Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What are your pet and vet resolutions for 2014?

Phil has a little dip in the sink, all in the name of itch-control.

Its New Year’s Eve, time for the inevitable fireworks (if you have a noise phobic pet you might want to relocate them somewhere safe and escape-proof) and the resolve to do it all better next year.

Given that most people resolve to lost weight and/or get fit in the New Year, it isn’t a surprise that the American Veterinary Medical Association is encouraging pet owners to consider incorporating their pet in their physical activities, and literally lose that puppy fat (read more here). 

If you’re a pet owner seeking pet-related resolutions, and the companion animals in your life are already svelte, why not consider:

  • Walking and exercising your pet every day (for funsies).
  • Regular grooming (this isn’t just aesthetic: a certain small man in my life requires twice weekly baths during summer to keep his allergies under control. At least it gets rid of the surface allergens and an oatmeal based shampoo is soothing).
  • Schedule time every day to spend with the non-humans in your life
  • Embrace your litter tray/poo-patrol duties (scooping poop is a task easily evaded but at everyone’s expense. Resolve to attack solids the instant they appear and change trays regularly).
  • Update your pet’s registration details (you can do this by visiting your vet or local council). In addition, check the tag on their collar…if it is faded, scratched or unreadable, order a new one. It really helps reunite lost pets with owners rapidly.
  • Enrol your pet in a training program or try home-training (e.g. clicker training) to provide mental stimulation and an activity you can do together.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter or animal welfare organisation.
  • Shop ethically.
  • Give the gift of yourself. Adopt an animal from a shelter.

Hero relaxing in bed on the morning of Jan 1 2013. I fully expect a repeat performance in 2014!
If you're not sure, ask yourself what things make you a good pet owner and which areas could you improve on. What does your pet love about you? Can you do more of that in 2014?

Bosca resolves never to wear this hat again.
I canvassed my colleagues about vet-themed resolutions, most of which amounted to continuing to try to become a better clinician. So what did they say?

  • Enrol in a distance education program or postgraduate qualification.
  • Get involved with professional organisations such as the Australian Veterinary Association or special interest groups.
  • Pursue work-life balance by doing something non-vetty every day.
  • Draw up a five-year career plan.
  • Bring lunch to work every day.
  • Perform an FNA on every lump submitted to histo and compare my findings to the pathologist’s.
  • Give ten per cent of my income to charity.
  • Make my clinic a "cat friendly clinic".

SAT would love to hear your pet and vet themed resolutions.

In other news…

The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics in conjunction with the University of Illinois Press has released The GlobalGuide to Animal Protection.

According to Professor Andrew Linzey, an international approach is needed to hold countries accountable for animal cruelty practices.

“Although animal protection is obviously a matter of global concern, animal protectionists have sometimes been slow in recognizing this fact and have contented themselves with working on an issue-by-issue, country-by-country basis. But what this approach neglects is the need for international strategies to tackle what are global problems.”
Earlier this month, ausvetnet released this passionate essay about unemployment among Australian veterinarians, supported by some worrying figures.

I can’t help but be a little star-stuck by the Queen’s corgis. I always take Royal gossip with a grain of salt, but wonder if there is truth in the tale that Kate and William’s dog Lupo was banned from Christmas because it was thought that those unruly corgis would go crazy. Do we have an epidemic of small dog syndrome spreading around the globe?

Finally, thanks for reading in 2013 and we will be back next year (i.e. that's tomorrow) with more small animal talk!