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Top 10 Pet Owner Mistakes

dog owner cute blogPet parents usually have good intentions when it comes to raising their feline and canine companions, but sometimes mistakes are made. Be sure to avoid these ten common pet care pitfalls:

1. Adopting a pet on a whim: Pets are a long-term commitment that require care, time, and money. The decision to adopt a new pet should be discussed with everyone in the household and preparations should be made before bringing a new animal home.

2. Not properly socializing young pets: Puppies and kittens need to be exposed to a variety of people and situations to build trust and social skills. Not providing proper socialization opportunities can translate into problem behaviors later in life.

3. Yelling at your dog for an accident: Housebreaking can be a trying time for any pet owner, but if you come home to a mess, scolding won’t help. Your pet won’t be able to associate your anger with the accident that likely happened much earlier in the day. Instead, offer plenty of praise when your pup does his business outside.

4. Skipping flea and tick medication: Parasites are a serious threat to dogs and cats. Opting to not protect your pet from fleas and ticks puts them at risk for an infestation and serious disease. Stick to a regular flea and tick control regimen to keep these harmful pests away.

5. Refilling the food bowl: Your intentions may be good, but always keeping your pet’s food bowl full is a big mistake. Overweight and obese animals are at a greater risk for heart disease, arthritis, and other serious medical issues. Discuss the proper amount of food for your pet with a vet and stick to it.

6. Letting your dog walk you: Basic training makes for a more well-adjusted dog and a happier owner. Also, taking a poorly trained large dog for a walk is a dangerous situation that can result in injury.

7. Giving pets too much alone time: Long periods of time without human interaction can lead to separation anxiety, which can cause undesirable behaviors like barking, digging, clawing, chewing, and inappropriate soiling. This is especially true with dogs. Look for other options while you’re gone during the day including a visit from a pet-sitter, doggie day care, or a regular dog walker.

8. Failing to set rules: Dog and cats don’t instinctively know that the couch is off-limits or that clawing at the carpet is bad. Use positive reinforcement to set firm and consistent rules from the beginning. Failing to set consistent boundaries will confuse pets and make training much more difficult later on.

9. Not properly supervising pets and kids: Children should be taught how to appropriately handle pets and should always be under the supervision of an adult. Sometimes a child’s enthusiasm can be misinterpreted by an animal, which can lead to a dangerous situation.

10. Skipping vet checkups: Regular veterinary visits ensure pets are always up-to-date on vaccinations and make it more likely that symptoms of serious illnesses are caught early on. Keep your four-legged best friend healthy by committing to annual checkups.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Miss Vicky January 13, 2015, 8:16 am

    I would add, “Year-Round and never missing a Heart Worm medication” I know at least three people who missed only a month or two and their dogs ended up with heart worms. It’s a terrible treatment that poisons your pet and you DO NOT want them to go through that!

    • VetDepot January 13, 2015, 8:30 am

      Heartworms are definitely a dangerous threat. Thank you for the comment.

  • Cindy January 13, 2015, 11:24 pm

    The thing about full bowls of pet food. I have ALWAYS kept dog food available in their dishes – I’m talking 40 years plus of experience doing this (I’m 60 years old) and I have NEVER had an obese dog. As long as you start them out young, free feeding them, they are never hungry, so eat just what they need. Those that I have known that feed two or three times a day, then withhold food have obese dogs.

    My experience is that if you start them out young with ample food at all times, they will only eat what they need to not feel hungry and maintain an optimum weight for their age/size.

    • Susan Thomas January 14, 2015, 9:31 am

      Self-feeding: It works for some, but some dogs who are extremely food-motivated may keep eating past satiety. Especially a rescue who was starving.

    • Linda Anderson January 22, 2015, 3:54 pm

      You have to take into account many factors including the difference between breeds, age and background (a bred at home or rescued pet). We are are obligated to know our pets and do what is best. A good pet owner is an educated one, whether you choose free feeding or use a crate. Keep in mind pet recommendations from 30 yrs. ago or even 10yrs ago are not the same today. Again, education and willingness to accept that knowledge are key to a happy healthy pet.

  • Cheryl January 14, 2015, 11:18 am

    I also free feed and never had a problem.
    I start all my pups at 4 wks with dry puppy kibble available at all times, along with their main puppy mash. I can understand a rescue that has been starved or a dog that is in a kennel All day while your at work may have a problem. But I believe if a dog has to be in a 2×3 cage all day , you might not really need a dog right now. I have rescued many dogs and none are over weight, but they have 10 acres to run it off.

  • Jennifer McCollum January 14, 2015, 3:30 pm

    A good list with a glaring omission: Not Getting Your Pet Spayed/Neutered in Time

  • Donna McConn February 24, 2015, 6:55 am

    Great information! One thing you left out which is so important in many states: Monthly heart worm prevention.

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