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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!