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Should Your Dog Wear a Coat in the Winter?

photo of a cute dog wearing a coat | Whitworth Animal ClinicWhen it’s very cold outside, people bundle up in sweaters and coats to stay warm. But is it necessary to put a coat or sweater on your dog in winter weather?

Is your dog shivering outdoors?

If the answer to this question is yes, then you should consider putting some protective clothing on your best friend when the weather turns chilly. Some pooches have excellent layers of fur while others may not be as comfortable in certain environments. It can be due to their genetic background or the type of hair or fur a dog is born with. Their levels of warmth can also have something to do with how short or long you keep their fur. If you live in the Madison or North Alabama area, the groomers at Whitworth Animal Clinic understand the importance of appropriate hair length for different breeds of dog.

Imagine if you found your child’s body trembling and teeth chattering outdoors. You would likely make sure he or she goes inside or puts on a jacket to keep warm. The same is true of your pet who is visibly shivering.

Does Your Dog Avoid Going Out in the Snow to Relieve Herself?

If so, there could be a very good reason for this, such as not wanting to endure the cold, wet weather for any amount of time. When it’s very cold outside, we humans tend to put on a sweater and stay indoors more often. We might keep the thermostat low to save energy. But your dog may not feel as comfortable as you do, even while inside. A light dog sweater can make all the difference to your best friend.

Dogs That Need Protection From the Cold

Certain breeds of dog can handle cold weather more naturally than some. Northern breeds like Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes and other dogs hailing from snowy climates tend to have a dense coat to naturally insulate them from the elements. These animals are usually just fine in the coldest weather without any added protection.

Dogs that have short hair, are small, and don’t weigh much are more susceptible to becoming too cold when outside, especially for extended periods of time. These dog breeds can range from terriers to shepherds to beagles. Even poodles, who usually have very dense coats, can suffer in the cold if their hair is shaved or cut too short.

Smaller, lightweight breeds, such as a Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon Frise, do not tend to handle the cold very well. They may not have enough body fat to insulate them in addition to having shorter hair or no fur at all.

Ask Your Vet

If you’re unsure about putting a coat on your pet, ask your veterinarian or Charles D. Whitworth, DVM in north Alabama for advice. Should you decide to purchase a coat or sweater, consider one that is made of wool or an acrylic/wool blend for best insulation. Measure your dog correctly for a good fit that makes it easy to take the coat on and off without it being too tight or loose. Your shivering pet will thank you for the extra warmth in his or her own way.

If you reside in Madison, Huntsville, Decatur, or north Alabama’s surrounding communities, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM would be happy to speak with you if you have any questions concerning your pet. Contact the friendly, helpful staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic to inquire about our services that range from health to boarding, grooming, and training.

© 2017 Whitworth Animal Clinic. All rights reserved.

Walking Tips For Walking Your Dog

photo of a small cute dog on a walk | Whitworth Animal ClinicDogs are the healthiest and happiest when they get the right amount of exercise. Walking with your dog also helps maintain a good bond and reinforces you as the leader. As a matter of fact, the renowned Cesar’s Way states that by walking in front of your dog you show that you are seen as the pack leader.

And when it comes to walking your dog, there are certain tips that can help train your dog right and also make the walk a lot more enjoyable.

Take the Lead

It is important to take the lead and stay in the front of your dog. That way you are perceived as the leader. On the other hand, if you allow your dog to control the walk then you make him the boss. Also, you need to be the first out the door and the first one in, and during your walk either be beside your dog or in the front.

Have the Right Gear

Like people, dogs have their own unique preferences and comfort levels. Some dogs do best with a head halter while other dogs function best with a flat collar. To reduce pulling and support safety, choose a front clip harness for your dog. In fact, most dogs easily adapt to a front clip harness, which makes the walk a lot more pleasant.

Carry Treats

You should always have treats available to encourage good behavior. In fact, treats are especially valuable when the command “leave it” is needed. For example, you can reward you dog when they leave certain things alone like a cat, squirrel or a strong scent of another dog.

Leave the Phone at Home

This is your dog’s time, so leave the phone at home. It is a time to enjoy walking with your dog and to create memories. If you stop and look, you will notice that your dog couldn’t be happier. And after the walking, both you and your dog will have a much better perspective on life.

Keep a Routine

Like children, dogs need a consistent routine. If you take a 30-minute walk every morning, then try to stick to the ritual. As well, makes sure they get their daily evening stroll, it gives them comfort and a sense of security.

Hierarchy vs. Bonding

Although the two may seem conflicting, hierarchy and bonding can be attained with a daily walk. In fact, the walking routine creates a great bond between you and your pet. It also establishes the leader, and that is you.

Exercise and Contentment

Walking provides a plethora of benefits both for the body and the mind. It offers you and your dog, great exercise and also mental stimulation that are very satisfying. After the walk, your dog will be tired from the walk and mentally satisfied from all the stimuli of animal scents, tracking certain smells and observing all movement. And at the end of the day, your dog will be well balanced from the day’s activities and much calmer.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

Daily walks for your dog are highly important to keep him fit and healthy. And for optimum health, your dog needs a regular check-up with a professional veterinarian. At Whitworth Animal Clinic, you can be rest assured that your pet will receive the very best care. In addition, Dr. Charles Whitworth can recommend the perfect amount of time your dog needs to walk on a daily basis. Moreover, a check-up will determine your dog’s health status including optimum weight, condition of his heart, needed vaccinations and other health conditions or concerns.

For any questions about walking your dog or about regular check-ups, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. As well, make an appointment as soon as possible if there any concerns. Whitworth Animal Clinic is located in in Madison, Alabama and serves the communities of Madison, Huntsville, Decatur and the surrounding areas in north Alabama.

What to Look for When Choosing the Right Dog for You

group of 4 puppies | Whitworth Animal ClinicWhen choosing the right dog for you, there are many factors to consider before making a permanent decision. In fact, selecting the right breed is just as an important as deciding to have a dog in your life. It is actually a major decision that needs plenty of thought and consideration. You need to weigh all the odds and examine your lifestyle so that you choose the perfect dog. You will also need to make adjustments in your life. The number and type of modifications will depend on the breed that you select.

The Size

Dogs come in numerous sizes, from very small to massive. Most likely, you know what size of dog you prefer. Some people adore the lap dog that can be carried around. Others love a breed that is gigantic in size and structure. Each sized dog comes with its own set of characteristics.

Small Dogs – A small dog tends to be defensive and will bark more often. In truth, the “small complex” can develop into a “tough dog” attitude. Some small dogs are also easily hurt and vulnerable. In fact, being handled to aggressively or stepped on can cause severe injury.

Extra Large Dogs – Quite frankly, a very big dog needs a lot of space. And if your dog wags its tail a lot, then he will need even more space to avoid injury. Not to mention damage to your belongings. A bigger dog also cost more money such as food, big sized dog supplies and other large items. Also, extra-large dogs need to be trained when they are young. For instance, if you cute puppy is allowed to jump on top of you or strangers, in adulthood they will simply walk all over you.

Level of Activity

Every dog is different and some have more energy than others. Select the breed of dog you want by activity level. Questions to ponder include:

  • Is the breed the sprinter type?
  • Is the breed a jogger?
  • Is the breed a couch potato?

In addition, consider how much exercise the dog will need and compare it to the amount of time you can spend with your pet. In fairness, it is important to answer the question honestly and as accurate as possible. For instance, if you do not plan on taking daily walks with you dog, then it is probably best to avoid a high energy like an Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, or certain poodles. Some of the low energy type dogs include a Basset Hound, Bulldog, or Bull Mastiff.

Rendering to the humane society, your lifestyle and the dog’s energy level should be compatible. For instance, it would not be fair to have a high energy dog in a tiny four-story apartment. But if you take a long distance run every morning then if may suffice.

Maintenance and Care

No matter what type of breed you decide on, your dog will need maintenance and care. In fact, all dogs need to be groomed and bathed on a regular basis. However, certain types need more care based on their type of hair coat. A breed that has continual hair growth will require more routine grooming. Also, short haired dogs with a smooth coat are major shedders. However, you can lower the amount of your dog’s shedding by the use of certain grooming tools.

In addition, some breeds are prone to ear infections such as dogs with floppy long ears. And another consideration is drooling. Dog breeds that tend to slobber a great deal are Bloodhounds and Mastiffs.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you are still unsure of what type of dog is right for you, then you can always contact a veterinarian. Oftentimes a vet may have ideas or suggestions about animal care, temperament, food or exercise needed for a particular breed that you are interested in. As well; they may be able to help you choose the right dog for you.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, Dr. Charles Whitworth provides the best care possible for your dog. Not only does Dr. Whitworth have a passion for animals but he has served as a Madison veterinarian for over thirty years. In fact, his passion for animals started when he was in the third grade with the strong need to be a veterinarian.

For questions or concerns about types of vaccines, licenses or diet for your first pet; contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. As well, make an appointment as soon as possible for your animal’s first check-up. That way you are assured your dog is in good health and he does not have any health conditions that could be potentially life threatening.

Can Humans Get Ringworm From Their Pets?

photo of sleeping dog and owner | Whitworth Animal ClinicRingworm, also known as dermatophytosis is not a type of parasitic worm in the skin. It is a fungal infection characterized by red, scaly and itchy skin. The rash is also circular in shape oftentimes resembling a worm. In result, the term ringworm easily became a misnomer.

As of date, there are around 40 types of fungi that can cause ringworm. Most of the strains are of the Epidermophyton, Trichophyton or Microsporum type. Ringworm is also very contagious. According to MedicineNet, all age groups get ringworm. However, ringworm is most common in children. As well, ringworm is found mostly in warm and moist climates.

Moreover, ringworm is not just found on the arms or legs. The fungus can be found on the scalp as well as on the feet known as tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) and in the groin (jock itch).

How Ringworm is Spread

Since ringworm is a fungus, it is easily spread from one person to another. Generally a person can get the fungi by coming into contact with infected skin areas or by using an infected comb, brush or other personal care items. In fact, ringworm can even be transmitted through clothing. Other areas that have the potential of spreading the fungi include pool surfaces and locker rooms.

Getting Ringworm from Your Pets

For many years people have shrugged off the notion that animals could transmit diseases and fungi. The truth of the matter is, humans and pets share numerous diseases including ringworm. Plus it is not uncommon to be infected with ringworm on several parts of the body at one time.

Also, humans can get ringworm from several types of animals such as dogs, cats, birds and even rabbits. As well, humans can actually give ringworm to their pets.

Taking Extra Precautions

Precautionary measures are the best way to prevent ringworm from spreading. In addition, there are important precautions that need to be taken once you or your pet is infected. The extra safety measures are to prevent fungus from spreading or passing from someone else, including a pet.

• Immediately seek a specialist if you suspect ringworm
• Keep infected pets away from the whole family and other pets
• Use the creams and medications exactly how they are prescribed
• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water every time you touch your pet


There are several types of fungi that can produce round scaly spots on the skin. Not all circular spots on the skin are caused by ringworm. The best way to identify the fungi is to have a physical examination. A specialist can take culture tests and also evaluate skin scrapings underneath a specialized microscope. In effect, tests offer an accurate diagnosis plus help with the right and proper treatment.

Whitworth Animal Clinic

If you suspect that your pet has ringworm, it is best to contact a specialist immediately. In fact, the longer your pet has the fungi, the harder it is to get rid of. As well, ringworm can spread to other members of the family.

For outstanding veterinary service or pet concerns like ringworm, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. It is well-known as the best pet clinic in Madison and the surrounding areas of north Alabama. In fact, Dr. Charles Whitworth is a prominent veterinarian who has been licensed since 1981. Additionally, Whitworth Animal Clinic helps you feel assured that your pet is in good hands and will have the best care possible.

Living with Dogs & Children

photo of a blond happy girl with her chihuahuaMost children love having dogs as pets. Inviting a dog into the family home can actually be healthy for your kids. Studies have shown that when a dog lives in a home with young children, the children experience fewer respiratory tract infections, less incidences of ear infections and less instances of asthma diagnoses than children in pet-free homes.

Yes, children and dogs usually make for a great combination. But living with both species can sometimes be a challenge for the adults in charge. It’s important to be sure both canine and humans are protected and safe in that shared environment.

Training Your Dog

Dogs need to be trained. When you bring a pet into the home, that animal becomes a member of the family, and there are rules laid down so everyone can happily co-exist. If you live in Madison or surrounding areas in north Alabama, Whitworth Animal Clinic provides positive dog training sessions in your own home.

Dogs need to learn some basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay, leave it, and come. This allows both adults and children some firm control over your pet’s behaviors. When a child is eating, for example, you’ll want your dog to obey the command “stay” or whichever word you’ve chosen so Fido isn’t tempted to steal food.

When your dog and young child are playing together, it’s wise to be present until you know your pet is trained to be gentle. Animals can get overexcited or disturbed when small children shriek and shout or pull a tail in play. Train your dog to get used to a variety of noises from when you first bring him home. For example, praise her and give a treat when you speak in a loud voice to her. Play a recording of children’s high-pitched voices as your dog is eating. He will then associate the sounds with something pleasant.

Educate Your Children

Teach your kids to respect their dog’s territorial limits. Remind them that dogs generally consider eyes staring into their own eyes to be a challenge. Have them learn that when the dog is playing with a toy and eating her meal, the child should not disturb things, come too close, or try to take either of these things away.

Children should also understand that dogs can act unpredictably when poked with a toy, pulled by the tail, or frightened. Your pet may put up with unexpected pinches and rough play now, but there’s no predicting when an aggressive reaction may occur. Teach your child to gently stroke your pet and involve children in the training process. You can begin by having them help teach the “sit” command.

Keep Your Dog Healthy

Whitworth Animal Clinic is a full-service center for pets. Veterinarian, Dr. Charles Whitworth, has been in practice since 1981, serving the communities of Madison, Huntsville, Decatur, and surrounding areas in north Alabama.

Whitworth Animal Clinic offers vaccinations, spay and neuter, and other wellness services for your pets. Veterinary cardiology, dentistry, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and many other medical issues can be diagnosed and treated at this facility. Pet boarding and grooming are also available.

Best Treats for Dogs

photo of a chihuahua dog eating healthy with a carrot in mouth Whitworth AnimalClinicHealthier Treat Alternatives

Dog owners enjoy giving their beloved pets treats for many different reasons. Some use treats as training incentives. People may feel compelled to give a treat to canine companions when they feel inclined to indulge. However, while there is nothing wrong with rewarding a pet, the type of snack chosen may not have the greatest health benefits. Dr. Charles D. Whitworth, DVM and his associate animal lovers from Whitworth Animal Clinic suggest that dog parents consider other options.

Healthier Alternatives

Commercially prepared treats come in all brands, flavors, shapes and sizes. Unfortunately many are also laden with fat, sugar, preservatives and empty calories. Various fruits and vegetables make a wonderful alternative. Consider apple or banana slices, a fresh strawberry or a piece of melon. Not unlike when we eat fruits, remove seeds and pits, which can pose a toxic hazard. A couple of baby carrots, green beans, or tomato slices are some of the different vegetables that are safe for dogs. Maybe a spoonful of yogurt now and then. Many dogs also enjoy popcorn without the butter or salt.

All of these options provide fiber, vitamins and minerals that traditional store-bought treats lack. Avoid grapes and raisins, as chemical compounds within these fruits can lead to kidney problems. Dogs should also not eat cooked vegetables containing garlic or onions. The root vegetables cause anemia by destroying red blood cells.

Individual canines develop preferences. Some dogs gleefully enjoy anything offered. On the other hand, finicky pets might only prefer certain fruits or vegetables. Have fun experimenting.

Homemade Treats

There are many recipes available for homemade dog treats. By making homemade snacks, you have complete control of the ingredients and can make alterations as desired. Look for recipes containing healthier ingredients. They might include cooked meats, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains.

Whatever healthy treat you decide to use as a reward for your four-legged friend, the snack should not exceed 10 percent of the animal’s daily calorie intake.

Non-Food Rewards

Given the hectic schedules that we humans maintain on a daily basis, we may not spend as much time with our dogs as they would prefer. With this in mind, rewards and treats need not always be food oriented. Set time aside to spend special moments with your companion. Go for a walk or a run. The exercise does both you and your pet a world of good. Perhaps pamper the pooch with a little extra grooming time. As dogs love having our undivided attention, any time spent one-on-one will be as much appreciated as a food-based delight.

If having any questions or concerns, faithful dog owners living in Decatur, Huntsville, Madison and other surrounding locations in north Alabama should call the Whitworth Animal Clinic and arrange a visit with Dr. Charles D. Whitworth DVM. We are located at:

106 Rainbow Drive
Madison, Alabama, 35758
256) 830-1503

Secondhand Smoke Kills More Than Just Humans

photo of a guy smoking | Whitworth Animal Clinic The harmful effects that come from secondhand smoke are not limited to non-smoking humans; subjecting others with these noxious fumes not only can cause them a great deal of damage, but it can severely harm animals in proximity as well. Numerous pet owners do smoke around their animals and secondhand smoke is not a matter to be taken lightly. In an effort to protect the health of humans and animals alike, precautions and action must be taken.

If you are a smoker, and your animals are exposed to the fumes, you will be critically jeopardizing their health. Those of you that have been to Whitworth Animal Clinic have been introduced to the quality medical and surgical care by Charles D. Whitworth, D.V.M. We urge you to promptly bring any concerns you may have with your pets and secondhand smoke. We understand that you love and nurture your pets, considering them to be a member of the family. Letting Dr. Whitworth examine your cat or dog, and allowing us to answer any questions you may have on the matter, is paramount to your pets’ livelihood.

Animals like cats and dogs are physiologically similar to humans, so if something is toxic to us, it could easily be toxic to animals. People in today’s age have accepted that smoking is harmful to us; nearly 50,000 Americans have lost their lives due to smoking. But now, a growing abundance of research has proven even the smallest of inhaled smoke can also hurt your pets. Secondhand smoke exposure can cause them respiratory damage, nervous system damage, allergies, cancer, and nicotine poisoning. Considering these facts, it is a good idea to make an appointment with Charles D. Whitworth, D.V.M as soon as possible if your animals have been, or continue to be, exposed to secondhand smoke. The first step in finding a solution is to collect as much information about all the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke.

Whitworth Animal Clinic provides the highest quality of medical care and only wants the best for our patients. Secondhand smoke has been harming animals since first exposed and if this continues long term, the effects may be fatal. Owners must take responsibility and secure the happiness and prosperity of their pets by providing the healthiest environment possible. Refrain from smoking around your pets and schedule an appointment at Whitworth Animal Clinic to receive information, diagnosis and treatment; time is of the essence.

Cat Companions: Does your Cat Need a Friend?

photo of kitten licking the face of a white dog | Whitworth Animal ClinicCats are notorious loners. Yet despite their reputation, many cats thrive in and desire companionship from other animals.

Companions can provide mental and physical stimulation for cats allowing them to interact socially, promoting exercise, and providing a playmate. Often companions curb destructive behavior, and if the companion is another cat, they will both stay cleaner as they will groom each other.

While the benefits can be rewarding for cat and owner, there are many things to consider before introducing a new animal into your house. First, you must be ready for a second pet. Getting your cat a buddy may seem like a great idea, but it will be your pet to feed and care for, and initially at least, it will be more work for you.

If you are ready for the responsibility, then you should also consider whether your cat can handle sharing you and your home. You need to take your cat’s personality and temperament into consideration. Cats have various needs, and you should spend careful time considering those before making a decision. While you may want another pet, it may not work for your current furry friend.

Once you are ready to move forward, you will need to consider what kind of companion will be best. If you are adding another cat, you will need enough space and toys for both and plenty of time to help them adjust. Experts disagree on the best matches for cat pairs, but all agree an older cat will do best with cats that have a complimentary personality. Kittens and adolescents generally will find a way to get along. And of course, make sure if the cats are opposite sexes, they are spayed and neutered.

Even if the cats are a match, you cannot just bring a cat home and expect them to be best buddies. You will need to put the new cat in a separate room bonding with it and doting on your old friend separately. After a few days, gradually introduce the cats by leaving the door open. The cats will meet on their own time; don’t force it. Make sure you focus on your longtime friend, so he or she does not feel threatened. It can take up to a year for some cats to buddy up, so make sure you are in it for the long haul before bringing another cat home.

If it is a dog you want for your cat’s new friend, then look for either a puppy or a dog raised with cats. When introducing them, confine them to one room making sure your cat has plenty of space to hide. Also make sure you protect the dog’s nose as it is particularly vulnerable to scratches.

If you need help determining whether or not your cat is companion ready, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic. Located in Madison, Alabama, Whitworth Animal Clinic serves Madison, Huntsville, Decatur and other areas in north Alabama. Dr. Charles Whitworth has been treating cats and dogs since 1981, providing expert quality and personal care. Contact us today to make an appointment.

Is Your Dog Smarter Than You Think?

photo of a beagle in glasses studying old books | Whitworth Animal ClinicIt really does stand to reason why most people feel dogs are not intelligent. After all, dogs eagerly drink out of the toilet and consume rubbish out of the trash. However, recent studies have shown that dogs are much smarter than your think.

Heightened Domesticated Senses

Although, the common dog could not last in the wilderness like their wolf cousin, they are highly adept to communicating with humans. In fact, their social savvy has made them the most flourishing mammal on the planet aside from humans. Moreover, dogs understand a human’s physical and behavioral cues and can often interpret what is needed. For instance, a dog will respond with a wag of their tail or by tilting their head. And according to a post on The Guardian, research shows that dogs are better at interpreting cues more than chimps or human babies are.

Dogs are Smart Enough to Show Guilt

Most animals do not have the faintest idea what you are referring to when they are being reprimanded for doing something bad. However, dogs will actually look guilty when caught red handed. And even if they do not know what they are in trouble for, they will often look sorry and apologetic. As well, a dog will use this same “apologetic” tactic when you show disapproval or anger.

Extensive Vocabulary

Dogs actually have a very extensive vocabulary. They not only remember many words but they understand them. In fact, most dogs can understand and comprehend more than 1,000 words.

And as it happens, a few ingenious dogs know the names of numerous objects (hundreds to thousands).

Body Language

Sometimes a dog completely refuses to obey. But their disobedience is not due to stupidity but rather clever observation. In fact, dogs will often decide how obedient they want to be. For instance, if you command your dog to fetch while you are reading the daily paper chances are that your dog will not obey. This is because your body language shouts “lazy” and not too serious action. On the other hand, when you have eye contact with your dog and stand directly in front of them, your dog is apt to obey.

The small instance shows that your dog can distinguish the slight difference in your body language and knows when or when not to obey.

Learn Fast by Example

When put to the test without any example first, a dog will fail miserably. However, a dog can quickly solve a puzzle or challenge if you give them an example first. For instance, placing a favorite treat on the other side of a fence will be perplexing for a dog. But if you show the dog how to get to the treat by walking around the fence, they will quickly resolve the problem.

Intelligence, Diet and Health

We all know that diet is important for both physical and mental health. The same discipline also applies to dogs. And when the body is healthy, it functions at its best. Moreover, having regular check-ups ensures that your dog is in optimal health.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, we have a fully equipped animal clinic that has numerous professional amenities like dog training, boarding and grooming. Some of the services include heart health, dentistry, geriatrics, dermatology and even emergency care if needed.

Whitworth Animal Clinic is located in Madison. As well, we serve the surrounding areas in north Alabama and Madison County.

10 Mistakes New Pet Owners Often Make

photo of a woman holding a beagle puppyHaving a pet can be fun and rewarding, but it also comes with responsibilities. Getting a dog or cat is a commitment that will last years, as these animals typically live for well over a decade. That brings us to the first mistake new pet owners often make:

1) They buy the animal on impulse.

Impulsively buying the animal because you think it looks cute is usually a recipe for disaster. Do some research first. Learn about the pros and cons of various breeds. Siamese cats are gorgeous, but they are also often noisy and demanding. Fish and reptiles need special equipment and care to keep them healthy.

In a similar vein, consider your own lifestyle. Will your budget cover pet food and trips to the vet? Do you have time to take Fido to obedience school or play with Fluffy?

2) They don’t pet-proof their home.

As my late aunt once said, “Puppies chew, and kittens claw.” A new pet can unwittingly cause a lot of damage or end up in danger. Before bringing the animal home, thoroughly inspect the premises for things that an animal might chew or swallow like wires, plants or remote controls. Some authorities recommend getting on all fours to better see the home from an animal’s point of view.

3) They don’t buy the needed gear.

Skimping on the paraphernalia needed to care for an animal is always a mistake. If there aren’t any litter boxes, the cat will do their business on the carpet or in the bathtub.

4) They don’t correct bad behavior.

Young animals are adorable and everything they do seems to be cute. While a puppy jumping up on people may be cute, that type of behavior stops being cute when it’s a full-grown, 75-pound German Shepherd doing the jumping. The earlier an owner corrects bad habits, the easier it is on both humans and animals.

5) They don’t discipline the pet consistently.

This is most often a problem if the animal belongs to more than one person. Someone might not want their dog to sleep on the sofa, but their wife lets the dog sleep on the sofa. The result is a confused animal that misbehaves. The family members need to agree on some rules and apply them.

6) They don’t pay attention to the animal.

While some pets like goldfish don’t need a lot of attention from their owners, most pets do need some attention. A bored and lonely dog, cat, or bird will become destructive or otherwise misbehave.

7) They let the animal outdoors without supervision.

While fresh air and exercise is good for an animal’s health, the outdoors has dangers like cars and hostile animals. Keep your pet on a leash or otherwise under control when taking them outside.

8) They don’t pay attention to the pet’s medical needs.

Pets need to be taken to the vet, like the Whitworth Animal Clinic, at least once a year for medical and dental check-ups. They also need to stay a healthy weight; obesity is as bad for pets as it is for humans.

9) They don’t pay attention to the pet’s diet.

Feeding an animal at the table not only encourages bad behavior, it can also jeopardize the animal’s health. Some human foods, like chocolate, are poisonous to animals. Stick to foods designed for the pet.

10) They ignore unusual behavior.

Odd behavior often indicates a problem. A perfectly house-trained cat that suddenly starts peeing outside the litter box might have a urinary tract infection.

Did you just get a pet? The Whitworth Animal Clinic can help new pet owners learn how to take of their new friend.


TODAY Pets & Animals | Uh oh! 10 mistakes new pet owners make | The 10 biggest mistakes pet owners make

Real Simple | The Top 10 Pet-Owner Mistakes