When you get a pet, you might find it comes with lots of questions – especially if it’s your first time as a pet parent. If you can’t find the answers you need, then you might find yourself suffering from increasing worries and anxiety about your pet, so today we’re looking at common questions and how to find the answers you need!
At the Vet
One of the best places to get advice and answers to the pressing questions of pet ownership is at the vet. From dietary questions, to simply checking if certain puzzling behaviours are normal or symptoms of trouble, there’s no better authority than a trained vet.
Unfortunately access to vets can be costly and difficult to obtain: many practices are very busy, and of course it can be costly to call on the vet too often.
It’s often best to save a trip to the vets for the times when you (and your pet) really need it – if only to avoid subjecting your pet to the stress of a trip in the carrier and time in a waiting room full of other anxious animals. If there are times when you need authoritative advice and answers to questions (even questions like “do I need to take my pet to the vet?”) then you can talk to a vet online!
Online vet practices have some obvious limitations compared with bricks and mortar establishments: they can’t do blood tests, perform more involved physical examinations and administer medication, but they are a great place to get answers to those questions that come up as a regular part of pet ownership.
At the other end of the scale, you might want to do a search for “24 hour emergency vet near me” so you know who to contact if you have an emergency outside of the office hours.
Getting a pet puts you into a community with lots of other owners and they can be a great source of answers, advice and support while you learn the ropes. Depending on the pet you have, it can be easier or harder to make connections with other owners. If you have a dog, then regular walks will bring you into contact with potential friends and mentors all the time! This is less the case if you have a rabbit, for example, that stays mostly on your property.
It’s well worth reaching out through social media to find other owners who aren’t local, or who you wouldn’t naturally come into contact with. They can be a great source of help and support, though you should beware of accepting received wisdom when it comes to health and behavioural problems, and check solutions with specialists before you try them out on your pet!
Groups and Associations
A step up from social media networks are formal associations of owners or breeders. These may be as simple as social clubs for people that share an interest, or they might have a shared code of conduct to hold their members to a standard.
Breeder’s groups are useful when you’re looking for a specific pet of a specific breed, and owners groups can help you with advice when you’re worried or confused. Try searching online or at your local library to get started!