What can you do for pets in need during National Pet Month?

From being a volunteer dog walker or cat confidence-builder, to using your gaming skills to raise charity cash, booking a pet-friendly holiday that donates part of the fee, or even signing up for an incredible personal challenge – sponsored skydive anyone? – discover how you could make a difference to the lives of unwanted pets and support the organisations that
Featured image for What can you do for pets in need during National Pet Month?
6th April 2023

From being a volunteer dog walker or cat confidence-builder, to using your gaming skills to raise charity cash, booking a pet-friendly holiday that donates part of the fee, or even signing up for an incredible personal challenge – sponsored skydive anyone? – discover how you could make a difference to the lives of unwanted pets and support the organisations that care for them.

Every April, National Pet Month (NPM) celebrates and raises awareness of responsible pet ownership through educational campaigns and resources, based around the five key welfare needs of our pets – Companionship, Behaviour, Diet, Health and Environment.

Throughout the month, pet and vet professionals will be sharing top tips on everything from good pet nutrition and the importance of regular health checks, vaccinations and correctly reading labels to disease prevention, dental health and cleaning up after our pets. There’ll also be advice on puppy and kitten training, creating a dog friendly office, the benefits of taking on an older rescue animal, plus a guide on how to become a sustainable pet owner.

Supporting pet owners at a challenging time

National Pet Month’s Nicole Paley says: “Post pandemic, it’s a challenging time for many caring for animals, so it’s important that now, more than ever, National Pet Month, working alongside pet and vet professionals, offers good, practical support and advice to pet owners.

Nicole Paley highlights the heart-breaking fact that some owners have had to make the hardest of decisions to give up a pet for adoption, with many pets finding themselves back at rescue or suffering from separation issues as people have gone back to the office.

She adds: “With this in mind, we want pet owners to know there is help available and encourage them to seek support from pet organisations before taking this difficult step. Sometimes just one conversation with a vet or pet professional can make a positive difference for you and your animal companion. By joining in National Pet Month 2023 we can all work together to care for our pets responsibly.”

Check out one of National Pet Month’s blogs – Pets: Lifelong companions that are good for our health >>

How to get involved in #NationalPetMonth

Help spread the word about responsible pet ownership and how important our animal companions are by following NPM social channels and sharing your pet stories, photos and videos. Remember to include the hashtags #NationalPetMonth or #NPM23 in your social posts and tag NPM.

Which way will you choose to help pets in need?  

Along with promoting responsible pet ownership, making people aware of the mutual benefits of living with pets and raising awareness of the value of working and assistance companion animals, NPM also encourages fundraising for UK pet welfare charities and organisations.

During the cost-of-living crisis, animal charities across the UK have been inundated with unwanted pets and need support. The good news is, there are all sorts of ways you can help. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling...

  • BECOME A REGULAR DONOR – A small monthly donation of £3 can be vital to charities such as PDSA, which cares for pets whose owners can’t afford the full cost of their veterinary treatment, and could help to buy syringes for one of its pet hospitals. PDSA states: “Your monthly donation means we can secure more income and plan for a future where we can reach every family that needs us.” Alternatively, you could take out a Currensea debit card with Dogs Trust that enables you to make charitable donations each time you spend at home or abroad.
  • BECOME A SPONSOR – From as little as £5 a month you could sponsor a Battersea Cat Cabin. This will make sure there's always somewhere safe and warm for lost and abandoned cats to call home while they wait to find a family. Your £5 would provide each new cat arriving in your Cabin with the blankets, toys and treats they need.
  • DONATE ITEMS – Most rescue shelters and rehoming groups need pet food, bedding, blankets, towels, old newspapers, cat litter, litter trays and scoops, scratching posts, feeding bowls, hay and toys – so, next time you’re having a declutter, see what pet-related items you can spare. Ask any pet-owning friends too so you can put together a bundle of goodies. In addition, if you can donate any good quality, clean items – from unwanted clothes, shoes and homewares – these can be sold in pet charity shops to raise vital funds.
  • DONATE YOUR TIME – Animal sanctuaries could not operate without a willing band of volunteers. Check out rescue centres in your local area and see what opportunities are available. You could be walking and playing with dogs or spending time with cats to help them grow in confidence, carrying out home checks for potential new owners, capturing photos and videos for the sanctuary’s website, helping with feeding times or lending a hand in the laundry with the washing. Whichever way you help out, it will be hugely appreciated.
  • GO ONLINE SHOPPING – From homewares and garden gifts at the RSPCA to cards, gifts and pet toys at Blue Cross and collars, coats, beds and toys at Battersea, buying from a pet charity’s online shop helps support the animals in their care.
  • SIGN UP FOR AN INCREDIBLE CHALLENGE – Whatever your personal milestone moment may be, why not achieve it for an animal charity? You could run a 5K for PDSA (there’s even a free training plan included), 10K, Park Run or a marathon for RSPCA, take up the Doggy Paddle Challenge for Dogs Trust to swim 1 to 21 miles in 8 weeks, or release your inner daredevil by doing a sponsored skydive for Battersea.
  • PLAY A PET LOTTERY– If being sponsored to do an activity is not your thing, how about playing a pet lottery for Blue Cross or Cats Protection? It’s just £1 to enter, with 100s of prizes each week including a top prize of £1,000 and a quarterly superdraw of between £10,000 and £25,000!
  • PUT YOUR GAMING SKILLS TO GOOD USE – If you’re deep inside Minecraft, fascinated by Fortnite or enjoy the team-based strategizing of League of Legends, then why not take your usual gaming and streaming sessions and supercharge them with fundraising mode. Find out how with the Blue Cross Guide to Streaming & Playing for Pets.
  • BOOK A PET-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY– Whether you're looking for a dog-friendly cottage or a lakeside lodge, a holiday park or even a boating break, Dogs Trust Holidayshas the pawfect getaway for you and your pet. And for every booking you make, 10% of the booking price goes straight to Dogs Trust.

Whichever way you decide to help out pets in need, remember the key message that all animals need responsible owners and follow National Pet Month’s top 10 tips for responsible pet ownership >>

  1. Think carefully before getting a pet and learn about their special requirements.
  2. Ensure your pet is sociable and well trained.
  3. Provide a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
  4. Provide suitable housing and bedding.
  5. Clean up after your pet and worm them regularly.
  6. Protect against disease. Your vet can provide you with advice.
  7. Prevent unwanted litters and neuter your pet when appropriate.
  8. Groom your pet.
  9. Control your pet and ensure it is properly identified.
  10. Take out pet insurance for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses to cover against unexpected veterinary fees and third-party liability.

How Burgess cares more for our pet animals

Burgess in-house vet, Dr Suzanne Moyes, says: “At Burgess Pet Care, as well as making healthy, nutritious pet food, we strongly believe in responsible pet ownership. We are dedicated to improving the health and welfare of animals through research and education. We worked with the University of Edinburgh on a ground-breaking study which highlighted the risks to rabbits’ health associated with muesli style diets and selective feeding. We also invest in activities such as Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW), launched in 2006, the UK’s biggest and best rabbit welfare campaign.”

CARE MORE: Helping you to help your pets live their best lives

  • Got a question about caring for your pets or about the best way of feeding them? Ask our vet >>
  • Looking for helpful advice for your pets? We’ve lots of great tips to help you give your animals the best life on our pet care pages >>
  • Want to stay up to date with the latest news, trends and pet care advice? Head over to our Pet Talk blog >>

Is your dog a Burgess dog? Your cat a Burgess cat? Your small pets Burgess small pets? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

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5 WAYS TO GET THE WHOLE FAMILY INVOLVED IN PET CARE From being involved in looking after a pet and learning a sense of responsibility, to fun activities you can all do together, we’ve 5 IDEAS to get all the family involved.

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PROTECT YOUR PET’S HEALTH Show how much you love your pets by protecting their health during the cost-of-living crisis. The RSPCA advises: “The longer your pet is unwell the worse their illness can become. Getting your pet to the vet quickly tends to lower the long-term cost of vet bills, as well as helping improve your pet's wellbeing sooner.”

MAKE EVERY DAY A PLAY DAY FOR YOUR PETS Not only is play important for young humans, it’s also essential for young animals too. As well as being lots of fun, play is how they learn and explore the world around them. And, if you have pets and small children, it can be a wonderful experience watching them play and grow together.

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