Whether you buy from a breeder or adopt a pet from your local pet rescue, owning a dog or cat can be expensive. For example, research shows that Australian dog owners will spend an average of $25,000 over their pooch’s lifetime.1 So the last thing you want is the added expense – not to mention the heartache – of your furry friend getting sick or injured if it can be avoided.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do around the house to help keep your furry friend safe and healthy.
1. Nil by mouth
Puppies love to chew: your best shoes, those expensive cushions you bought yesterday, the contents of the bin they overturned, the kids’ computer cord – whatever they can get into their mouths! Not only is this annoying and costly for you, but it can often be dangerous or even fatal for your dog.
To puppy-proof your place:
- Keep small objects that your puppy could choke on well out of reach.
- Store your garbage bin in the cupboard under the sink.
- Cover your compost, which can cause tummy upsets for dogs.
- Tape electrical cords to the floor to prevent burns or even electrocution.
- Have plenty of inexpensive toys around that are safe for dogs to chew on.
2. Keep kitty from straying
Cats are notorious wanderers and can easily get out of the yard by jumping a fence or climbing a tree. This puts them at risk of being hit by a car, fighting with other cats or getting attacked by dogs. If your cat has to go outside, consider:
- Keeping them in an enclosed space on the balcony.
- Installing a cat run in the yard.
3. Don’t let the dog out
Dogs are especially vulnerable when they’re out of the yard. It only takes one open gate or a hole in the fence for your pet to get out – with potentially tragic results. So:
- Mend any holes in the fence immediately.
- Put a sign on your gate to remind everyone to always keep it closed.
4. Get your pet to the vet
One of the most caring things you can do for your pet is get it de-sexed, and these days cats can be de-sexed from as young as two months.2 You should also consult a vet about proper vaccinating and micro-chipping.
You might even consider purchasing a pet insurance policy, with some providing extra benefits that helps cover the cost of de-sexing, vaccinating and micro-chipping. You can compare pet insurance policies to find one that’s right for your pet.
5. Tick alert
Paralysis ticks can be a serious problem in eastern Australia, and their bites are often fatal for pets. So if you live in a tick-prone area:
- Talk to your vet about appropriate tick protection – and never give dog tick control to cats, as it can be fatal to them.
- Check your pet’s coat every day after they’ve been playing out in the yard or after a walk.
- Keep your dog’s coat very short.
- Make sure your pet insurance covers paralysis tick bite treatment.
- Cost of pet ownership, Australian Veterinary Association, 2014.
- De-sexing kittens promotes longer, healthier lives, Animal Welfare League Australia, 2014.