It’s a fact, that if you own a pet then you will have equipment that they use on a daily basis. The amount of bits and pieces they can accumulate over the first couple of years can be quite amazing! For all pet owners, the following is aimed at making them think about the equipment their pets have…
When was the last time you checked your dog’s lead and collar? Perhaps they wear a harness – is it new or a few years old? Pet equipment like this is often overlooked when it comes to renewal, but think of what it goes through… always being exposed to the elements, lots of the time being pulled this way and that – it’s amazing some last as long as they do! Why should you worry? Put simply, it’s your pet’s safety and comfort. No dog owner wants the lead to snap, or the clips the break – while their beloved dog runs off, possibly into the path of a car.
Pet equipment comes in all shapes and sizes, and some wear might not seem immediately apparent. Take the humble dog bed for example – it may be your pets favourite place to sleep, (when you inconsiderately are using your own bed), but even this can become uncomfortable after a while. You may own a dog older in years and the softness of the bed disappeared a while ago – for them it will be like sleeping on a hard floor – not ideal or warm. If they have mobility issues it can also be detrimental to helping their joints.
It is not just our canine friends that should be thought of either, cats too can have the same issues with beds – although many will fit anywhere they can to sleep, such as boxes, drawers or the sink. Cat owners should also keep an eye on any well-loved scratch post – the one their cat has shredded with their needle-like claws. Many times the ‘rope like’ material that makes the scratching part, is fastened with metal staples. With wear and tear these can become exposed and cause cuts to pads and damage claws – this type of injury is rare, but not unheard of in veterinary practice. Keeping a check and replacing the scratch post before it’s completely worn-out is not only safer, but can also save the furniture or curtains, when your cat decides enough is enough.
It’s almost a sure bet your pets also have a vast array of toys – with a favourite never too far from them. Again has it seen better days, and does it need slowly weaning away from them for something newer and much more suitable? For dogs this can mean a ball that has been long-ago punctured and lost its bounce – maybe to point where it’s being completely chewed up. Many vets all over the country remove items from dog digestive systems weekly, bits of football are some of those items. Please don’t let your dog be one!
Cats are not exempt either, the same principal applies to their toys. The mouse on a string is a favourite, especially if there is cat-nip involved. Normally the savaged toy ends up looking like something from a horror film and can leave the string dangling by itself. Now cats love string, wool or indeed anything that can be pulled along for them to chase, but please make sure it is put well out of reach, if your feline friend is not being supervised with it. Cats can and do swallow the string and it can mean difficult surgery to remove it, especially if the string is thin. The length and type can even tighten in the cats’ intestine, causing a life threatening emergency.
Please do not forget the small furries – rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, in fact any small pet that has their own cage or hutch. Please take a close look at the metal parts, bits of wire poking out can cause painful damage to small pets, let alone be a possible escape route, if broken badly. Checking water bottles are not leaking is also wise – a wet cage must be horrible to live in! If the pet lives in a wooden hutch, then the structure should be checked for rot (especially the corners). Through tipped water bowls and urine, wood can easily rot, not to mention harbour potential bugs that can cause your pet to become unwell.
There is no doubt that the pet equipment industry is big business, you only need to look at most of the major pet stores at the vast range of equipment, let alone at online retailers. The reason for this is manufacturers know there is a demand, and as pet owners we are spoilt for choice. If you look in any pet store or online there are items for pets in practically every colour you can imagine. There are gizmos and gadgets you didn’t even know existed - with technology playing a very large role in new items. Just because something might be space age, it still has a shelf-life.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on pet equipment, but please make sure your pet is safe and comfortable. Safe is a big part of that, please don’t buy toys that are very cheap from street traders - they could potentially injure your pets, or at the very least, not last for five minutes. It is much better to buy pet equipment from a reputable retailer. Think - would you buy a cheap almost dangerous looking toy for a small child?
Above all, let common sense prevail. Pets do carry baggage in the form of equipment - from food bowls to entire homes, but making sure they are in good condition can save a lot of heartache and expensive vet bills!