between you and your friends and family.

Why not try one of our ideas to get owners posting and celebrating all their positive pet stories:

  • Post funny pictures – pets seeking out the sun, dogs swimming, pets that have been caught in the act doing something silly
  • Any funky exercise or food enrichment tips
  • Share their pet adoption story successes
  • Ask if anyone has a #microchipmiracle where a lost pet has been reunited

There is so much to celebrate during National Pet Month which runs between the 1st of April and the 10th of May 2020 – Check out the National Pet Month organisation website for more educational resources and tool kits available to download!