You’re doing an excellent job caring for your rabbit, but there’s no harm in discovering ways to do better by your pet, your pocket, and the planet. Our Head Vet Emma, has come up with some interesting ideas to get your new year off to a great start.
Read our top tips for rabbit owners
1. Get your rabbit vaccinated
If your rabbit’s booster is overdue or they’ve never been vaccinated we recommend making this a top priority. Rabbit vaccinations protect against deadly diseases – Myxomatosis and both strains of Rabbit Viral Haemorrhagic Disease (RVHD-1 & RVHD-2). Our Vets will give your rabbit a nose-to-tail health check at the same time, getting them ready for the year ahead.
2. Switch to loose fruit & veg at the shops
Ditch the plastic packaging and opt for fresh food items that are sold loose. You can always take your own food containers and those re-usable material fruit & veg bags.
3. Choose local, seasonal produce or grow your own
Buy in-season produce grown in the UK and reduce your carbon footprint by avoiding imported goods. Go one step further and visit your local farm shop in Middlesex – most grow produce on-site or nearby and use local suppliers. Alternatively, why not grow your own and save money too? Your rabbit will thank you for the fresh ‘garden-to-bowl’ goodies.
4. Make DIY rabbit toys out of eco-friendly materials
Save money and be more eco-friendly by making toys for your rabbits – Emma asked Travel Vet’s nursing team to share their ideas:
- Foraging trays: cardboard, scrunched up newspaper, hay, and rabbit food/treats.
- Digging box: large cardboard box, soil, rabbit-friendly plants and treats.
- Treat roll: toilet/kitchen roll cardboard tube, timothy hay, rabbit treats to hide inside.
- Veggie kabob: metal hanging treat holder (search ‘rabbit kabob’ on Amazon), rabbit-safe vegetables cut into chunks – go steady on the carrots as these are sugary.
5. Get an eco-friendly rabbit hutch by choosing pre-loved
Check freecycle, Facebook market place, Shpock, eBay, and other places offering pre-loved a.k.a. second-hand goods. You’ll extend the life of a rabbit hutch or run that would otherwise be thrown away, and you could even upcycle your new item into a 5-star rabbit retreat!
6. Adopt rather than buy a companion for your bunny
Did you know that some animal rescue shelters rehome rabbits? Adopting a pet rabbit is a wonderful option as you get to give an abandoned pet a second chance in life. As rabbits need to live in pairs, why not contact your local animal shelter first? The Blue Cross also rehome rabbits – learn more.
We hope you enjoyed reading Emma’s top tips for rabbit owners and are ready to put your new year plan into action. Here’s a quick reminder to;
You could help other rabbit owners in Middlesex too by sharing this post on your social media profiles. Just hit the share buttons in this article or copy the link.
You may have heard the term ‘compulsory cat microchipping’ in the news last year. You may have even popped it on your long list of things to do. In this article, our head vet Emma, explains why making cat microchipping a top priority in 2022 will give you and your cat the best start to the new year.
Compulsory cat microchipping
In spring of last year, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) announced that cat microchipping would become compulsory in the UK as part of a larger animal welfare action plan. The move was aimed at making more cats identifiable, in turn helping with issues such as cat thefts, strays, and deceased cats left by the road following traffic accidents.
It’s only a matter of time before this new law starts being enforced and like compulsory dog microchipping, non-compliance will carry a fine of up to £500 – which wouldn’t be a great start to the new year for pet owners in Middlesex!
Important reasons to microchip your cat
Besides avoiding a potential fine, getting your cat microchipped can make all the difference if the unthinkable should happen. Cats go missing for several reasons including:
- Wandering off and getting lost
- ‘Helpful’ passers-by thinking the cat looks lost and taking them to a vet or rescue centre
- Pet theft – which has increased dramatically since the first lockdown
- Road traffic accidents – sadly, not enough drivers stop to report the accident or help the cat.
Emma explains that a microchip can’t prevent your cat from going missing or getting injured; it will however, significantly increase the chances of you being reunited with them. If your cat is found and taken to a vet practice, a rescue centre, or picked up by the local animal warden, these organisations will use a cat microchip scanner to obtain ownership details.
According to a news article in the Hereford Times last year, 60 cats or dogs go missing every hour in the UK. Every year, tens of thousands of cats are reported lost and 25% of those are never reunited with their owners – two large factors in this are:
- Many cats still aren’t microchipped
- For those cats with microchips, some owners forget to update their details if they move house or change phone numbers
At what age should cats be microchipped?
A good time to have your kitten microchipped is during their neutering procedure at around 4 months old, before they venture outdoors. Older cats can be microchipped at any age and it is a quick and harmless procedure. Our experienced vets and nurses can give you more advice on this so please do get in touch.
How much does it cost to microchip a cat in Middlesex? About the same as it would cost you to buy a posh hot chocolate each week for a month.
So, are you ready to get your cat’s new year off to the best start?
We’re all for new year resolutions that will help pets and planet. Head Vet Emma Fisher and the rest of our dog-loving team in Staines-upon-Thames, have some thought-challenging ideas to share with you on the topic of dog treats.
Before we dig in, if you think your dog could be overweight, our Spout Lane North nursing team can help. Book a weight check and get a body condition score, advice, and support for your dog’s weight-loss journey ahead.
What are overweight dog problems
Carrying excess weight will affect your dog’s health and quality of life. Overweight dogs can struggle with mobility, sore joints, and injuries. They are also at risk of developing diabetes and other serious health complications. A large contributing factor to weight gain is treats – to be more accurate, people giving dogs treats.
As January is a common time for new year weight-loss resolutions, we thought we’d encourage pet owners to focus on their dog’s weight too… whilst trying to live more sustainably of course. Read Emma and our team’s top tips below for better treat options.
Seven dog treat ideas for 2022
- Dogs don’t ‘need’ treats; there’s an interesting thought! Here’s another – your dog won’t love you any less if you don’t give them a treat. Be more purposeful with them i.e., use treats in training and to reward positive behaviour, such as recall on walks. Keep an eye on how many you’re giving as they quickly add up when you’re having fun.
- Your dog will still enjoy a treat if it’s not of the high-calorie, artificially coloured variety. Choose a low-fat dry kibble to use as treats, or, switch to carrots, cucumber, apple (not the core), and other healthy fruit and vegetables that aren’t toxic to dogs. Here’s a guide on fruit & veg your dog can eat from the PDSA.
- When buying dog food and treats from a shop check for eco-friendly packaging. Is it recyclable? Is there a better option? Also ask yourself, “does my overweight dog need it?”
- Avoid the pick & mix stand in your local pet shop as you can’t always check the ingredients and fat/sugar content and it’s easy to get carried away. If you do use it, take your own tubs.
- If you’re switching to carrots and other healthy veg & fruit treats, buy loose items without plastic packaging. Alternatively, why not buy some seeds and grow your own in Middlesex?
- Can you walk to the shop for treats? Lower your carbon footprint and give your overweight dog some exercise. You could also take a backpack to avoid plastic shopping bags.
- Have you thought about making dog treats at home? You’d be in control of the ingredients and baking goods often come in recyclable packaging (flour, eggs, etc.). Search for ‘healthy dog treat recipes’ and grab your apron.
If you have any more tips for switching to healthier and more sustainable dog treats, we’d love you to share them on our Facebook page to help other dog owners. Share on Facebook.
Not sure if your dog is overweight? Book a weight check with our Staines-upon-Thames nursing team and let us help you make 2022 a healthier year for your dog.