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(Updated 3/5/01)

National Pet Week celebrates its 13th anniversary this year

if only they could talk....

BETWEEN SATURDAY 5 to Sunday 13 May 2001, National Pet Week will run its 13th week of events and fundraising, aimed at promoting responsible pet ownership. With a new theme of ‘Give your Pet a Vet’. NPW will be supported in 2001 by its patron, TV presenter and pet owner and lover, Phillipa Forrester.

Under its new theme, NPW 2001 will take a special look at how to keep our pets happy and healthy, from the way in which they communicate with us when feeling unwell, to the important role a vet plays in a pet’s life. As well as nearly half of UK households now owning a pet, people are becoming more adventurous in their choice of pet, from gecko to rats. NPW 2001 will show how all owners can detect early signs of illness, when to consult a vet, as well as reveal the often-strange ways pets try to tell us they are feeling poorly!

Over the past 12 years, National Pet Week (NPW) has successfully combined an education campaign to promote responsible pet ownership, with the opportunity for hundreds of people (and pets of course!) to get involved in fun and exciting events. NPW 2000 was again a popular event for pet lovers across the country, with almost 700 events held ranging from church services dedicated to pets to veterinary open days and pet shows.

New for 2001 is the launch of a NPW website, at Together with general information on NPW, the site features details on how to get involved in NPW 2001, including a list of events taking place in each area. Anyone wanting to hold an event can register via the web and access publicity and merchandise material as well as tips on running events. Alternatively, contact the NPW Administration Office PO Box 310, Pinner, Middlesex, HA5 4XU, Tel: 020-8428-7369.

If only they could talk...

Pets can’t talk so how do you know when they are sick? An important part of pet care is keeping an eye out for those warning signs - particularly as not all the signs are obvious. Some things to look out for are:
- Loss of appetite, especially over a few days
- Excessive or unusual thirst
- Mood swings - an animal in pain could be subdued or a usually gentle animal could become aggressive
- Outward signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea or difficulty in passing urine
- Stiffness can be a sign of diseases such as arthritis
- Persistent cough or sneeze can indicate a respiratory infection
- Bad breath can indicate teeth decay and gum disease - this can spread to the rest of the body causing serious illness
- Unusual secretions from the eyes, nose, bottom or genitals

The strange things they do...

Pets have funny ways of telling us they are ill...
- Animals often seek a hiding area when they are ill - be it the airing cupboard to the shed at the bottom of the garden
- If an anti-social pet suddenly becomes very loving, don’t just reel in this new affection - it may be trying to get you to notice that it isn’t feeling too good
- Many pets will show opposite signs of behaviour when they are under the weather; if your pet likes heat usually but is keen to find cold places round the house, consult your vet

Give your pet a vet...

Visiting your vet for a regular health check and not just when your pet is sick is one of the surest ways to keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible.
Regular health checks by a vet can:
Prevent disease and parasites: many pets now benefit from fewer serious illnesses due to vaccinations, as well as less scratching due to regular worming and flea control
Promote health: an annual fitness check can help to spot disease r illness early, as well as provide everyday advice on care and die.
Help pets live longer: early recognition of a disease allows early treatment. Plus regular visits, particularly during critical growth phases will help to identify problems that are difficult to rectify in later life and may result in a longer, and certainly happier, life.
Pets give us a great deal of pleasure. In return, it is an owner’s responsibility to ensure their needs are met to the full:
Think before you get a pet: consider lifestyle and budget to make sure you can care for a pet throughout its life
Avoid behavioural problems by training your pet - a well controlled pet is a pleasure to own and will also learn to socialise with other animals.
Feed a well balance diet: if in any doubt consult your vet
Provide suitable housing and bedding - consult breed societies if you are unsure
Clean up after your pet
Register with a vet: as well as vaccinations and regular health checks, pets can benefit from specialist advice from diet and care, to neutering and behavioural problems. It will also help in the event of an accident or emergency - you won’t have the additional stress of trying to find a vet.
Clean and groom your pet: as well as keeping your pet clean, it will be a good chance to look out for signs of parasites or illness
Insure your pet, so you are covered for unexpected veterinary fees and third party liability if your animal causes an accident.

Did you know...
One in almost two UK households owns a pet - that’s around 12 million households providing homes to 6.7 million dogs, 7.7 million cats, 26.6 million fish, 1.5 million rabbits and 1 million budgies.

As well as being loving and loyal companions, pets can be good for our health too. Their companionship and sociability has been sown to reduce blood pressure and stress and improve recovery after an illness. Pets also perform an important role in the family by helping to nurture children’s ability to care and be responsible.
There are over 12,000 registered vets in the UK, with about 10,000 veterinary surgeons in general practice supported by over 7,000 veterinary nurses.