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Press Office

6th January 2009

Happy Mew Year!

January – ‘tis the season of fresh starts and good intentions. When you are planning on shunning bad habits this New Year - spare a thought for your pet’s routine.

Many people are guilty of over-indulging in the winter months and it can be tempting to over-feed your pet. Along with limited exercise, Christmas can slowly turn Fido into Fatty. So as we start to settle into 2009 Petplan is urging pet owners to set some new years rules for animals which can help both of you stick to a happy and healthy 2009.

Petplan, the UK’s leading pet insurance provider, have discovered that many pet owners maintain they have good intentions for the New Year as nearly half (43%) of Petplan customers confirmed that their pet would embark on a fitness regime in the New Year. The survey formed part of Petplan’s ‘12 Days of Christmas’ email campaign in which Petplan customers were asked what they would be doing with their pets over the Christmas period. The results showed a clear pattern of whatever an owner was doing; their pet would also be partaking in.

Petplan discovered it was not only humans who were glued to the television over Christmas. Three quarters of cats (74%) watched TV this Christmas along with 70% of dogs. Bizarrely over half (53%) of rabbits were put in front of the box as well. Before our pets turn into a nation of couch potatoes Petplan wants to help make 2009 the year of healthy pets.

Petplan’s 2008 Vet of the Year, Brian Faulkner has provided his New Years Resolutions for pets.

Top New Year Tips for Dogs

  • Measure out your dog’s food to what is an appropriate amount for their age and breed. Over-feeding is a common cause of obesity in animals.
  • Limit treats for your dog, snacking is one of the main causes of weight gain.
  • Take time to learn what is appropriate for your dogs’ age, shape and breed. For example Dalmatians require much more exercise than Yorkshire Terriers. If you want to learn more about what is right for your dog, simply ask your vet or vet nurse. They will be more than happy to help you with any queries or concerns you have.
  • Incorporate your dog into your exercise routine. Instead of hitting the gym, run with your dog. This can benefit both of your waistlines!
  • If you have a new puppy, consider enrolling them in an agility class. These are great for energetic dogs and can really help to bond owners with their new pet.
  • Invest in toys for your dog. These will help keep your dog active and stimulated at home.
  • Clean your dog’s teeth. Diseases can be deterred by preventative dental care. Even 30 seconds of brushing per day is better than not at all.
  • Think about your dog’s future. By taking out a pet insurance policy you can prevent having to pay expensive bills and unforeseen costs.

Top New Year Tips for Cats

  • Measure out your cat’s food and feed your feline at specific meal times. This will avoid over-feeding.
  • Limit treats for your cat as snacking is one of the main causes of weight gain.
  • Take time to learn what is appropriate for your cat’s age, shape and breed. Ask your vet for advice upon eating habits.
  • Develop a fitness regime for your cat; invest in toys to keep your cat entertained and active.
  • Think about your cat’s future. By taking out a pet insurance policy you can prevent having to pay expensive bills and unforeseen costs.

Top New Year Tips for Rabbits

  • Measure out your rabbit’s food and feed them at specific meal times. This will avoid over-feeding.
  • Limit treats for your bunny as snacking is one of the main causes of weight gain.
  • Take time to learn what is appropriate for your rabbit’s age, shape and breed. Your veterinary practice will be able to give great advice.
  • Develop a fitness regime for your rabbit; invest in toys and a lead to take your bunny on trips around the garden.
  • Think about your rabbit’s future. By taking out a pet insurance policy you can prevent having to pay expensive bills and unforeseen costs.

According to the Petplan survey, nearly half (44%) of rabbit owners confirmed that their bunny would take on some exercise in 2009. Sarah Statham from Lingfield, Surrey plans to incorporate her rabbits exercise into her everyday chores: ‘When I go to pick vegetables from the bottom of the garden I put my rabbit Totsy on a lead to give her a walk. She can have time spent away from her cage and have some exercise at the same time.’

For those of you who shudder at the thought of cold winter walks there are many alternative activities to partake in with you pet. Why not try dog dancing? Ann DeRizzio runs Heelwork to Music dog dancing classes. She says ‘the classes are fun and healthy for both dogs and their owners. There are dog dancing classes run all over the country by fellow enthusiasts’.

Petplan customer Jo Gunkel uses dancing to keep her Westie dog, Tilly moving. Jo says ‘As a cheerleader at Derby University I often practice my routine in the company of Tilly. She gets so excited when I’m jumping about that it gets her moving about too. It’s like we can practice my routines together. Obviously it’s good to know that I have Petplan pet insurance as peace of mind if Tilly does get too excitable and hurts herself!’

So don’t hibernate in 2009 – get moving with your pet!

Notes to editors

Petplan is the largest pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits.

Established more than 30 years ago, it is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.

For more information about Petplan cat insurance, please visit:
www.petplan.co.uk/factsheets/why-take-out-cat-insurance.asp

For more information about Petplan dog insurance, please visit:
www.petplan.co.uk/factsheets/why-take-out-dog-insurance.asp