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9 Mistakes You Need To Avoid If You Have Pets

pet mistakes

Pets are so much more than just animals who live in our homes—they’re part of the family! And as part of the family, we have a responsibility to our pets to make the best decisions we can on their behalf, starting from before we even bring them home.

Unfortunately, not everything about owning or caring for a pet is as straightforward as we’d like it to be! There are plenty of things that we get wrong as pet owners, but we can avoid making big mistakes if we know what to avoid.

And that’s exactly what I hope to achieve in today’s blog post! We’ll be exploring 9 of the most common mistakes that pet owners make, so we can all avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

9 Of The Most Common Mistakes That Pet Owners Make

pet mistakes

1. Getting A Pet Impulsively

The decision to add a furry friend to your household is a big one, and it shouldn’t be made lightly. While it can be tempting to bring home that cute kitten or puppy ASAP, it’s more important to take your time so you can make the right decision for you, your family, and your new pet!

Take time to consider all the factors, including costs, time commitment, exercise and activity requirements, temperament, and more. And make sure to involve the whole family or household in the decision to ensure everyone is on the same page!

pet mistakes

2. Failing To Socialize Puppies

You may be nervous about allowing your new puppy to interact with other pups, but socialization is an important part of a puppy’s development! It can also prevent your dog from exhibiting fear or aggression towards unfamiliar animals or people.

There are a lot of ways to give your puppy the opportunity to socialize with other dogs, from a trip to the dog park to daycare at the local kennel. If you have an adult dog who could use some help with their social skills, search for local dog trainers in your area with experience in socialization issues.

pet mistakes

3. Introducing Dogs Face-To-Face

While people generally prefer to meet face-to-face, that isn’t always the case with dogs. If the dogs don’t like each other, it only takes a split-second for one to bite or attack the other, even if you’re standing right there.

If you want to introduce your dog to another dog, start by asking their owner if it’s okay. If you get the go-ahead, allow the dogs to approach each other’s tail ends (the preferred method of introduction for dogs) instead of meeting face-to-face.

pet mistakes

4. Neglecting Dental Health

Humans aren’t the only ones who benefit from regular teeth brushing and dental care! Dogs and cats should both have their teeth brushed regularly, or even daily in an ideal situation.

That’s often easier said than done though, especially if your pet isn’t a fan of the process. So brush their teeth at home as often as you can manage, and make sure to take them into the vet for regular dental cleanings.

pet mistakes

5. Not Spaying Or Neutering

Having your pet spayed or neutered is one of the most effective things you can do to help control pet populations and reduce the number of homeless pets in your community. It can also help prevent your pet from developing health issues that commonly affect pets who aren’t spayed or neutered, such as testicular cancer and breast cancer.

And finally, spaying or neutering can also help prevent certain behavioral issues from becoming commonplace, like running away, inappropriate urination, spotting, and more.

pet mistakes

6. Skimping On Litter Boxes

If you have cats at home, you may be unknowingly skimping on litter boxes! It may be surprising to hear that many cat experts recommend providing one litter box per cat plus one more.

Providing plenty of clean litter for your cat will help ensure they don’t go looking for other places to urinate or defecate (like the floor or your personal belongings.) Once a cat develops bad bathroom habits, it can be really hard to change them, so it’s best to avoid it becoming a problem in the first place!

pet mistakes

7. Not Offering Enough Exercise

Every pet needs exercise, regardless of species or size! Lack of exercise is one of the biggest causes of both health and behavioral problems in pets, so it’s important to provide plenty of opportunities for exercise in the form of walks, play time, and toys.

pet mistakes

8. Assuming Small Pets Are Easier

A lot of people seem to think that a smaller animal, such as a lizard, guinea pig, or fish, might be easier to care for than a dog or cat. But in reality, the size of an animal isn’t a great indicator of how much time and effort they require to care for!

For example, many fish require specific water temperatures and precisely timed feedings, and lizards need very particular conditions in their environments too. Make sure to do your research before bringing home any type of pet, regardless of their size or species!

pet mistakes

9. Not Providing Enough Water

In the wild, cats get the majority of the water they need from the food they eat. Domesticated cats, on the other hand, are often fed dry food, which can lead to chronic dehydration and a variety of health problems later in life.

To keep your cat healthy and hydrated, it’s important to provide them with plenty of fresh water that can access freely throughout the day. If your cat seems to prefer moving water, they may prefer a water fountain to a standard bowl. And of course, choosing wet food or wet treats for your cat will help keep your cat hydrated as well.

Do you have any pets at home? Tell me about them in a comment below!

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Hi Jillee,

    I agree with everything you’ve mentioned and more!
    One thing that always gets me…..especially because I live in sunny San Diego where it is hot A LOT! When people walk their dogs, they walk them in the heat of the day. Not knowing, or sometimes not caring that the concrete or asphalt they’re walking their dogs on is 10-15 degrees hotter than the temperature it is outside! Dogs pads are designed to withstand most things, but I wonder if people would make their dogs walk on that hot pavement if they had to walk on it barefoot themselves?! Food for thought……

  • Spay/Neutering is something I have recently investigated using ‘You Tube’ Mercola Healthy Pets by Dr. Baker “The truth about spaying or neutering your dog”

  • Dogs and cats often chew on plants in our yard that are toxic. Just this morning, my cat, Skye was nibbling on tomato plant leaves. I immediately cut them back so she couldn’t reach. The ASPCA and many veterinarian websites have lists of toxic plants to keep for a reference.

  • Our fur-babies Loki(20 LBS) and Lux(7LBS) (Pomeranians) are litter trained. Dogs have a specific type of litter (you can not use the same clay type that cats use because some dogs will eat the litter and it will cause digestive issues) and also male dogs require a different type of litter box (higher on the sides to prevent urinating over top/sides) I would have attached pics but I was unsure how/if I was able to.

  • We gradually ended up with 5 indoor cats who were either wandering around my store or given to us. Many cat boxes placed about was the answer. Those 40 lb. cat sand buckets were very heavy but it was so very much worth it.
    Thanks for your article!

  • Hi Jillee,
    We breed English Springer Spaniels and they have ear problems if ears are not cared for properly. Weekly cleaning with baby wipes is very important if your dog has droopy ears rather than erect ears.
    Thank you for your insight into all of the things you discuss. Your articles are one of the highlights of my mornings.
    Your follower,
    Jill Haigh

  • Hi Jillee,
    you forgot to mention birds/parrots – a lot of folks get them for “ornamental” reasons and don’t realize they are like toddlers. They require a lot of work, good nutrition and most importantly socialization AND enrichment. Plus, it’s a life time commitment – some live over 80 years.

  • Jilee, love your site and so grateful to have found it! I own a beautiful solid white polydactyl kitty. The BEST pet hair remover for the quilt on our bed (on which Mr. Snow sleeps every night in order to snuggle with us) is a “CHOM-CHOM” roller. I use it every morning after I make the bed. I purchased mine on Amazon. Would love to know if you are familiar with the “CHOM-CHOM.” Thanks again for a wonderful, useful site. I look forward to my inbox every morning!

  • I recently adopted a rescue cat after many years of no pets because my late husband was allergic. I remember reading sometime back that certain essential oils should not be used around cats. Since you have become our resident expert on essential oils, I was hoping you could tell us which oils to avoid.

  • I have a toy yorkie. His name is Peanut. He was given to me a few years ago. He’s just like my baby. I don’t know what I would do if I lost him. He is a funny little guy. He makes me happy.

    • Cute. My sisters family has a Morkie. Yorkie and Maltese. They inherited him when some friends moved. Sweet dog . He’s a little dog with a big dog personality.

  • This is good. You also need to socialize Cats too .Our last one we tried to- but she had a few instances like a relatives kid who was visiting and would scream every time he saw her. It definitely made her decide she didn’t like kids. Also a siblings friend who would try to terrorize her. These incidents made her very wary of people. She only trusted our family.

    • Yeah – Ours is a rescue of sorts. She was originally with a large family with small kids that constantly pulled on her tail (she is a Norwegian Mountain Forest Cat so she had a big, beautiful, bushy tail), and two large dogs that ate most of her food. So they decided that someone had to go and it was her. Then she went to the people that were next door to us at the time with a small child (really mean one too… :( ) and two large dogs. One day I was petting her outside and they asked if we wanted her. Of course, yes, but same thing. Does NOT like kids… Not a fan of other cats, and terrified of dogs

      • Poor little thing. I’m so happy that she has found a good home with someone understanding :)

    • Hi Kim – I don’t know about that but we use Greenies for our cat’s teeth and it does pretty well.. I still have to get them cleaned..

    • Not a rubber toy, but Dentastix works fantastically for our dogs. Not one dental appointment for our dogs in years since using them.
      Greenies work too, as well as Blue Wilderness dental chews. If your pet has a sensitivity to wheat or corn like our breeding male use a grain free option.
      Hope this helps!!!

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