On World Animal Day, think about how you can help

Volunteer: Rescue groups are in desperate need of volunteers to help clean, feed, exercise and socialise with the animals.
Volunteer: Rescue groups are in desperate need of volunteers to help clean, feed, exercise and socialise with the animals.

World Animal Day, on October 4, aims to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.

According to the most recent report by Animal Medicines Australia, more than 62 percent of Australian households own an animal. Yet every year it is estimated 200,000 pets are left unclaimed in Australian pounds due to a range of issues.

In celebration of World Animal Day and animal friendships nationally, PETstock provided tips on how to keep your pets happy and healthy, as well as help raise awareness and support for animals in need.

Caring for your pets

  • Diet: Considering giving Fido a treat on World Animal Day? According to PETstock VET Dr Hay Chung, treats are fine but pets need a healthy, well balanced diet. "High-end treats should only be given on occasions as over-feeding could cause weight gain or other health-related issues. Always check with your local vet," she said.
  • Show the love: Positive interaction such as cuddling or patting your pet helps strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. "Spending quality time and paying special attention to animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits and even pet mice improves their developmental and social skills, as well as their general health and mental wellbeing," Dr Hay Chung said.
  • Regular exercise: All animals need their daily dose of exercise. Most dogs love exploring new and interesting places with their best friend. Vary your daily walks as new routes provide exposure to exciting smells and different stimulation.

Caring for all animals

  • Use social media: Join local animal groups and community events online and search local news publications for celebrations taking place near you this World Animal Day.
  • Volunteer: Get your fix of cuddles and playtime by volunteering at your local animal shelter. Rescue groups are often small, grassroots organisations that depend on the generosity of volunteers. Rescue groups are in desperate need of volunteers to help clean, feed, exercise and socialise with the animals.
  • Adopt: Pet companionship has been linked with so many benefits - lower levels of stress and anxiety, reduced risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, improved mood, and help with loneliness and depression. Not to mention the incredible feeling that comes from knowing you've saved a life. As many Australians are becoming more aware of how their decisions impact the environment, pet adoption provides a sustainable option for pet ownership. More and more have turned away from puppy farms and dogs bred with cuteness rather than health in mind and want to save a rescue pet.
  • Foster: If your circumstances are not quite right to take on the responsibility of owning a pet full time, there are plenty of animals in desperate need of foster carers. Rather than remaining in shelters, foster care provides a loving home environment for rescue pets while they wait for their forever home. It's an incredibly rewarding experience and the perfect way to help if you can't take on a full-time pet.
  • Donate: There are hundreds of incredible organisations and charities who are making a difference to the lives of animals and families such as PETstock's charity organisation PETstock Assist. Their charity work includes supporting rescue groups, fundraising for animal charities, organising national food drives, providing discounted vet care and in-store adoption drives. With continued support these valuable organisations can help even more animals in need.

About World Animal Day

World Animal Day dates was started in Berlin in 1925 by Heinrich Zimmermann, the publisher of German magazine Man and Dog. The day was originally held in March but was moved to October 4 in 1929 to be in line with the day of Francis of Assisi, a patron saint who was believed to be able to talk to animals. The event is now recognised in more than 100 countries and has been used in several places as the base to successfully lobby for better treatment of animals.