If you've noticed that there's a lot of cute puppies suddenly flooding your news feeds, you're not going crazy. With more time spent at home this year, many are using it as an opportunity to introduce a new furry friend to the family.
Whether you're a new puppy parent or cat carer, or simply looking into the process of getting a new pet, Woolworths Insurance has shared a few tips with us that will help you and your furry friend settle into life together without any unnecessary stress.
1. Find out as much as you can about your furry friend-to-be
Welcoming a pet into the home is a big decision; one that shouldn't be taken lightly. While a new pet may suit your current working-from-home lifestyle, it's important you consider how your pet will fit into your life long-term.
Do your research and speak to other people with pets to find out as much as you can about the pet you want. Are you committed to spending time training your new puppy? Will you be able to take your dog for sufficient walks?
Always be realistic about how much time and energy you can offer your pet. Some breeds require more exercise and stimulation than others which will greatly impact their health and wellbeing. If you can't commit right now, it may be better to hold off until you are sure you can give your new best friend all the love and attention they deserve.
2. Pick a breed that will suit your home and lifestyle
It's easy to fall in love with a new pet based solely on its appearance, however it's important to research your pet's breed to understand its behaviours, and then decide if it's the right fit for your home and lifestyle.
You may love golden retrievers, but if you have a small home and find it hard to fit daily walks in, it might not be the best breed choice for you and your family. On the other hand, greyhounds are perfect for apartments, as while they still require daily walks, they are much more relaxed and require less exercise.
Remember: different breeds need different amounts of exercise and attention.
3. Consider pet insurance
Pets can get themselves into all kinds of situations, many of which owners can find themselves unprepared for.
When an unexpected trip to the vet is needed, pet insurance may help give you that peace of mind.
Woolworths Pet Insurance offers three different plans to suit a range of needs.
The Comprehensive cover type is available for new pets over eight weeks and allows you to claim up to $24,000 each policy year including $50 Annual Benefit on either vaccinations or health checks and another $50 for certain treatments like desexing and teeth cleaning. Note that benefit limits vary by level of cover, and limits, exclusions and excesses may apply.
And for those times when you need to make a claim, Woolworths Pet Insurance has partnered with GapOnlyTM which reviews and calculates your claim on the spot at participating vets, meaning you only pay the gap (the difference between the Vet's invoice and the claim benefit under your policy=). When your local Vet doesn't have that option, you can easily make a quick claim online using the MyPet Portal.
4. Socialise dogs from a young age
If you've welcomed a beautiful puppy into your life during lockdown, it's important to make sure they begin to socialise from a young age. If a puppy does not get the chance to socialise with people and other pups, it can lead to behavioural problems in the future.
Socialising your dog will help them to learn how to navigate the world and respond to certain situations. It will help them be able to understand dangerous situations (such as busy roads) and how to react to them. Once your puppy has had all the necessary vaccinations, it's vital to their development they are introduced to other dogs. If not, often dogs can develop phobias and bad behaviours that can be hard to fix once they're older.
Enclosed dog parks and puppy schools are a safe place to start socialising your dog with other pups (and their owners). Woolworths Pet Insurance also offers a free and exclusive service with new Pet Insurance Policies called VetAssist+. VetAssist is a 24/7 service connecting pet parents to licensed Vets in Australia, through video chat or online, who can help with tips on training such as how to socialise your pup, behavioural tips and advice on when to take your pet to the local Vet.
Remember, in the event of an emergency you should contact your Vet immediately. VetAssist Vets are not able to prescribe medication or provide you with any information about your insurance policy.
5. Help them to build independence
With many of us working from home in 2020, it's given new pet parents a lot of time to spend with their new furry friends.
However, spending all day, every day with your pet can make them a little too dependent on your company. If you're returning to the office on weekdays once lockdown ends, it's crucial to give your dog some space now so that they learn that it's ok to be independent.
Try to leave your pet at home by themselves for at least one hour a day. That way, they'll know that when you leave it's ok and that you will return.
It may also be tempting to sneak them a lunch time treat but remember showing love to your cat or dog can be as simple as a pat or a scratch. So watch those treats!
6. Chat to the vet
If you do need advice but your local Vet is closed, or you notice changes in your pet but you're unsure if a visit is needed, VetAssist is able to connect pet parents with a Vet in less than two minutes#, providing a consultation from the comfort of your home via video call or online chat, 24/7.
93 per cent of customers who accessed VetAssist were happy with their experience~. (We're sure there's some happy pups out there too!)
Brought to you by Woolworths Pet Insurance
~ Based on VetAssist data from January 2019 - Oct 2020.
# Based on VetAssist data from July 2019 - April 2020.
+VetAssist is provided independently by VetChat Services Pty Ltd, separate to the insurance product. Woolworths reserves the right to withdraw or extend this offer at any time, without notice. View full Terms and Conditions on Woolworths Insurance website.
= Policy terms and conditions apply. GapOnly is only available at participating Vets. Please visit gaponly.com.au/find-a-gaponly-vet to search for GapOnly enabled vets.
Woolworths Pet Insurance is issued by Hollard, AFSL 241436. Any advice provided is general only. Consider the PDS at woolworths.com.au/insurance to decide if the product is right for you.