Pets are a huge part of our home and family lives, making us happy and providing year-round great company; so what better time of year to show our love for them than Valentine’s Day? Many of us will be trawling various websites and pet shops to find the ultimate gift for our pet, but please remember the best gift you can give them isn’t just the designer hoodie or special chew toy, but the gift of health.

So this Valentine’s Day please be reminded of the many ways that make sure our lovely pets are looked after responsibly so they can live long and happy lives. Looking after pets isn’t always easy, requiring commitment, time, and sufficient funds so owners are prepared for any eventuality, as well as reducing the chances of our four-legged loved ones getting hurt or suffering unexpected, worrying health conditions.

Responsible pet ownership starts well before owning a pet and as much research as possible is always encouraged. Never buy on impulse and always choose a pet from a reputable source as, unsurprisingly, pet health and lifespan often depends on where your pet came from. Dogs, cats, and rabbits should either be sourced direct from the breeder (not pet shop), or better still from a local rescue shelter.

Cats and dogs are by far the most popular pets in the UK having their own unique qualities which of course make them fantastic companions. Research shows cats make their owners happy and less-stressed, with dog owners enjoying getting out and about as well as the emotional comfort. Remember, you can always own both!

Cleaning your pet’s teeth is an important way of observing and maintaining the health of their mouth, teeth, and gums. Research says over half of all cat and dog owners have never cleaned their pets teeth so please give it a go as it’ll help prevent serious and expensive problems occurring. If you’d like to learn how to brush your pet’s teeth then please book a free nurses appointment with us.

Looking after your pet’s coat helps enhance your owner-pet bond, keeps ears, eyes, and coats healthy, and also makes lumps, bumps, cuts, and parasites easier to detect, such as fleas and ticks. These common visitors, as well as worms, can not only cause serious disease to your pet, but can also carry other infections, as well as potentially affecting us humans too.

Annual vaccinations and six-month health checks are an important way to make sure your pet is regularly checked by a vet, as well as making sure they’re protected against killer diseases commonly found in our pet’s environment such as parvovirus and leptospirosis.

Always try to feed your pet the best quality balanced diet your budget allows to encourage a healthy coat and body condition. Be sensible with treats (my favourite dog treat is raw carrot) and enjoy exploring our beautiful Sussex countryside, encouraging appropriate exercise to prevent boredom, gaining excessive weight, and obesity-related health problems.

Pet insurance provides owners with peace of mind and can be a helpful way of ensuring vets bills are paid. Most pet injuries happen when we least expect so it’s always important to invest in the right policy and to be prepared financially.

Finally please make sure your pet is microchipped; with dogs it’s been law since April 2017 and ideally cats should all be chipped too. Microchipping helps reunite lost dogs and cats, identify stolen pets, as well as locate worried owners when our four-legged friends are involved in road accidents.

One of the main reasons for choosing to share our lives with pets is companionship so this Valentine’s Day make sure your pet is well-loved and looked after so you can enjoy many more years to come! For any questions on the above pet health tips or to make an appointment with one of our vets or nurses please call 01273 585386.