In the UK, we view our pets as part of the family. The PDSA states that 49% of UK households own a pet, with nearly one in four of us owning a dog. Cats have overtaken dogs as the UK’s number one, but there are still 8.9 million pet pooches on our shores. This has led the UK pet care market to generate a worth of approximately £5bn this year, with 79% of millennials more willing to spend on their pets rather than themselves.
So, what has changed in the way we look after our pets? Since we now look at our animals as companions and helpers as well as the original status symbol they once were, how do we look after our pets? Here, alongside Cliverton, who specialise in insurance for dog kennels, we take a look:
Members of the public can often be tracked by their mobile phones and its location tracker —nowadays the likes of apps such as Snapchat have location services installed! A microchip in an animal works in the same way. If a lost pet, notably a cat or dog, is found, one of the first things a vet or shelter will do is check if they are chipped. The microchipping process, which was made a requirement for dogs in 2016, only takes a few minutes but can last a lifetime, making it so much easier for owners to be reunited with a lost animal.
A disabling anxiety disorder will affect more than one in 10 of us during our lifetime. But, did you know our animals can suffer too? Help ease your pet’s anxiousness by installing a two-way camera in your home. These systems can provide comfort for pets when they feel separation from you if you leave your home for prolonged periods during the day. It can also help you to keep an eye on your pets when they are home alone. According to research, younger dogs who respond to high pitched noises in particular can benefit from video interaction, while older dogs can recognise faces even if the image is relatively still.
Elsewhere, some kennels also provide round-the-clock coverage of their facilities so if you leave your pet in their care, you are able to sign in and see what they’re up to at any time. This can help put your mind at ease knowing that they are being well treated and have settled correctly.
Just as they may miss us for companionship, our pets also need ‘play time’, even if the owner isn’t at home. Quite often, a bored pet can be a destructive one. That’s where toys such as the FroliCat Bolt comes into its own. This device works as a laser pointer for a cat to chase and even works when you’re not home to press the button thanks to a remote-based control. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about your cat’s lack of activity!
Many other toys are available which work via link-up with your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, including a ‘treat cam’. Like the aforementioned webcam, this allows you to view your pet’s actions, but it also distributes treats to keep your loveable pet content.
Animals, like humans, require a balanced diet, and this includes their water intake. This helps to carry important nutrients into and out of the cells of the body and cools the animal down to maintain an optimum internal temperature. On average, a dog should be drinking an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day to ensure they are sufficiently hydrated.
Thanks to technology, automated water dispensers have taken the hassle out of constantly refreshing the water bowl. Water ‘fountain’ dishes work by providing a free-falling stream of oxygen-aerated water into a dish at an adjustable flow level. Many of these products are fitted with a submersible pump. Be sure to check the variety of products available to make sure you choose the correct one for your animal.
It’s worth noting that if you feel your pet is dehydrated, common signs include dry or pale gums and a dry nose.
It’s obvious that technology has enhanced the success rates of surgery — and the levels of surgery — we have as humans, but have you thought about how this has affected our pets? Animals, such as horses, have a larger survival rate when it comes to being operated on thanks to enhanced equipment and scanning devices.
However, away from surgery, some animals are also benefitting for wearable technology which monitors their health. They have been dubbed ‘fitbits for dogs’ and helps to build big data regarding the movement and oxygen levels of our pets. Because of this, vets are then more likely to diagnose a condition as they have more data to work with. These fitbits are also available for everyday life too and, just like the human equivalent, you can set exercise goals for your pet to achieve to stay in peak physical condition.
Of course, technology is continuing to change the world as we know it, and it is not exempt from enhancing the life of our beloved pets of every variety. The developments mentioned above are just a scratch on the surface of the expanding world of pet care and it will be interesting to see how improvements continue to occur. Watch this space!