Which Pets Best

Best Pet Guide

If you have decided to get a pet, for companionship, for the kids, or just because you’d like to have one, then there are certain things you need to consider otherwise you could end up with the wrong pet for you and your circumstances. Don’t jump into anything just because you feel something at the local pet store looks cute.You might just bite off more than you can chew. Be considerate, because it isn’t just you that will be affected but the innocent animal too. These tips can help you make the appropriate decisions, you may have already considered some of them which is great but check the other ones over and just in case you have missed anything, they can jog your memory and help you think of things you may have forgotten.

In the first instance you need to realise that having a pet is more than just giving it food. They are like people. Things go wrong, they need to be checked up on by professionals and you may need certain medications that cost money. Dogs are a prime example, they will likely need Advecta II for Dogs, as well as a whole glut of vaccinations and yearly check ups. Do you have the finances to check for this? Cats are the same. Needing vaccinations and checkups to ensure they stay healthy. Bear in mind these considerations before you commit to owning an animal.

You also need to check out your accommodation and whether it is right for the animals you want to keep there. For example, an apartment is likely not good for a cat. They like to be able to go out and range the local area on their own. They can’t do this from a few floors up. The space also provides problems for the bigger dogs. If you own a husky or German shepherd then it is going to be hard to find space for them in an apartment. Consider a smaller dog instead and ensure there is enough room for a bed or something similar for them to have their own space.

The most important thing to consider is whether you have the time to dedicate to the animal. If you are really busy all the time then a cat may be the right answer as they tend to need less company than dogs. Even so, they need some. So you could think about getting something else entirely like a lizard or snake, something small and easy to care for. A dog is a big no because some need two walks a day. If you don’t have the time to do this they will grow restless and irritable, and it will be your own fault. Be considerate and chose an animal that you can care for properly. It can be easier if your partner is willing to help, or your have kids who want a specific pet and can help with the walking of the dogs or sharing of affection. It can be easy to buy an animal without thinking, but remember the old saying, pets are for life not for christmas.

A Quick Guide To Choosing Your First Family Pet

Brown Horse

One of the most wonderful things you can do for your child is to give them a pet to care for. Learning responsibility and empathy for living creatures is an essential life skill they need. Sadly, vets and animal care professionals continue to be called upon to intervene in neglect cases. Many of these animals are pets that the owners simply couldn’t manage. There are many reasons for this. It’s not always about cruelty.

So how can you be sure your family doesn’t take on too much when it comes to taking on a pet? Start by considering your budget. All pets cost money to care for. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pet ownership with a small income. But it may mean you need to choose an animal that won’t break the bank in veterinary, food, or care costs.

The next thing you need to consider is your accommodation. If you want to own a horse, do you live close enough to the stables for an emergency or to regularly tend to them? If you live in a small apartment, do you really want a juvenile Alsatian? Even if you have a large house and a good sized garden, you might prefer a pet that doesn’t run around a lot.

Allergies and lifestyle choices will also have some bearing on the suitability of different pets. Dogs must be walked twice a day. Cats can be quite active at night. Lizards aren’t keen on the cold, and tortoises might choose to hibernate.

Pets also need a lot of accessories. It’s not just food bowls and collars you need to worry about. You might need extra bedding or things like a horse fleece rug to ensure they are comfortable if it gets cold. There are also accessories to curb unwanted behaviour. For example, a bell on a cat collar can reduce their chance of catching unsuspecting wildlife. Chew toys for dogs will give your pup an alternative to your favourite shoes.

You might be considering a particular breed of cat, dog or pony. However, please bear in mind that there are thousands of rescued and homeless animals out there. They could offer you just as much love as a pedigree breed. Charitable organisations are not funded by the Government. Maybe you could consider purchasing your pet accessories from their fund-raising stores? Why not offer a donation of pet food from time to time?

One of the most important considerations for your first family pet is the age and future size of your human family. While it is very rare for any pet to deliberately harm a baby, it is important you never leave your pet unsupervised around small children. Equally, your toddler may not fully understand that the cat’s tail is attached and painful when pulled. Managing their interactions can reduce the risk of unwanted behaviour. Don’t forget to keep pet food and medicines out of sight of children (and vice versa!)

Pet ownership is wonderfully rewarding. With a few careful considerations and a little planning, you can enjoy a lifetime with your new family pet.

Is length the most important thing? (Day -160)

Quality vs Quantity of life in dogs

I’ve recently spent some time within some of the top oncology (cancer) referral vets within the UK and been in consults with people who have to be told that the biopsy says it is cancer. One of the most difficult questions that pet guardians will then ask is how long a loved pet has left – this is an awful question that has to be answered so carefully because we just do not know.

We try to use evidence based studies looking at different treatments when discussing the options – however these studies over use statistics to give averages. Unfortunately within veterinary research many studies only have a small amount of patients which is caused by the way the veterinary industry works. This means that when looking at a study with average life duration from start of treatment of 3 months that some dogs may have died at 1 week whilst others lived until 9 months or a year. I am personally starting to believe that statistics should be limited to use only in sample sizes over a defined minimum limit to improve reliability (I wrote about statistics here).

However what is missing from most of these studies is perhaps even more important and is the second question that most pet guardians ask. That is what the quality of life is like. It is something that may sound strange however it is much easier to quantify quantity of life (i.e. days) than it is quality (i.e. happiness) of a pet.

This is still something in it’s infancy within veterinary medicine – with humans we can explain that it will hurt now but it will mean that they are good later. The first time I saw this discussed was within surgery decision making in the AWSELVA journal in 2014 (J. Yeates & S. Corr) to evaluate treatment options based on the amount of painful time vs the amount of pain free time.

This is something that is difficult though as we need to define how we recognise the quality of life. For example if we consider movement as an indicator as recently there have been studies using accelerometers (step counters) to monitor the activity of an animal. A study just published used this to measure the physical activity in dogs receiving chemotherapy as an oncology treatment which may be acceptable.

However if we look at dogs with neurological problems that may have abnormal circling or pedalling movements then activity may not be the best quality of life. Here is where other techniques may come into play with things such as a seizure diary being kept to record frequency and duration of seizures to allow comparison of good time vs bad time.

Hopefully soon we will have better measures for the quality of life – and be able to apply these when making decisions that may impact animal welfare.