Choose wisely: RSPCA’s pet project 

BABY animals are cute and cuddly, just like this five-day-old miniature pony,  but the message from veterinarians and the  RSCPA this Christmas is choose wisely and choose a pet you are willing to keep for life.

This little filly is adorable and will only grow to about 76 centimetres.

She is worth about $6000 but will eat hundreds of dollars worth of food a month, and the vet bills for horses can be  quite costly.

That is why Orange RSPCA manager Marissa Clifford says you should think before you buy. 

“Buying a pet is a lifetime commitment. Before you buy a pet for a  Christmas gift  make sure it suits them and their lifestyle, particularly when it comes to grooming and exercise,” she said.

Ms Clifford was also concerned about pets at Christmas time, when families left to go on holidays. 

She said it was important  for people to nominate a second person on their pet's microchip in case the pet escapes. 

The RSPCA can only release a pet to a nominated person registered on the microchip. 

"Also, make sure there is plenty for pets to do while you're away," she said. 

"You don't want them getting bored because then they escape and end up here.

Orange Veterinary Hospital veterinarian Megan Kelly said over-indulging at Christmas was just as bad for pets as it was for humans. 

"People tend to give pets human food. Fatty, salty foods are not fit for pets," she said.

She said owners must be vigilant and watch for warning signs of food poisoning for dogs and cats, and watch out for ticks if pets are going on holiday.

Ms Kelly also warned pets  given as gifts at Christmas time should be fully vaccinated before they leave the safe confines of the backyard. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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