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A research report* released today by Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa, suggests that half of all pet parents don’t visit the vet regularly for check-ups or vaccinations and over a third of pet parents only visit the vet when their pet is showing visible injuries or illness. Dr Barry Dallas, from Hill’s, says that this is not for lack of love for our pets, but rather busy lives that leads to vet visits often falling by the wayside.

Dr Dallas says that these statistics are alarming as pets can be masters of disguise when it comes to hiding pain or illness. “They rely solely on us to look after them and besides for providing good, nutritious food, affection, an enriching living environment, regular exercise and a safe and warm place to live, annual vet check-ups should be a priority.”

“As humans we don’t wait for something to go wrong before we take ourselves or family to the doctor; we go for regular check-ups, cholesterol tests, etc. So why wait until something is seriously wrong before taking your pet to the vet?” asks Dr. Dallas. “Prevention is better than cure and it’s much less stressful taking your dog or cat for their yearly check-up versus them having to go through scary treatments that will ultimately require a lot more vet visits and may be costly.”

Why then are so many South African pet parents missing their regular vet check-ups? We live in a time when information is at our fingertips; literally at the click of a button you can find a ‘diagnosis’ for a symptom. The same way you’d approach Dr Google to diagnose your own symptoms, pet parents are following suit when it comes to their pets.

Dr Dallas says, “There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and looking at your pet’s symptoms in isolation can be dangerous. The experience of a veterinarian allows for a holistic and comprehensive approach that can never be replaced.”

While it’s positive to note that just over 50% of the respondents believe their pet’s vaccinations are important and are diligent about having them done annually, 27% don’t get them done on a yearly basis and frighteningly 20% haven’t had their pets vaccinated since they were puppies or kittens.

This winter Hill’s is encouraging pet parents to take their dogs and cats to the vet for a check-up. Pet parents can go to and find out how to save up to R950**.


*Based on online consumer research conducted by Answered Insight: n=1000, South African Pet Owners, aged 18 years & older.

**T&Cs apply

Date Published: 10 June 2019