With many thanks to, and courtesy of, Pete Wedderburn (Pete the Vet) here is the 16th and penultimate installment of our Top Tips for Irish Consumers.
- Think about the cost of a pet before you welcome it into your home. Even just the cost of feeding a dog or cat will amount to hundreds of euro ever year. There are also vets’ bills, boarding kennel fees and other unexpected costs, such as replacing the wallpaper that was chewed/scratched to shreds. If you are feeling the pinch, choose a goldfish rather than a bigger, more expensive pet.
- If you’re getting a dog, don’t buy a pedigree puppy. Instead, rescue a dog from an animal sanctuary. You’ll save money and you’ll also save a life. Local authorities in Ireland destroy around 15000 healthy cross-bred dogs every year, just because they are unwanted.
- Don’t buy expensive toys for your cat – make your own instead. Try stuffing an old sock and attaching it to a piece of string. Visit www.best-cat-art.com/homemade-cat-toys.html for some more home-made toys.
- Don’t buy expensive chew treats for your dog – instead, buy long-lasting rubber toys like the Kong. (www.kongcompany.com). When stuffed with food and deep-frozen, these give your dog hours of contented chewing time, and they can be used again and again, lasting for several years.
- Learn to groom your own pet. A one-off investment in electric fur clippers will equip you to cut your own pet’s hair for many years.
- Choose your pet’s food carefully. Cheap pet food can be poor quality, and is not always good value. Pets need to eat more food to get an equivalent amount of nutritive value. Instead, choose a high-quality, so-called “premium” brand that your pet likes, and don’t change brands too frequently. Pet shops and vet clinics stock a range of diets that are suitable.
- Get pet insurance, but not necessarily for your pet’s whole life. Get it for the first two years of life, and then from seven years onwards, since these are the highest risk times. If not insuring your pet, put the equivalent amount to one side each month, in an interest bearing account, so that you are ready for a health crisis if it happens.
- Don’t let your pet get fat. Many people waste money by feeding their pet too much, and obese pets end up with illnesses (such as diabetes and arthritis) that are expensive to treat.
- Get a dog licence! It only costs €12.70 per year, and if your local authority finds that you don’t have one, you risk a much more substantial fine.
- Learn more about pet health and behaviour on the internet. Websites like www.veterinarypartner.com allow you to search for answers to different problems. Your local vet is still the place to go if you have a serious problem, but sometimes it’s possible to get simple, helpful advice for free.
The complete series listing of Top Tips for Irish Consumers is now available here.