Having 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 care of their new friend.


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

news.com.au | The 10 biggest mistakes pet owners make

Real Simple | The Top 10 Pet-Owner Mistakes

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