Julia's Weekly Midsussex Times Column

April is National Pet Month – a great time to make sure you’re giving your pet the best care possible

This week I will be up in Birmingham attending a 4 day veterinary conference - the British Small Animal Veterinary Association’s annual bash.

I love going, as there are hundreds of lectures given by world specialists to help me stay up to date with advances in veterinary medicine. There are displays of equipment to buy, and of course, the opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues. I always come back full of new ideas and enthusiasm.

This month is also National Pet Month, and this year the focus is on “Pets and the Elderly:

enjoying later years together”. I used to volunteer for Pets As Therapy (PAT), a charity which encourages pet owners to share their loving pets with patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

My lovely little terrier Bella used to adore her trips into our local nursing home in Newick every week. If you have spare time, a gentle cat, dog or rabbit and a desire to give back to your community, I would encourage you to become a volunteer for Pets As Therapy.

National Pet Month is also an opportunity to remind potential pet owners of their responsibilities, and this year for their 25th anniversary, they are promoting their Ten Top Tips for responsible pet ownerships.

You can read these at www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/downloads/Top-Ten-Tips and also ask more about each of them at The Mewes Clinic.

We invest lots of time every day just giving free advice to any pet owner or potential pet owner who needs it. We run puppy parties to help our new canine friends become the social and well balanced family members that we hope for. We have trained nutritional advisors to assist pet owners in choosing the best diet for both their healthy pets and those with special dietary needs.

We not only offer advice on avoiding disease for our pets, but also how to groom them, what kind of kit to buy, how to prevent unwanted litters and also microchip them and sell identity tags for their collars.

Of National Pet Month’s ten top tips, number one stands out for me. When I go to give talks in schools I focus on this area: “Think carefully before getting a pet and learn about its special requirements.” The more you know about what is normal for your pet, be it a cat or a tortoise, a gecko or a finch, the better you can care for it, and the faster you can tell when something is wrong.

If you would like me to come and talk to your school or group about pet care, or top tips of responsible pet ownership, give me a call when I get back from my conference - it would be a pleasure.

14th February 2018