Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is urging pet owners with any doubts or worries about their pet to consult a vet.

More than 60% of the dogs taken in by Battersea are not microchipped.

It wants 2015 to be a great year for animals and has produced several tips it says will benefit both owners and their pets.

Battersea is telling owners: “If you’ve spotted something different with your pet’s appearance or behaviour, pop into your local vet to get it checked out and stay ahead of any potential problems.

“Animals need annual vaccinations, so why not include a health MoT as well? This way you can hopefully avoid any hefty or unexpected vet bills.”

Here are some of the charity’s other suggestions for owners.

Get chipped
With microchipping becoming the law for all dogs in England in April 2016, it makes sense to get this done now. A microchip the size of a grain of rice is the only permanent way of identifying pets, ensuring a lost animal can be reunited with its owner as quickly as possible and helping to reduce the problem of strays on our streets. A total of 61 per cent of dogs (and 85 per cent of cats) that came into Battersea’s London home in 2013 were not microchipped. Pets should also have collars and ID tag showing the owner’s contact details.

Dog-proof your garden
To keep dogs safe and secure in gardens, and to keep other dogs out, make sure you have suitable, sturdy fencing. Also, beware of any poisonous plants or toxic chemicals in your garden.

Make sure your pet is neutered
Battersea is convinced the numbers of unwanted cats and dogs could be dramatically reduced if only owners had decided to neuter their pets. Neutering not only prevents unwanted litters, but can also prevent tumours and other health problems in the mother. Battersea neuters all adult dogs before they go to new homes and cats from about nine weeks.

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