I believe that most pet owners truly love and care about their pets and would never do anything to hurt them intentionally. However, there are some serious mistakes many pet owners make that can not only lead to all sorts of health problems, but can even result in shortening the pet’s life. Here are 9 mistakes pet owners make that you can avoid to help your pet stay happy and healthy!
9 Mistakes Pet Owners Make
1. Not giving enough thought to their food. Providing good, quality food for your pet is obviously necessary for their health and well being. I always say that pet owners should provide the highest quality food they can afford. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t provide some of the more expensive options like fresh pet food. But do give some consideration about the type of food you’re giving your pet. For help on choosing the best food for your pet, read my article, Best and Worst Foods for Your Pet (includes video).
Avoid overfeeding your pet by reading the package instructions for portion sizes, and always make sure your pets have lots of clean water. Don’t forget to wash their food and water bowls regularly!
My recommendation for fresh dog food: The Farmer’s Dog
My recommendation for fresh cat food: Smalls
Always consult your veterinarian when choosing food for your pet, or before changing your pet’s food.
2. Not taking pets to the vet regularly. Of course most pets would rather not go to the vet and it’s hard to force them, especially if there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. But regular vet visits are the only way to prevent illness and to catch any health issues before they get serious. Your pet should visit the vet at least once per year and receive recommended immunizations.
Vet bills for our pets can get expensive. But not only is it part of being a responsible pet owner, but taking them to the vet regularly will most likely prevent illnesses that would end up costing way more if not caught early. If you need help paying for your pet’s veterinary bills, read my article Help with Vet Bills (includes video).
3. Not spaying or neutering. Having your pet spayed or neutered is an important step in being a responsible pet owner. Your pet will benefit from being spayed or neutered because of the many health and medical benefits of spaying and neutering, and YOU will benefit from all of the behavioral issues and unwanted pregnancies you’ll be preventing! If you need assistance paying for your pet to be spayed or neutered, read my article, Free Spay or Neuter Clinics (includes video).
4. Neglecting dental hygiene. Pets need regular oral care just like humans. Starting to brush your pets’ teeth early will help them to get used to it, and your pets’ teeth should be checked at least once a year at their annual vet visit. For more information about dental care, watch this video, 6 Ways to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy.
5. Neglecting grooming or doing it incorrectly. Long hair pets need brushing daily. Failing to properly groom a pet’s fur can lead to serious issues for them down the road. Most pets should have their nails clipped regularly, and dogs generally need regular baths. Cats should NOT be bathed, except for a very few exceptions (for more info, watch my video, Don’t Bathe Your Cat!
Consult your veterinarian for grooming advice for your particular pet. For more help with grooming your pets, refer to these articles (all include a video):
How to Trim a Dog’s Nails at Home
How to Cut a Cat’s Nails at Home
6. Giving your pets people food. Most veterinarians agree that giving pets people food or table scraps is generally not a good idea. Pets’ digestive systems simply aren’t built to handle most people foods, and regularly sharing your food with your pets in addition to their own food often leads to obesity. If you can’t deny your pet’s sad eyes when they’re begging you to share, ask your vet for a short list of foods (such as vegetables) you could have available to share with your pet.
Dog Nutrition: Incorporating Vegetables Into Your Dog’s Diet
What’s the Best Food for My Cat? (includes video) Spoiler alert: WET food is best!
How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight (includes video)
7. Not giving enough attention. All pets need our love and attention. Pets need socialization and interaction with humans to develop socially and emotionally. Failure to provide sufficient engagement with you and other people can lead to fear, depression, behavior issues, separation anxiety and even aggression.
Pets also need regular exercise and mental stimulation, so walking your dog and playing with your cat are important. Schedules can be busy, but be sure to set aside time each day to give your pet attention.
8. Not checking their collar. You may not realize how fast your puppy or kitten is growing. You also may not be aware that your adult pet may have lost or gained weight. Check your pet’s collar regularly to make sure it’s fitting properly, and don’t forget to wash collars regularly.
By the way, I recommend using a harness for dogs instead of a collar. It helps to prevent collapsed trachea down the road from them pulling on the leash and also helps to have much more control over the dog. You can find harnesses here.
For cats, a breakaway collar is recommended to prevent the collar from getting caught on something, especially if the cat is allowed to go outside. You can find these here.
Also make sure your pet has your name and phone number on their collar. You can get inexpensive, small pet tags to attach to their collar here.
9. Leaving pets alone too much. Cats obviously have their litter box, but dogs shouldn’t be forced to hold their urine for long periods of time. Doing this regularly can result not only in peeing accidents in the house, but can also lead to several health issues.
According to ThePetly.com, a healthy dog pees three to five times a day. Please read their article here for much more information on the length of time dogs and puppies can hold their urine.
Regardless of urination timelines, pets should not be regularly left alone for long periods of time. Doing so can lead to behavioral issues, depression, health issues, separation anxiety and more. Read my articles about pet sitters to get ideas on making sure your pet isn’t left alone too much. You’ll be surprised by how easy some of these tips are. Both include a video.
I Donate to Animal Charities
Thank you for visiting my website. I donate 10% of my earnings on this website to animal charities. You can see a list of the charities I donate to here. If you like this website, please share it with your friends who have a dog or a cat. Thank you! Debra
One thought on “9 Mistakes Pet Owners Make”
I was happy that I am only making one mistake by feeding my dog, and sometimes cats, people’s food. I know what to never feed them that could really hurt them. I sometimes wish my husband had never fed our dog any people’s food because he thinks he is supposed to eat every time we do and I feel bad when I can’t give him something.
I bathe our dog regularly but I also will give the cats a bath, too. Their fur will start looking kind of bunched up and dingy after a while and I know it’s time for their bath.