As pet owners, we always strive to be the best pet parent for our beloved furry friends. However, as we are only human, we can still make mistakes at times. Thus, to help existing or would-be pet parents, we have put together a small list of the most common mistakes pet owners make.
Mistake #1: Neglecting Veterinary Care
One of the most common mistakes pet owners make is not taking their pet for regular veterinary check-ups. Routine checks and vaccinations are one of the best ways to help your pet avoid health problems later in their lives. Furthermore, regular appointments at the clinic can also help your vet detect early signs of any illnesses.
Just like us, pets catch viruses and colds. If you notice any unusual symptoms like sneezing or having a runny nose, it is crucial to get them to a vet. This helps prevent illnesses from getting worse and becoming even more serious.
Additionally, if your pet is vomiting, crying or whimpering excessively, showing signs of being in pain or simply acting strange, you should also contact your vet as soon as possible. Some barely noticeable, but strange symptoms might indicate that there is something wrong, or that there is a larger underlying issue. Hence, we will need to be extra attentive and cautious as good pet parents.
Mistake #2: Neglecting to Spay or Neuter Your Pet
It is a common misconception that spaying or neutering your pet will cause them to become lazy and/or overweight. Instead, spaying and neutering your pets actually decreases aggression. It also lowers chances of breast cancer and pyometra for female pets, and the risk of testicular cancer for males.
Furthermore, thousands of innocent cats and dogs out there are being put down or are suffering due to uncontrolled overpopulation. Through spaying and neutering your pets, you can help potentially save thousands of lives.
Mistake #3: Changing Diets Without Consulting The Vet
We all want to feed our pets with the best, healthiest food out there. However, with so many new, popular fads like raw or vegan diets (some of which might not be beneficial to all pets!), pet owners might not be sufficiently informed about what is exactly suitable or not for their furry friend.
For example, raw diets are extremely popular right now. However, they might not be suitable for dogs with cancer, immunosuppressive diseases and severe kidney or liver failure. In addition, with more pet owners choosing vegan diets for themselves, they are also switching their pets to meat-free recipes. Consequently, his can be dangerous for pets as they might be at larger risk of protein or vitamin deficiencies.
Moreover, our pets may have different individual needs when it comes to their health and diet, like having allergies or certain illnesses. Thus, it would be wise to always consult your vet when adding, changing or restricting certain foods or supplements.
However, if you are planning to introduce your pet to start a new diet and formula or are changing proteins, do make sure to gradually transition them to their new food!
Mistake #4: Overfeeding
It’s so hard to resist giving in when your dog looks at you with the most pitiful puppy dog eyes begging for food or when your cat is constantly meow-ing for treats. Although it’s okay to occasionally reward your pets, many pet owners tend to overdo it.
Overfeeding can easily lead to weight gain and cause serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Limit the treats you give and only feed them foods that are suitable for them. If you’d like to give your dog treats for training or other purposes, consider some low-calorie treat options.
Mistake #5: Not Setting Boundaries
Pets are like people in many ways. If we do not set strict boundaries from the start, they might walk all over you. This is because our pets thrive on consistency and some may even react badly to changes (especially so for cats!).
Set rules and boundaries from the start and stick to them. Not only would our pets be better housemates, but it also helps prevent stress & confusion when they get punished for behaviour that is usually accepted.
Mistake #6: Leaving Pets Unsupervised Around Young Children
Most pets are great around children. However, it is never wise to leave your pets with your children unsupervised. Sometimes, children may unknowingly frighten or inflict pain and discomfort through making loud noises or playing rough. Since children may not be able to interpret warning signs like growling and hissing, pets may act out, leaving your children with bites and scratches.
Mistake #7: Not Thinking Before Adopting
Finally, we have perhaps one of the most common mistakes pet owners make — not thinking through before adopting a pet. Although a cute pet sounds like a great Christmas or birthday present, they are still life-long commitments to make. These animals become the owner’s responsibility for their entire lifespan. Unfortunately, too many pets are still being abandoned or surrendered to animal shelters right after the holiday season today.
Before you bring a pet into your home, think carefully and take the time to research your pet and what to expect. Not only do soon-to-be pet owners need to ensure that everyone in their household is on the same page, but also will be able to take care of their pet’s financial needs.