The Ins and Outs of Pet Ownership

Although pets are cute and offer unconditional love, they require a lifetime of commitment from you, their owner!

Having recently acquired a new member to my ‘ani-family’ I am able to experience first-hand not only the responsibilities of owning a pet but the costs involved too.

While they say you can’t put a price on love, it is wise to know just how much love you can afford and whether your lifestyle is suited to owning a pet.

Before making the decision, consider the following:

  • Pets require attention and your time, if you live alone and work long hours, then perhaps pet ownership is not an ideal choice at this time. However, if like me, you work for an animal organisation, you can always enquire as to whether your furry companion can accompany you to work.
  •  Any pet you get should be suitable to your lifestyle and living arrangements. If you live in a flat, then a large or energetic breed is not a good choice. You don’t want your pet to become bored, as this can result in destructive behavior problems.
  • Puppies and kittens require the most amount of work when it comes to house training. If you don’t have the time or finances to properly train your pets or don’t want your expensive shoes chewed or lounge suite damaged; then consider adopting an already house trained, adult pet. There are literally thousands of adult shelter dogs and cats looking for a place to call home. Give them a second chance.
  • Owning a pet is a joy, but, as with everything else, there is quite a hefty price tag involved. Before adopting your pet, ask yourself, can I afford to keep a pet, as it is a long term commitment. Once you have considered the above, below are a few essential expenses you will need to budget for:
  • A suitable dog bed or basket, blanket, collar, identity tag, lead, food and water bowls
  • Pet food, treats, and tick and flea treatment (monthly expense)
  • Routine Veterinary checks and annual vaccinations
  • Sterilisation (usually done at 6 months)
  • Microchip
  • Socialisation training (optional)

If you adopt a breed of dog that is susceptible to medical conditions (hip dysplasia, spinal conditions, respiratory issues etc.) consider taking out a Pet Health Insurance – your veterinarian will be able to advise as to the various options available.

For those who have researched and understand the commitments of caring for an animal, and still feel you would like to add a four legged companion to your family, please visit a reputable welfare organisation and adopt one of the many animals in need of a good home. Alternatively, if you cannot adopt a pet at this current time, there are many ways to assist our needy four legged friends by supporting our online shop, fundraising events, via My School Card by making ARO a beneficiary, donating gifts in kind or cash – by doing any one of those things you will be supporting the many animals in or dependent on our care.

BUT, whatever you decide, have fun! Owning a pet is a privilege and will bring you endless years of joy!

Until next time

Jess and Jameson

IMG-20130629-01062 Cape Town-20130701-01071 Helping at work

The Importance of Tick & Flea Treatment

It’s not unusual for neglected animals to arrive at either our Mobile Clinics or Veterinary Hospital infested with ticks and fleas and in urgent need of internal as well as external parasite control.  Treating animals for ticks and fleas is a vital part of responsible and caring pet ownership. Unfortunately, all too often pet owners are not properly educated about the correct products to use and procedures to follow.  This can have dire consequences.

‘Ballie’, a dog that was recently seen at our Manenberg Clinic is a perfect example. His owner had doused him with paraffin and then lathered oil all over his body. This resulted in the skin being burnt and badly inflamed. He was subsequently admitted to our hospital where he received treatment for his condition and had to be bathed several times to eliminate the paraffin and oil contamination.

Although this was not intentional cruelty, it caused ‘Ballie’ much avoidable pain and suffering.

His owner has since been taught how to safely and effectively control fleas and ticks on his dog. ‘Ballie’ is one of many sad cases that we see on a daily basis and his case serves to highlight the importance of educating pet owners on safe ways and means of taking proper care of their pets. It also highlights the vital role that Mobile Clinics perform within the communities.

TREATING AND PREVENTING TICKS AND FLEAS ON YOUR PETS

  • At the first sign of a flea, or before the first sign of a flea, apply a veterinary approved tick and/or flea treatment eg Capstar, Frontline, Revolution, Advantix, Advantage, Fiprotec and wait for the product to take effect. Most of the products last for about 4 to 6 weeks depending on the severity of the initial infestation.
  • Your pet is not the only source or host of ticks and fleas. Any eggs that were deposited in your carpets, bedding or around your garden, will hatch and become adults.  It is therefore important that you treat not only your pet but the bedding and sleeping area as well.
  • To ensure your pets and home are tick and flea free, it is vital that you repeat the above steps monthly. There is no “Silver Bullet” solution and a disciplined, holistic strategy is necessary.

Although ticks and fleas are more prevalent during summer, it is still necessary to provide tick and flea treatment during the winter months.

In conclusion, if you are struggling to curb the tick and flea infestation, please visit your veterinarian or nearest vet shop for professional advice and do not take matters into your own hands without professional guidance. Never use swimming pool chlorine (often called poor man’s Frontline), Jeyes Fluid, motor car oil or any other accelerant on your pet. It could have fatal consequences.

Until next time,

Jess