Advice for pet owners

There’s a wealth of information available for animal owners so it can be difficult to identify trusted sources. You should always talk to your own veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse for advice.

We do recommend the following online resources for general tips and advice on caring for a pet:

Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF), also produces helpful leaflets for animal owners on a wide range of issues and species including a guide on what makes pets happy. Animal care guides for specific species include:

Why you should register with a vet

85% of pet owners have registered their animal with a veterinary practice (according to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report in 2017). There are many benefits of registering with a veterinary practice for you and your pet.

BVA and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons are promoting 11 reasons why you should register with a vet practice. Take a look at our images below to see all the benefits this can bring for both you and your pet, and then visit the Find a Vet website to find the right vet for you and your pet.

If you would like to help us to help all pets get easier access to veterinary care, please share our images (individually sized for Facebook and Twitter) wherever you can. On social media we’re spreading the word using the hashtag #petsneedvets.

Pets need vets

Read our guide on how to choose a veterinary practice and find the right practice for you and your pet on the Find a Vet website.

Microchipping your pet

Microchipping plays a key role in keeping pets safe, and allowing stray animals to be quickly reunited with their owners. It is important that you get your microchip from a trustworthy source, linked with a UK database, and that it is implanted by a trained veterinary professional. You also need to keep your details up to date if you change numbers or move house.

We have some general information on microchipping your dog but would always recommend you speak to your local vet for more advice.

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem for animal and human health. Just as it is essential for humans to use medicines correctly and responsibly to protect their own health, it is very important that medicines are used responsibly in animals.

Our leaflet antibiotic resistance – your role as a pet owner (93 KB PDF) explains the ways in which you can reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance by using medicines responsibly:

Buying medicines for your pet or animal

Veterinary medicines are available with a prescription from veterinary practices and pharmacies. Our leaflet on explaining veterinary medicines (97 KB PDF) provides information to ensure you buy medicines safely for your animal.

Overcoming the loss of a pet

AWF has produced a leaflet to help owners prepare for the euthanasia of a loved pet. Saying Goodbye will tell you everything you need to know about euthanasia – the act of putting your animal to sleep – so that you know what to expect and the choices that you will have.

The Blue Cross runs a Freephone Pet Bereavement Support Service enabling people to share the loss with people who understand to provide help at a difficult time.

Taking your pet abroad

There are strict rules governing the way people travel with their pets across Europe and beyond. Talk to your veterinary surgeon as early as possible to ensure you have enough time to comply with the rules before you leave the UK. You can read more about pet travel rules on the UK government’s website.

AWF has produced a useful guide to taking your pets abroad, including advice on how to prevent common diseases transmitted by insects and ticks, a pre-travel checklist, and a guide to the Pet Travel Scheme.

Vaccinating your pet

By vaccinating your pet you can help prevent them from suffering from certain serious diseases and illnesses.
Our leaflet Getting your pet vaccinated outlines some of the common diseases you can protect your pet against.
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) provides detailed guidance on vaccinations for pet owners.

If you are concerned about any adverse reactions from vaccines, speak to your local vet. This interview with our past President Gudrun Ravetz debunks some misconceptions