Many of us neglect our once-a-year pet-care jobs because we forget when those duties are due. Nevertheless, it becomes easier to remember such things when we link them to a particular annual event such as the group of holidays that occur around Easter time. With Easter closely followed by Anzac Day and then Labour Day, times like this can be used to remind us of our yearly duties for our pets.
That way, whenever the Easter eggs are cracking or the Anzac Day last post is piping, you’ll remember that you also need to get cracking with your pet’s vaccinations, yearly heart worm injection, worming medications and other important pet care tasks.
It’s easy to be complacent about pet care because many deadly diseases are so easy to control nowadays. While this complacency can lead to forgetfulness, neglecting tasks, such as your pet’s yearly jabs for instance, can have dire consequences.
So, for a holiday activity, get the kids together so the whole family can take the Pooch and Puss Cat to the local veterinary surgery for their annual check-ups. That way, your whole tribe can become immersed in the responsibilities of caring for the family pet.
Ask your vet about the new vaccines that are now available for your dog and cat and be sure you are getting the optimum cover for your pet.
Holidays are also a good time to check on how well you have been getting on with your pet’s heart worm protection. Have you been the perfect pet owner and given all the heart worm preventatives your pet needs or have you forgotten some?
If you feel you have missed a few, then a simple heart worm test will show if your dog has a problem and if the worst happens and your pet has a heart worm infection, at least you will know this and your vet can implement treatment before serious problems commence.
If you are forgetting your dog’s heart worm pills regularly, perhaps you would be better to change to the once-a-year heart worm preventative so that you can adopt the principle of ‘inject and forget’.
The principle is to get into the habit of preventative care when you pooch is a pup. When you pup is about three months of age, it can receive its traditional puppy vaccinations and its heart worm injection at the same time.
Your vet will then take on the role of reminding you when your dog’s next injections are due.
Intestinal worms are another consideration. Your pets should be dosed with a good-quality intestinal wormer every three months, so the holidays are one of the times you should ear-mark for this task. Use an all-wormer that lays a claim to zapping away all the wrigglers that your dog and cat can harbour.
Now is also the time to think about your pet’s teeth. Being such a responsible pet owner, I am sure you have been brushing your pet’s teeth every day, but just in case you have missed a day or two in the last 365, maybe having Fido’s or Felix’s teeth cleaned at your vet’s clinic is a good idea.
This will probably involve an anesthetic because, unlike humans, pets don’t stay still when their teeth are cleaned, and unlike human patients, pet sometimes bite the dentist! Don’t let the anesthetic concern you – modern anesthetics are very safe and the risk of an anesthetic is a drop in the ocean compared with the risk involved if your pet has diseased teeth.
If you are heading into the Easter break, then that heralds the beginning of chilly weather. This means that the evil fingers of arthritis will be prodding the old bones of senior pets, thus causing pain and discomfort. There are many new and effective treatments for arthritis that will minimize the pain and return mobility, so no pet should be forced to hobble its way through winter.
Lastly, with a bit of extra time over the holidays, why not tackle some of your pet’s problem behaviours? That annoying barking behaviour your Pooch is practicing or your calamitous cat’s claw sharpening behaviour that is wreaking havoc on your furniture could be remedied quite easily. Having a week or two of holiday time means you can get stuck into the behaviour therapy so that the change occurs much more quickly. All you need is the right advice and your veterinarian can help with that too, or you can contact my office.
And another reminder – don’t go overboard feeding your pet on chocolate over Easter and other holiday periods as chocolate can make a pet quite ill.