National Pet Month

Isabella Perales

Account Director

It’s national pet month and we want to celebrate our furry friends – after all, they are like no other, they are loyal and loving. As pet owners, we want to do the best for our animals, big and small. Isabella Perales, Senior Account Manager at PLMR, explores the considerations we should make when thinking about getting a pet and how to keep them safe and healthy.

Choosing your pet

Over the pandemic, there was a surge in the number of people welcoming pets into their homes. However, with demand comes challenge. A study by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) revealed that puppies purchased during the pandemic in 2020, in comparison to pre-pandemic in 2019, were more likely to have been ‘designer crossbreeds’, for example a Cockapoo or Cavapoo, instead of Kennel Club registered purebred dogs. The 2020 cohort of pandemic puppies were also more likely to already hold a pet passport at purchase, indicating they may have been imported from Europe – perhaps in some cases illegally – to meet the greatly increased demand and prices for puppies during the pandemic.

The findings of studies such as this are important in helping provide more informed advice to the public on responsible purchasing, including prioritising puppy welfare. For a list of what to consider and the key questions to ask yourself before buying a pet, visit the RVC’s top tips shared with Gumtree. Here, we’ve summarise some of them:

  • Is it the right time?

Pets require huge commitment so you need to be certain it’s right for both you, and them. Commitments include financial investment, possible changes to your lifestyle and routine to dedicate the time needed to look after and exercise your new furry friends on a daily basis, and consideration should be given to whether you have the right space and environment for them.

  • Where should I get my pet from?

With pets available for adoption across the country, this is a great way to give an animal a new lease of life in a friendly and loving home. Adopting pets can be challenging, as these animals will have had a journey of their own, so always consider if that animal is right for the environment you can offer them. Some pets may not like other animals, or young children, so always make sure you consider this before bringing your furry friends home. Animal welfare organisations like the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust as well as other charities will be able to assist you with the process, and help determine whether you have the right environment for your potential pet.

Lady, a three-year-old Tuxedo cat (owned by Laura Deakin, from Genesis), is a great example of an adopted cat who found a loving new home! Lady is a rescue from the RSPCA who was found sick and injured as a kitten. Lady sadly lost her left eye but after being nursed back to health within two months, we think her injury only adds to her charismatic good looks.

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If you are looking to buy a puppy or kitten instead of rehoming, take a look at the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeder Scheme and read through the RSPCA’s guidance on finding a good puppy breeder. Equivalent schemes exist for cats too and can help ensure you are buying from an ethical breeder. Other PLMR pets who have been found through breeders are:

Ted, a one-year-old Cockapoo (owned by Brett Waldron), loves taking his seat at the table at dinner time with the rest of the family!

Jock, a 20-month-old West Highland Terrier (owned by Lucy Somers) is still very much a puppy. Jock gets excited to see his family, even after leaving the room for two seconds and can’t get enough of jumping into streams and swimming in the sea when he gets the chance.

  • Are they the right breed for you?

There are hundreds of breeds to choose from, and that’s without considering all the other animals you may want as a pet! Think carefully about the type of animal that will suit your lifestyle, your house and your surrounding environment. Different breeds have typical characteristics which will give you a good idea of what your furry friend’s personality will be like.

Cavapoos and cockapoos seem to be the breed of choice at PLMR, with a handful of companions belonging to colleagues!

Bruce is nine months and his owner, Simon Darby’s favorite moment so far has been taking Bruce on holiday to a dog-friendly hotel for the first time.

Chutney, a 10-month-old Cockapoo, (owned by Verriin Kaur) is known to lunge at strangers’ pockets in search of treats!

Rafi is almost two, and his owner Sara Ghaffari says Rafi is very playful and loves playing with the neighbourhood kids and his doggy friends.

A special mention also goes to Spirit, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred horse (owned by Ally Horridge, from Genesis), who has many happy memories with Spirit since she brought him from the racetrack a year ago. He is a cheeky chap and will stick his tongue out at you at any opportunity.

Know your pets

Once you have decided on the breed and where to buy them, there is plenty you can do to help your pets settle, and welcome them into their new home.

The first port of call is to take them to the vets, and then go for regular checkups to make sure they are in good health. Of course, some animals like dogs and cats will have to visit the vets more frequently compared to fish, reptiles, or smaller animals, but still, be mindful and monitor your pet – if you aren’t sure what to do, a vet can help.

Also think about what you can do to enhance your pets’ lives:

  • Keep watch for irregular behaviour – different species and breeds may act differently, so do your research and know what is usual for your pet. Learning their quirks and routines can help make you better equipped to care for them.
  • Training can be great if you invest the time – some species can of course be trained easier than others, but this is a great way to keep your pet safe, keep them entertained and keep you entertained too.
  • Companionship – all animals need a certain amount of attention and time for them to be able to thrive. Certain pets need more attention than others, so take this into account before adopting or buying your animal so you can cater for their specific needs.

 
Chester a 13-year-old Cocker Spaniel Labrador mix (owned by Kiera Connick), is a cheeky and affectionate dog who loves sitting on the sofa next to his owners at all times.

Benny, owned by Dan Baynes and one of PLMR’s oldest furry friends at 17 (that’s 153 in dog years!) is a mix between a Brussels Griffon and Miniature Pinscher. Benny loves to do mini yoga sessions to keep himself in shape.

Food and diet

Every animal will have different nutritional needs. It is important to ensure your pet has a healthy diet as well as activity to ensure they are happy and healthy.

Get to know what foods your pet likes and speak to your vets about any medical conditions they have which might require specific diets. Young pets may require different types of food to middle-aged or older animals so do your research on what will work for their breed, size and age.

Be particularly careful around Easter, Christmas and other festive periods. Snacks which are harmless to humans, can be deadly for dogs and other pets. For example, chocolate from Easter eggs and raisins in hot cross buns are particularly poisonous for dogs, so keep them out of reach from our four-legged friends.

Purdy a nine-month-old Tortoiseshell cat (owned by Glenn Castle, from Genesis) had a rough start in life, having been rescued by the RSPCA and rehomed with Glenn. Although she is nine, Purdy still eats Purina One kitten food to help her hoovers up the little biscuits without too much difficulty.

Poppy, a five-year-old moggie (owned by Simon Darby) is a huge Dreamies lover.

Pedro, an eight-year-old Jug (Jack Russell and Pug crossbreed owned by Daisy Mann) loves scrambled eggs.

My own two dogs are Rosie (a 16-year-old Border Terrier) and Joe (a 13-year-old Jack Russell, Patterdale crossbreed). Rosie is a real scavenger and will eat just about anything you give her, and Joe is a massive fan of yogurt!

Our furry friends can bring so much joy to our lives and often become loved and cherished family members. Remember to take great care of your pets and give them all the love and affection they deserve!

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