Pets & Animals

Veterinary Care

Consulting a Veterinarian

Pets, like humans, can fall sick. Monitor your pet closely for 48 hours if it appears off-colour or shows any of the following signs : 

  • No / Poor appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Inactive / Lethargy
  • Difficulty defecating or urinating
  • Reluctance to stand or move
  • Limping
  • Excessive scratching or shaking of the head
  • Moist, red skin
  • Abnormal, strong body smell
  • Severe thinning of haircoat

If your pet's condition does not improve, do not delay in taking it to your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian can also advice you on matters such as vaccination, diet, exercise and general healthcare for your pet.

Pets and asthma

It is a misconception that pets cause asthma. Asthma is a genetically inherited condition and attacks can be triggered by various agents such as house dust, dust mites, pollen, lint, stress, cold water and animal hair or saliva.

Many owners give up their pets upon the identification of an asthma sufferer in the family. However, studies have shown that although animal dander is a potential trigger in people who are asthmatic, it is often not the primary trigger.

Recent studies also show that children living with a dog or cat at home are less likely to develop asthma. This research supports the current thinking among allergists that exposing a child to dust, animal dander and other allergens at a young age will help him build up immunity that will reduce the chances of him developing asthma.

Animal hair and saliva are not considered to be major triggers and if a pet is suspected, it is recommended that the physician does proper allergy tests to confirm this before any decision is made to remove the animal. Only if tests prove that animal dander is a main trigger should steps be taken to reduce the risk of exposure, including removing the animal.

Asthmatics who are sensitive to animal dander but still want to keep pet dogs or cats can follow simple steps to reduce contact with dander and other allergens, such as:

  • Keep the house clean and well-ventilated.
  • Wash walls and floors periodically.
  • Vacuum regularly with High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaners to capture particulate airborne allergens.
  • Use HEPA filters in the bedroom.
  • Place allergen-proof covers over mattresses and pillows. Blankets and sheets should be washed every week in hot water.
  • Keep the pet out of the bedroom. Since the average person spends many hours in the bedroom sleeping, this measure will reduce exposure to dander.
  • Bathe the dog and wet-wipe the cat (as many cats do not like water and can be hard to bathe) weekly to remove the dander that accumulates on the fur.
  • Have a non-susceptible family member brush the pet outdoors on a regular basis.
  • Wash hands after handling the pet.
  • Wear a mask when changing cat litter.

Training & Socialisation

Training Your Pet

Training helps to enhance the relationship between pet and owner. A trained pet is able to do what the owner says and is usually rewarded for its obedience. The training process helps to build and strengthen the bond between pet and owner. It also helps the owner gain better understanding of the pet which usually results in more respect and appreciation for the pet.

Training your pet can be time consuming and frustrating at times, but it is well worth the effort. Here are some tips on training :

  • Conduct "play training" where the training tasks are made into fun games and your pet's play drive is used as motivation. Intelligent pets can be stubborn, so you may have to outwit them! Make training fun for your pet.
  • Ensure that you are in control from the beginning. However, there is no need for extreme measures to prove you are the boss. Always be consistent in the commands you give, and keep the commands short and simple.
  • Some pets have a short attention span. It is best to have several short 5 to 10 minute training lessons instead of a single long lesson.
  • Start the training at quiet places familiar to your pet, and be sure there are very few things and people around to distract it. Speak to your pet firmly but not with an angry tone.
What pets can be trained?

Almost any type of pet can be trained, but to different extents. In every case, patience and time are needed. Remember that pets cannot be trained overnight.

Dogs can be trained to do tricks and negotiate obstacle courses, or even be trained as working dogs (e.g. rescue dogs, sight or hearing dogs).

Dogs, cats and rabbits can be also be toilet trained.

Back to Top LAST UPDATED ON Monday, October 16, 2017
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