Following the festive season, it’s the time when many of us take stock and reflect on the changes we can make as we enter a New Year.
For those of us sharing our lives with a pet, we know the significant commitment needed to ensure they too can lead their best lives. NOAH is encouraging pet owners to read and follow the instructions for any medicines their pet needs, with the New Year an ideal time to start.
NOAH’s ongoing campaign, Paws to Protect, promotes the safe and responsible use of veterinary medicines by all pet owners.
Encouragingly, NOAH’s recent survey revealed that 78% of pet owners are conscious of and follow their pet’s medication instructions. Nevertheless, this means there is still a gap in understanding for some, which needs to be addressed. The survey pointed to this being greater in the 16-34 age group, amongst whom pet ownership has risen recently.
Veterinary medicines undergo an extensive official approval process to be granted an authorisation allowing them to be sold. Part of that process includes agreement by experts on the wording on the label and packaging, giving instructions on how the medicine should be given, and any particular precautions that need to be taken. Medicines prescribed by the vet may have additional guidance, specific to an individual pet.
The campaign explains that medicines may not work properly if they are not given correctly, and there could even be potential risks associated with incorrect administration. Mistakes such as incorrect dosages or misapplication of treatments can potentially harm pets, their owners, and the environment.
For instance, mistakenly using dog flea treatments on cats can sometimes have fatal consequences for that cat. Similarly, it is essential that users understand the importance of following their vet’s instructions and completing prescribed antibiotic courses to help protect these valuable medicines for the future.
The campaign also emphasises how using medicines properly and responsibly not only benefits the health and welfare of the animal receiving it but has broader positive implications. By following packaging instructions and the vet’s advice, pet owners play an active role in protecting the environment and supporting regulatory controls that ensure the efficacy and safety of veterinary medicines.
Paws To Protect highlights practical advice on what pet owners can look out for to ensure they use veterinary medicines correctly:
Ensuring the right medicine is given to the correct species.
Dosage and Administration
Following correct dosages and administration guidelines.
Being aware of potential reactions and promptly consulting a vet.
Special Warnings and Storage
Adhering to storage instructions and special warnings.
Checking for expiration dates and avoiding stockpiling.
NOAH encourages pet owners to visit the website, engage with the campaign on social media using #Paws2Protect, and seek advice from their veterinary professionals to ensure they are administering medicines safely and responsibly.