If you ask us, bringing a new pet home is one of the most exciting experiences in all of life. One day your life is relatively normal, but bringing a pet into your family changes everything! Now there’s an energetic, furry ball of curiosity running around the house and getting into everything, and it’s great.
Having a new pet is a lot of fun, but it also carries some serious responsibilities. You’ll try your best to meet those responsibilities, but it’s inevitable that you might make a few mistakes along the way, especially in the area of health care.
In order to keep your pet healthy and everyone in your family happy, here are 4 mistakes that many new pet owners make (and how you can avoid or fix them.)
Not Getting Your Pet Fixed
Lots of new pet owners get their pets from shelters that have already taken care of getting dogs and cats fixed, but many others will pick up a puppy or kitten from a friend that just had a litter. These new pet owners will often consider not getting that animal fixed for a variety of reasons.
Some new pet owners feel that their animal should be allowed to having at least one litter before getting fixed. Others want their children to see the miracle of birth first hand. While these viewpoints are understandable, there are many good reasons that you should get your pet fixed as soon as your vet says the animal is ready.
First off, pet overpopulation is a serious problem. Getting your own pet fixed prevents hundreds of animals going without homes in the future. Getting your pet fixed when it is young also helps prevent a variety of diseases and even cancer.
Too Much Food
Feeding your pet seems simple. You buy the bag of food at the store that has the right picture of an animal on the front, and then you dump some in a bowl, right? Well, that’s what most new pet owners do, but it’s actually not the best idea.
Since you’ll already be stopping in to see the vet when you get your pet fixed, take the time to talk to her about feeding, as well. She will be able to recommend a good brand of pet food, and she will be able to tell you how much your furry friend needs, too.
Keeping Poisons Locked Away
While humans can usually be trusted to keep themselves from getting into too much trouble at home, pets are a different story. Don’t leave anything lying around the house that could be toxic to your new pet. For example, many human medications (even Tylenol and other relatively “harmless” drugs) can be extremely harmful to a small animal.
It’s also common to have antifreeze sitting around in our garages, but this chemical can kill a pet. They are attracted to it for its sweet taste, so keep it stored away safely!
Waiting Till Something’s Wrong to See the Vet
We tend to think about our own health a lot more often than that of our pets’. While we’ll take our kids to see the doctor for regular checkups, it’s not uncommon for new pet owners to wait until they actually see something wrong to see the vet.
A good rule of thumb is to ask your vet how often she feels regular checkups are necessary, and then stick with that. Part of this regular care should include dental cleanings, too. Dogs and cats can also get gum disease, and they need to see the pet dentist just as much as we need to.