Caring for pets

Caring for pets

The information in this section is intended to help pet owners care for their pets responsibly. It covers the preventative health care available for dogs, cats and rabbits as well as pet health insurance. Pet owners should speak to a vet for further advice on their pet's health.


Neutering pets is widely recommended for their health and wellbeing. Landlords are also more likely to accept neutered pets in their properties.

Neutering is a simple operation to prevent animals from reproducing. It involves the removal of the reproductive organs and is available for dogs, cats and rabbits. Most animals will recover quickly from their surgery and will be back to normal within a few days.

Neutering is very beneficial as it:

  • Prevents unplanned pregnancies and unwanted litters
  • May make animals less aggressive and less likely to fight
  • Prevents many common illnesses such as cancers, pyometritis and prostrate problems
  • Stops animals from running off in search of a mate when they are in season


Microchipping is the most effective and secure way of permanently identifying pets. It's available for most animals but is more commonly used for cats and dogs. Microchipping will soon become a legal requirement for all dogs in England & Wales.

Microchipping is a simple procedure that involves implanting a microchip, which is the size of a grain of rice, under the animal's skin. It's no more painful than a normal vaccination.

Once microchipped, a unique identification number will be registered to the animal and the owner's contact details will be placed on a national database. Microchipping ensures that pets can be easily identified if lost and returned to their owner as quickly as possible.


Vaccinations are important to prevent animals from developing potentially life threatening illnesses. Dogs, cats and rabbits can be vaccinated against a wide range of illnesses and should be given an annual booster each year. The following vaccinations are available:

  • Dogs - canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and kennel cough
  • Cats - feline infectious enteritis (FIE), cat flu, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline chlamydophilosis
  • Rabbits - myxamitosis and viral hemorrhagic disease (VHD)

Flea treatments

Dogs, cats and rabbits can all be given regular treatments to prevent fleas. This is particularly important during the flea season (spring and summer). If an animal develops a flea problem, it's vital that the animal and the home are treated immediately. It's also advisable to professionally clean the home to minimise the risk of fleas returning.

Worming treatments

Worms are a common problem for cats and dogs. They can pose a serious health risk for pets if an infestation is not treated quickly. Worms can also be a risk to human health so it's important that pets receive regular preventative worming treatments.

Pet insurance

Pet insurance can be taken out for a wide range of pets, including cats, dogs and rabbits. Although it may seem unnecessary if your pets are fit and healthy, there is always the chance that they will need expensive and potentially life-saving veterinary treatment in future.

There are a number of things to consider when taking out a pet insurance policy:

  • If a pet has already been treated for a condition before taking out a policy, the insurance company will most likely not cover any further treatment for that condition.
  • Check how much the excess is for each claim. The excess will usually be between £30-£70 but this may increase as the animal gets older
  • Many insurance companies will not provide cover for older pets. Pet owners with existing policies may find that the premium goes up as their pet gets older.
  • Insurance premiums for crossbreed dogs and cats will often be cheaper than for pedigree or purebred pets. Prices may also differ depending on where you live in the UK, as this reflects local differences in veterinary fees.