It only takes a few seconds for your pet to be lost forever, like when you're busy with other things and she slips out the front door to take off after a squirrel. The experience is so common that the American Humane Society estimates one in three pets will get lost at some point in her lifetime. That's over 10 million pets every year who can't find their way home. In many cases, it's because the pet didn't have proper identification. Even a collar with current contact information on it can catch on a fence or come off by the pet's own force.
What is a Pet Microchip?
Even though June is National Microchip Month, people often have misconceptions about what a microchip is and what it can do. A microchip is about the same size as a grain of rice. When a veterinarian or someone from your local Animal Control scans your pet, the information contained on the microchip appears on a computer screen. This typically includes the pet's name, your name, and your current contact information. This makes it possible to contact you to let you know that your pet has been located.
A microchip is not the same thing as a Global Positioning System (GPS). That means you can't rely on it to let you know where your pet is if he gets away from you. It's also essential to register your microchip and keep your contact information updated. There is nothing sadder than discovering a pet has a microchip and then not being able to reach the owner due to it containing invalid details.
Schedule Your Pet's Microchip Appointment Today
The procedure to get a microchip is fast, inexpensive, and painless at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Pace inserts the tiny device in a flap of skin under your dog or cat's shoulder blade. It's over in seconds and your pet won't feel any more discomfort than she does with a typical shot. Although a microchip isn't an absolute guarantee you will be reunited with your lost pet, it increases the odds dramatically. It's the least you can do for your best friend.
To help foster a more respectful attitude towards animals and encourage people to honor their responsibilities towards them, In Defense of Animals (IDA) has declared May to be Responsible Animal Guardian Month. Having a respectful attitude towards our pets starts with not referring to ourselves as their owners. This word makes a pet our property while the word guardian means that we are responsible for their well-being for a lifetime.
Goals of the Guardian Campaign
IDA hopes to accomplish two major things during the month of May. First, the organization wants to encourage responsible and loving behavior from people who are already pet guardians. This means committing to caring for the pet's physical and social needs in addition to forming a deep bond with the animal. The following are just some of the ways you can be a responsible pet guardian:
• Invest time in training your pet and apply rules consistently
• Use positive reinforcement rather than punishment
• Ensure that your pet gets plenty of opportunities for socialization
• Make exercise part of his daily routine
• Feed her nutritious food and limit treats
• Spend one-on-one time with him each day
• Schedule regular wellness exams at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital and bring her in if she displays new or worsening symptoms
IDA also uses this awareness campaign to discourage people from purchasing an animal from a pet store or breeder. The campaign's motto of "Adopt, Don't Shop" urges potential pet parents to consider saving a life by adopting from an animal shelter instead.
Has Your Pet Had a Wellness Exam Recently?
One of the mistakes that pet guardians often make is assuming that the animal doesn't need to visit a veterinarian unless he is sick or injured. Just like physical exams for people, annual wellness exams for pets help to identify and treat issues before they become more problematic.
Please schedule an appointment with McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital if your pet hasn't had a preventive exam in more than a year. Senior pets should be seen bi-annually while puppies and kittens under a year need regular exams and vaccinations. Dr. Pace will let you know his preferred schedule when you bring your pet in for his first appointment.
As a pet owner, providing the best nutrition for your dog, cat, rabbit or other animal is the single most important thing you do. That is because the food you select has a major impact on your pet’s long-term health. Pet owners sometime make food buying decisions based on convenience or price without considering what is best for the individual animal. For example, many dog and cats have skin or coat issues, a sensitive stomach, or problems with their joints. This requires selecting a species-specific food that addresses these unique concerns. Pets also have different nutritional requirements based on their stage of life.
Although the Food and Drug Administration has specific regulations about what must be included on a pet food label, it can still be challenging to interpret. Most pet foods contain some combination of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, preservatives, and vitamins. However, it can be difficult to know the actual percentage of each of these that the pet food contains or to know how much your pet specifically needs.
In honor of National Pet Nutrition Month, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at McCulloch County Veterinary Hospital to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs with Dr. Pace. You’re also welcome to ask for a nutritional assessment at the next wellness exam. We will let you know if your pet appears to have specific dietary restrictions and whether he or she is at a healthy weight. A nutritious diet and regular exercise help to prevent serious health conditions as well as provide your pet with the highest possible quality of life.