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Caring For pets In Hong Kong
Opinion By Dr Gillian Anderson BVM&S MRVCS

All my life I have been surrounded by animals, which have brought me a huge amount of pleasure. I would like to share my knowledge and thoughts on choosing and looking after a pet in Hong Kong.

Passionate, Caring Owners

As a vet in Hong Kong I have seen the passion many pet owners have for their animals. Pet ownership in Hong Kong is a new experience for many families and can sometimes be daunting. It is important that our pets live happy fulfilled lives and that owners can enjoy having a loveable new addition to the family. Deciding to get a pet is a big decision. Cute and fluffy pets may appear initially very attractive but they can toilet in the wrong place, chew precious objects, and destroy the furniture. A pet can provide lifelong love and companionship, which cannot be underestimated.

 
Think Ahead!

Before getting a pet consider the amount of time and dedication a pet requires. Young puppies and kittens can be very demanding. Owners need patience during the toilet-training process. Dogs need to be trained and socialized with other dogs and humans from a young age, or they may suffer behavioural problems. Dog training helps to ensure your new family member behaves well in public and will also help strengthen the bond between the two of you. Dogs require twice daily walking, for at least 30 minutes each time. This may mean getting up in the early morning, before it is too hot and going for another walk in the evening after a long day at work. Cats too require mental stimulation and entertainment. Suitable toys need to be provided and used to avoid boredom, frustration and mental problems.

 
Which Pet?

When deciding what sort of pet to purchase consider factors such as the amount of time and space you have. Remember a small puppy will grow quickly. Do not take on a large breed dog unless you are sure you have the space and time to properly care for a dog who may weigh more than you! The summer months in Hong Kong can be very hot and humid for long-haired animals which have been bred for cold and dry climates. They can suffer immensely in Hong Kong’s heat.

 
Every Pet Needs Routine Health Care

As part of responsible pet ownership you should ensure that a thorough health care plan is followed to minimize risk to your family.

  • Vaccination can prevent serious diseases.
  • Parasites including worms, fleas, ticks and mites need treatment or prevention.
  • Fleas can infest your home as well as your pet.
  • Roundworms can also result in human health problems.

Pets visiting pet shops or groomers regularly may require extra care as they will be at higher risk of contracting illness, such as fungal infections and kennel cough, from close contact with other animals and shared grooming devices. Sickness and accidents can strike our pets at any time, but there are precautions that can be taken to minimize the risk. Pets may require unexpected veterinary treatment that can lead to bills totaling many thousands of dollars. Insurance can help to cover these bills.

 
Feeding

Feeding your pet correctly is essential for good health. As vets, together with the owner, we can help tailor the best diet for your pet. Incorrect feeding can cause many problems. It is possible to feed a home cooked diet that is balanced but this takes real long term commitment. Feeding prepared pet foods using a reputable life stage diet is simple and reliable.

 
Are you ready for a New Family Member?

Sadly, some pet buyers fail to realize the commitment and cost a pet can entail. These animals may end up abandoned or put into shelters, where they may have to be euthanased if they cannot be re-homed. It is important to ensure that you and your family are ready to accept responsibility for a new pet.

 
Human Health Benefits of Pet care

The decision to own a pet can bring many benefits, some of which may not be immediately obvious. It’s great to have a happy friend at home to greet you after a busy day of course, but there are other benefits too.

  • Young children with pets are reportedly healthier, taking fewer days off sick from school. It is believed that pets help boost children’s immune systems.
  • The responsibility of taking care of a pet in their home will help children learn to care for another living creature as they themselves grow.
  • Children who live with pets are less likely to suffer from asthma or allergies.
  • Owning a dog can help lower human blood pressure and cholesterol. The need for regular walks will benefit the owner as well as the dog, so no more excuse not to exercise!
  • People who own dogs suffer from fewer minor ailments and serious medical problems.
  • Owning a dog may help in the recovery from serious health problems such as heart attacks.
  • Dog owners have better social contacts, they meet people whilst out walking.
 
Special Bond

Owning a pet can provide a special bond that another human is unable to provide. Pets often provide unconditional love, but it is important to return their love, by looking after them the best way possible. Think about what is written above then choose the right pet for you and your family and join Hung Hom Veterinary Clinic in “Caring for What Matters.”

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