Thinking of adopting a dog or cat? Pet ownership can be a wonderful experience and a great way for children to learn responsibility, kindness and respect. There are also a multitude of scientifically-proven upsides for kids who live with pets.
Children who have pets have been proven to:
However, once you have kids there are a few extra things to think about before you adopt a pet:
The good news is that you can take small steps before you commit entirely to pet ownership. The Humane Society offer a full range of volunteer options from ad hoc dog walking to becoming a foster parent before you decide whether pet ownership is for you.
Owning a pet is an exciting opportunity, but it does come with responsibilities and obligations. Here are some of the issues to keep in mind as a pet owner in Cayman:
Micro-chipping: You will need to micro-chip your pet to keep it safe. Micro-chipping is a painless one-off injection, placing a tiny chip in the scruff of the neck. Not only will it help identify your pet if it gets lost, it is essential for travelling overseas.
Immunisations: There are some core vaccinations that all dogs and cats need to have – DHPPL for dogs (distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, parvovirus, Leptospirosis) and FVRCP and FeLV for cats (Feline Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia, Leukemia).
There are also some non-compulsory vaccines, including for kennel cough (Bordatella) and rabies. These are given according to the risk of exposure so consult with your vet about your pet’s requirements.
Spaying & Neutering: Spaying and neutering is shown to increase longevity and health in pets and should occur when your pet is 4-6 months of age. Crucially, it also reduces over-population and homelessness on-Island. It is strongly recommended that owners get females spayed before their first season.
Heartworm Prevention: This is a widespread and potentially fatal disease affecting dogs and cats in Cayman, spread by mosquitoes. Thankfully, it is preventable and treatable – the use of monthly preventatives, in the form of chewable tablets, is mandatory.
Flea & Tick Prevention: Fleas and ticks are common in Cayman and regular monthly prevention is highly recommended.
Pet Food: A good quality diet reduces risk of metabolic disease and helps pets live longer, healthier lives. Avoiding raw food diets is strongly recommended in households with young children.
General Health: Familiarise yourself with your pet’s ‘normal’ behaviour and demeanour. Make a point to check their bodyweight, teeth, nails, coat and comfort regularly. An annual check with your vet is important to stay on top of their wellbeing and immunisations.
Don’t forget to include your pets in your hurricane planning. In the run up to hurricane season, make sure you have the following:
Note: Public hurricane shelters do not accept pets. You will need to make alternative arrangements if you are evacuating your home.
TOP TIP from Kman Vets: Pet insurance is not currently available on-Island, so preparation helps avoid tough decisions. We thoroughly recommend, where possible, that pet owners regularly put some money aside for unexpected eventualities or pet emergencies.
Worried about an unruly pet? Must Love Dogs provide group and private training sessions.
The Island’s ultimate pet destination. With two locations, Must Love Dogs is the Island’s ultimate pet destination to spa and…