Make your pet a creature of healthy habits

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pet parent, there’s little more you could wish for in your four-legged friend than good health.

So make sure your beloved pet stays bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by adopting our handy health habits.

Dog care tips

Just like with any animal, it’s important to feed your dog a nutritious and well-balanced diet in line with its breed and exercise regime.

Feeding your dog a healthy diet can help increase its life expectancy and stop obesity, which is fast becoming more common in dogs and other pets.

There are dozens of feeding regimes available for all tastes and budgets, from dry complete diets and semi-moist dog food to biscuit mixes and homemade food.

When you protect your pooch with us, we could even cover up to 25% of the cost of a clinical diet for up to six months. You are covered – as long as the diet is recommended by your vet for a treatable condition other than obesity or weight loss.

A missing pet is an upsetting and stressful experience for any owner. It’s best to think ahead about what you would do if your four-legged friend ever got lost or stolen.

Getting your dog microchipped is one of the best methods to help reunite you with your missing canine friend. All dogs over eight weeks old in the UK are required by law to be microchipped. If you don’t get your dog microchipped, you could face a fine of up to £500. And while pet insurance doesn’t cover the cost of microchipping, you can find out more information here.

Our theft and straying cover can reimburse you for any advertising expenses or rewards you’ve forked out to try and find your missing dog.

And if you’re unable to find your dog at all, we’ll reimburse the price you paid for them – up to the limit set out in your certificate of insurance.

Daily exercise is essential for your dog’s physical and mental health. Not enough (or too much) exercise can lead to your dog being unhealthy and prone to illness or injury, so make sure you take it for a daily walk over a suitable distance for its breed.

A lack of exercise can also make your dog restless and bored, which can lead to attention-seeking behaviour such as destructive chewing, digging, scratching, barking and whining.

Frequent grooming, including washing, brushing, trimming and treating parasites like fleas and ticks, may be necessary depending on the breed of your dog.

As a minimum, you’ll definitely need a brush, comb and shampoo. The type of brush you’ll need will depend on your dog’s breed and coat. For example, a bristle brush is best for short-haired dogs, whereas a pin brush is suitable for dogs with long, luscious locks.

While pet insurance can cover things like dental treatment and complementary treatment, we won’t cover any grooming or cosmetic treatments. For example cosmetic dentistry, cleaning and descaling of teeth, routine removal of dew claws, parasite control treatments or nail clipping.

If you want to keep your dog safe and sound, it’s important to make sure it’s well trained.

Always supervise your dog, whether out in public or in the garden – and keep garden boundaries as secure as possible to prevent your dog from escaping.

If you do insure your dog with us, we’ll provide third party liability cover, which can help protect you if your dog accidentally injures someone or damages their property.

Encourage your dog’s problem-solving instincts with interactive chews and toys. You can also try giving your dog toys it can roll around the floor, or create a scent-trail game by hiding dry treats for it to sniff out.

If you're travelling with your dog on public transport or in the car, make sure there’s plenty of ventilation and shade, and that fresh drinking water is readily available.

If you’ve got a long trip ahead, make regular stops to take your dog for a walk and let them answer calls of nature.

If you’re going on holiday and planning on leaving your pup behind, make sure you’ve arranged alternative accommodation well in advance with friends, relatives or a boarding kennel.

Taking your furry friend with you? We’ll be on hand to help if anything goes wrong with cover for overseas vet fees and holiday cover available as standard with all our pet insurance policies.

Making sure your dog is well-trained is essential to help it leave bad habits behind. And it can be a great bonding experience too.

Don't make training last any longer than around 15 minutes at one time, and try to do it in a familiar environment without too many distractions. Take it one command at a time and keep at it. Even if you're struggling, you'll get there eventually.

If you want professional advice or training, you can contact our 24/7 Vet Assistance service – our qualified vet nurses can give you expert training advice and recommend dog trainers.

Promoting positive behaviour is part and parcel of our other health tips mentioned above, such as exercise, diet and training.

Most ‘bad’ behaviour starts at home, for example stealing food from the table or chewing on household items. This type of misbehaviour can often be caused by boredom and not getting enough attention, so make sure your dog feels like one of the family.

There are times when your dog’s bad behaviour could be more than just a phase though – and could be linked to a behavioural illness or disorder.

If that time comes, we could help cover the cost of behavioural therapy. And your furry friend will be back to being a good boy (or girl) in no time.

Cat care tips

Getting your cat’s diet right is the key ingredient to keeping them happy and healthy.

A number of cat welfare charities, including the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA), recommend that cats are fed pre-packaged complete cat food to get the correct balance of nutrients.

And when it comes to portion sizes, your cat’s age, weight and shape, alongside feeding guidelines and veterinary advice, should help you decide.

If you feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet – and focus on quality rather than quantity – you’ll have one content cat.

If your feline friend is ever lost or stolen, you’ll want to do everything you can to get it back. So make sure your cat has a collar attached with your name and address – and consider getting your cat microchipped too.

While we don’t cover the cost of microchipping, our theft and straying cover can help out if your cat wanders off.

To keep your cat’s claws healthy, sharp and free from debris, a scratching post is a must-have. And if you want to keep your costs down, a bristly doormat securely fixed in an upright position will also do the trick.

While we don’t cover the costs of routine and preventative treatments, it’s worth taking measures to ensure your cat’s good health. Such as vaccinations, neutering and treatments to control parasites like fleas and worms.

Cats may be adept at surviving, but with their playful nature and hunting instincts, it’s no surprise when they get into scrapes and fights with other felines.

The best option to protect them is to make sure you have adequate insurance in place. With a choice of time limited and lifetime cover, 24/7 vet support and extra savings and discounts, our cat insurance will leave you purring.

Cats are natural-born hunters – so keep yours entertained by giving it plenty of toys to chase and play with.

If you live in a rural location and the surrounding environment is safe, make sure you let them out for lots of exercise and fresh air too.

Cats depend on their coats to protect them from the weather and keep their skin healthy, so cat hair care is essential.

Your cat will do its bit to preen and clean their coat, but you can help too by brushing, washing and de-fleaing it regularly.

When it comes to your cat insurance, we can cover things like dental treatment and complementary treatment. We won’t cover any grooming or cosmetic treatments, for example cosmetic dentistry, dew claw removal, parasite control treatments or nail clipping.

24/7 Vet Assistance

If you protect your pet cat or dog with us and you’ve got any other questions about their health or wellbeing, you may want to take advantage of our Vet Assistance service.

Vet Assistance is a 24/7 live chat and vet advice helpline where you can speak to qualified vet nurses, discuss pet health issues and care and get nutritional and behavioural advice.

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