Having a pet is not always a bed of rose as we are bound to make certain mistakes along the way.
Many of the times these may be unintentional but can have devastating consequences in the long run.
We have thus put together an article of some of the basic pet owner mistakes that take place and how to get around them.
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”– Martin Buber
1. Getting a pet spontaneously
I know that the pet at that store may have such an adorable looking face and smile that you simply cannot resist.
Do not do anything in haste I repeat ‘do not’ as it is one of the most common mistakes of pet owners.
They adopt the dog or cat and then realize that it is more of a burden than a blessing due to the amount of time and attention that you have to give them.
You must always ask yourself these questions before you adopt a pet
Allocating a substantial amount of time has become increasingly difficult for us in today’s world.
Ask yourself a set of questions before you think about purchasing a pet:
Do I have the time to take care of all the activities that are associated with the pet?
Can I afford the pet?
Is my living space big enough to accommodate the pet?
Will I be able to take care of the shedding, illnesses and physical activities of the pet?
2. Not giving enough training
Routing out bad habits from a pet can be a really tough task, especially after some time has passed by.
You may not have started the formal training but you can always teach your pet the simple commands that he/she should follow.
You should keep a minimum of 30-40 minutes of training every day so that your pet is constantly in touch with all the commands.
Keep in mind not to extend your sessions to more than 45 minutes as most of them will be mentally exhausted after this time.
It is also important that you give them breaks in between for all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Training should ideally be provided in a quiet place which does not have many distractions.
If you find it difficult you can also contact some of your local pet training classes to ease out some of your tension.
3. No proper socialization
According to research pets that are not exposed to different people and animals at a young age tend to become fearful and can also develop aggressive behaviors.
For dogs, the critical socialization period is from 3-12 weeks whereas for cats it is 2-8 weeks according to Nicholas Dodman who is director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
Scientists have even said that if the socialization process within pups does not occur in 14 weeks the withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that it becomes almost impossible to have healthy relationships.
For more information on this topic, you can check out the companion psychology journal.
Try to make them interact with as many people of different ages and sexes as well as different breeds of dogs as possible as it will help in the later behavioral process.
4. Delaying training
Procrastination is the thief of time as it pushes and delays all the important things in life.
As we discussed in the previous point it is important that you instill good habits in your pet from an early stage itself.
Delaying training is a very common pet owner mistake as people tend to think that there is ample of time and tomorrow will always be a perfect day to teach them something.
In reality the more you delay the tougher it is to train your dog properly.
You can ideally start teaching them commands at 7-8 weeks of age.
Remember that at this tender age it is best to teach your pet with positive reinforcements and in a gentle manner.
Keep the training short and simple and the attention span at this time is quite low.
5. Not providing enough exercise
Pets have lot of energy and enthusiasm built up inside of them.
This excitement needs to be released in some form or the other or else it may result in aggressive and hostile behavior.
According to Cesar Millan (the host of The Dog Whisperer), you must walk your dog for at least 30 minutes 2 times a day.
You can make these exercises more fun by including activities like fetch or maybe even a game of Frisbee.
The exercise routine must be fun and not necessarily monotonous and mechanical.
6. Avoiding the vet.
Our pets cannot communicate with us, which is all the more reason for us to take them frequently to the vet so that you are assured that they are fit and fine.
It is the responsibility of a good pet owner to take his pet regularly to the vet.
Your vet will also provide you with essential details so that you can take better care of your pet.
Moreover, the vaccinations that they provide can also help save your pet from various diseases like rabies and parvovirus.
Lumps on the skin, increasing and decreasing bodyweight, joint stiffness and changes in the ability to walk caused by arthritis occur so slowly that it isn’t even visible to the naked eyes.
A vet being an experienced practitioner will be able to sort out these problems
7. Neglecting dental health
This is one of the major pet owner mistakes in recent times as it is really easy to neglect the dental health of your dog.
There are many innovative toys and ways by which you can keep your pet’s teeth in pristine condition without having to take them to the doctor on numerous occasions.
Bad dental health can also lead to an increased risk of diabetes, heart diseases and also a broken jaw.
Bad teeth may also lead to sensitivity just as in normal human beings.
You can check out further details about the adverse effects of not maintain the dental health of your pet here.
8. Not feeding properly
Do you know the basics when it comes to different pet foods? Not everything is the same and there is no one food fits all kind of material.
The ingredients do matter and please consult with your vet before you randomly pick up some packet of pet food from your local store.
He will give you proper advice as to what should be included and excluded in your pet’s diet.
I know that food is important but anything out of moderation will always lead to unwanted consequences.
Scan all the ingredients that go into the food especially if your pet has some form of allergy or sickness.
Doctors have also noted that a poor diet can also lead to cancer.
9. Not including the expenses of the pet while budgeting
Owning a pet is not an easy affair especially when it comes to finances.
Most of the things have become expensive right from cost of living to basic necessities and inflation hasn’t helped in any way.
At such times adopting a pet, requires taking on additional responsibilities not only in terms of attention but also money.
They have separate needs such as special pet foods and regular check up’s to the vet and we haven’t even taken other aspects as their toys or any sudden illnesses into account yet.
All of this will amount to a lot and this is a common pet owner mistake that happens.
10. Not putting a proper ID tag on your pet
Wouldn’t you’re heartache if your beloved companion was to get lost and never return?
God forbid that anything would ever happen but if your pet were to get lost for any reason whatsoever how will anybody be able to identify him with you?
The ID tag can be a savior as in any unforeseen circumstance it can connect you to your pet.
11. Letting behavior out of control
It is important that you keep your pet in check right from the beginning as it can become increasingly difficult to change or control their behavior as they grow older.
It may start as a small thing but most often than not it will certainly grow worse.
If you feel that the problem is escalating, you can even take the help of a certified professional.
12. Dispensing to many free treats
The treats will lose their value if you keep giving them away without your pet having to work for them.
A good way to do this is to think of treats as currency and only give it when you get the desired behavior from your pets.
This is a great way to condition and train your pet.
Treats are a good way of positive reinforcement but when you start dispensing too many of them they lose their value.
13. Not keeping your pet mentally active
An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and hence it is essential that you keep your pet busy and productive.
There are many new toys in the market that will constantly keep their mind occupied.
For example, a treat dispensing toy is a good toy to stimulate and activate the brain cells of your beloved.
To check out more such options click here.
14. Leaving them alone for too long
Nobody likes to be lonely and the same thing applies to our pets too.
If you are not going to be around often then adopting a pet can be a cruel thing as it will ultimately lead to separation anxiety and even destructive behavior within the pet.
No man can live like an island churning through life alone, the same follows for your dear and beloved pet too.
Even if you have to go somewhere urgently, see that you hire someone who will look and take care of them in your absence.
Time is essential and it is certainly one of the criteria to take into consideration before you look to purchase a pet.
15. Failing to make your house pet-friendly
It is essential that we create a safe environment in which our furry friends can play, learn and create several experiences for us and themselves.
While trying to pup proof your house it is important that you look at it from a pet’s point of view.
Look for items and places that can be a possible cause of strangulation, choking or electrocution.
Be careful that you do not leave any human food or medication, where your pet will have access to them.
There are so many cats that fall out of windows that veterinarians have even coined a term for it which is ‘high rise syndrome’.
A cat may be able to land on its feet but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have a safe landing.
Some of these landings are even known to be severe and fateful.
Pets just like children are inquisitive creatures hence it is important that there is nothing that can cause them to harm in their immediate surroundings.
16. Not researching on the breed
It is important that you do your research well before you purchase or adopt a pet as every breed has different specifications and requirements.
A one thing fits all approach does not work here.
Some require more grooming whereas some require more exercise, some of them do not grow that much whereas some of them are also known to be as long as their human companions.
Obviously with so many variations in body size the diet will have to change accordingly.
The diet for a more active dog will be much higher in calories as compared to carbohydrates, proteins etc.
For example, a border collie will burn more fat as compared to a basset hound as it is more active and will also have different dietary needs.
If you want to learn more about the diets of different breed click here.
17. Sharing food from your plate
I know that it can be so tempting to share food from your plate when your pet makes those puppy eyes in front of you.
Beware this is only inviting more trouble as your pet may not be able to digest everything that you eat.
This is one of the most common pet owner mistakes till date.
We just discussed the different dietary needs according to the breeds hence it is really not suitable to give them anything from your plate.
18. Pushing too hard in case of a mistake
You may think that you will shout at him because he created a mess in the living room but the truth is that he won’t relate the screaming to his actions.
Never use physical means to punish him for it will only make him fear you, rather you could say something like ‘no’ or ‘away’ in a firm tone.
Avoiding these basic mistakes can teach you how to be a good pet owner.
They will instill in you the qualities of a good pet owner.
Thus only after you have addressed all of the points can you answer the question should I get a dog or should I get a cat.
“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”– Jean Cocteau