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Post Insurance ​Advice Centre covers all you need to know, if you still have further questions feel free to call our team in Athlone on 1890 22 22 22.

Many lost cats and dogs end up in pounds and shelters and several are never reunited with their owner as they have no ID. Collars and tags are important but they can fall off or be removed. Microchipping is a permanent way of identifying your pet and it gives the assurance that, if your pet becomes lost or is stolen, there is a higher possibility of them being returned.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

  • What is a microchip?
    The microchip is a small electronic mechanism which is coded with a unique number that can be read by a scanner. It works through radio wave frequency.

  • How and where is it inserted?
    It is inserted under the animal’s skin between the shoulder blades using a needle. It’s not visible and cannot move once inserted.

  • Will it hurt?
    No anaesthetic is needed and the procedure is similar to a standard vaccination.

  • How does the microchip work?
    Each microchip is encrypted with a specific number which is unique to your pet. The pet and number is registered in a database with details of its breed, sex and the owner's name, address and telephone number. A scanner is used to read the number through your pet’s skin. The vet then checks the database to find a matching number and gets your contact details.

  • Where can I get my pet microchipped?
    You can get your pet microchipped at most vets and animal welfare groups.

  • How long does a microchip last?
    Microchips are designed to last for the life of your pet. They do not need to be charged or replaced so you only need to get your pet microchipped once.

You should bring your puppy to get vaccinated at around six to nine weeks old and then again at ten to twelve weeks old. Usually the vaccinations are administered using an injection into the scruff of the neck but some can be given as drops. Regular boosters are required for continued protection. Your vet will advise you on how often your pet needs to be vaccinated. It’s also important that your dog receives ample physical and mental stimulation. Dogs may become hostile if they do not have sufficient exercise as they will have excess energy. Ideally, you should try to walk your dog at least twice a day. They should have time where they can be let off the lead to run and play. Toys can also benefit their stimulation when they are alone.

You should bring your kitten to get vaccinated at around eight or nine weeks old. The vaccines are provided by injection. There are many vaccines but your cat doesn’t need to receive all of them. Your vet will advise which are best suited to your cat. Usually the vaccinations are administered over a series of shots and an annual booster may be required for continued protection. Your cat should also get regular worming about four times a year.

If you pet has any one of the following you should bring them straight to the vet.

  • Abdominal pain i.e. not letting you touch their stomach or in a crouched position more than usual
  • Bleeding from eyes or ears
  • Sudden blindness i.e. bumping into things or afraid to walk as they cannot see
  • Problems breathing i.e. wheezing
  • Problems urinating
  • Lameness i.e. finding it difficult to put weight on paws
  • Vomiting more than once
  • Odd eating habits
  • Excessively thirsty
  • Rough or dry cough
  • Sluggish
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual stool
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Dragging rear

The most important thing to keep in mind is that cats are carnivores! Cats need to eat a lot more meat than we eat but also need a balanced nutritious diet. You shouldn’t feed them dog food as it contains a lot of carbohydrates. Cats cannot process carbohydrates correctly which can actually lead to obesity and diabetes. You should feed your cat about twice a day and feed a kitten more often. If you aren’t sure whether you should be feeding them wet or dry food you should consult your vet. How much food they need will vary depending on size, weight etc. Ensure to keep your cat’s bowl is clean and always make sure they have fresh drinking water available. Keep milk and treats to a minimum as some cats have lactose intolerance and treats are usually high in salt which can lead to excessive calorie intake.

Dogs are omnivores; they should eat a balanced and nutritious diet. They can eat meats, vegetables, and grains. You should not over feed your dog as, just like people, they can become obese and be at risk of diseases such as diabetes. A large or adult dog will usually need to be fed twice a day. Puppies should be fed more frequently to keep up with their quicker metabolism and to fuel their growth. If you are not sure whether you should be feeding them wet or dry food you should consult your vet. How much food they need will vary depending on size, weight, fitness etc. Ensure to keep your dog’s bowl clean and always make sure they have fresh drinking water available. Keep treats to a minimum to avoid excessive calorie intake.

Some food your dog should never eat:

  • Alcohol – can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, even death.
  • Onions and Garlic – large quantities can destroy a dogs red blood cells and cause anaemia.
  • Caffeine (Coffee or tea) – caffeine is fatal for dogs as it can cause fits and heart palpitations.
  • Dairy – ice cream and other dairy products can cause diarrhoea.
  • Sweets/Toothpaste – can cause their blood sugar to drop and cause liver failure.
  • Chocolate – It’s toxic to dogs as it contains theobromine.
  • Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the worse. It can cause dogs to vomit, get diarrhoea and at worst could cause seizures or death.
  • Bones – your dog may choke on them. They can also cause blockages or cuts in their digestive system.
  • Peaches & Plums – the pit is poisonous as it contains cyanide.
  • Raw eggs, raw meat or raw fish – can cause food poisoning.

There are many healthy un-homed and abandoned cats and dogs in Ireland due to overpopulation. Neutering and spaying are methods to reduce this and there are other benefits for your dog unless of course you plan for your dog to have puppies.

In females, spaying will stop unwanted pregnancies and being in heat. In males, neutering will reduce their dominant behaviour such as urine marking, roaming, mounting and their aggressive behaviour.

Generally, it’s also better for their health and spayed and neutered pets live for longer and are happier. For females, it will reduce or eliminate the risk of uterine diseases and for males it will reduce or eliminate testicular diseases and prostate problems.

Dogs

Most dogs love getting brushed. Brushing removes dead hair from your dog’s coat which prevents matting. It also helps stop their hair shedding all over the house. You can brush them as much as you think they need to be brushed but usually the longer your dog’s hair, the more often you’ll need to brush. If your dog’s hair is very long they may need it daily or weekly but short haired dogs may only need to be brushed weekly or monthly. Try always to brush the hair outwards from the skin to the ends of the hair and don’t forget the tail and feet. If you find it hard to brush through the hair try lightly wetting their coat with a grooming spray to help the brush slide smoothly through any mats. If your dog has a smooth, short coat like a Chihuahua or boxer you could firstly use a rubber brush to loosen the dirt, next use a bristle brush to remove the dead hair and then shine them up with a chamois cloth. If your dog has a short, dense coat that's prone to matting you could use a slicker brush to remove the mats and knots and then remove the dead hair with a bristle brush. If your dog has a long, coat, such as a Collie or Afghan Hound they will need extra grooming to prevent and remove tangles and knots. You can remove tangles and knots with a slicker brush and then brush their cost with a bristle brush. You will also need to pay attention to their legs and feet.

Cats

Always try to brush in the direction of the hair. If your cat doesn’t like to be brushed, start with an oven glove; this will get them used to the stroking motion. Then move onto a grooming mitt and then on to a brush. Start brushing with gentle strokes. You could begin by stroking them with the back of the brush as this will help your cat to trust the brush and not see it as a threat. If your cat isn’t happy, try brushing them on a small table as it’s more difficult for them to run away. Or you could get a friend or family member to gently restrain your cat whilst giving them attention. Don't groom your cat around other pets as they feel exposed when on their backs. Make sure to know your cat has had enough. If you force them they will resent grooming. Reward your cat with a treat once you are finished. If they associate grooming with treats it will help them become happier with grooming.

The best of care for your pet from Post Insurance

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Post Insurance Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by Kainos Associates LLP and underwritten by Millennium Insurance Company Limited.