Ensure your pets are safe and healthy with these tips from Ark Veterinary Surgery.

It may often seem self-explanatory, but there are lots of seemingly small things we can do to make sure our pets live long, happy and healthy lives. Our pets depend on us to keep them safe and care for them, so it is important that we know what to do to keep them fit, well and out of danger.

1.            Purchase a reflective collar and lead for your dog: When walking, brightly-coloured or reflective leads and collars make you and your pet more visible in the daytime and at night, when it’s important to be seen. They allow drivers to spot you quickly and give them time to slow down.

2.            Ensure your pet is micro-chipped: This month is Microchipping Month at Ark; yet it is imperative all year round that pets are fitted with these tiny devices which help us to reunite you with them if they are lost. It also aids in identifying them in case of emergencies. Read our advice on Microchipping in Davids’ column opposite.

3.            Keep poisons and chemicals away from your pets: It goes without saying, but always keep medications out of the reach of curious pets. Overdoses are common in dogs and cats who often find the taste of tablets such as Ibuprofen, paracetamol, chocolate and vitamins tempting. Additionally, make sure toxic chemicals such as household cleaners, bleach, pesticides etc are all stored out of harms’ reach. An overdose or consumption of poisonous substances is always an emergency, so contact your vet immediately if you suspect your pet of having eaten anything dangerous or harmful.

4.            Use topical treatments and medicines wisely: Always check the label or follow instructions given by your vet when using medication for your pets. Shampoos, lotions and spot-on treatments should be administered carefully – quantity over quality certainly does not apply in this case. Also ensure that only medications and products designed for your pet are used for your pet; do not use dog products on your cat and vice versa, unless multi-use is specified on the product itself or by your vet.

5.            Take care when travelling: When taking your dog in the car, make sure they are properly restrained and can’t jump around the car whilst it is in motion. Dog safety harnesses and belts are readily available to buy in pet shops and online. Line your boot/car seat with blankets and provide chew-toys to keep them occupied during the journey. Similarly when transporting cats or small animals, keep them confined in a secure specially designed travel box, with blankets and toys to comfort them.