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Pets are some of the closest companions we can have—sometimes people even value them more than humans. Pets help us with emotional burdens, stress and bad mental health, sometimes solely by virtue of their existence. However, this also means pets need to be taken care of properly and responsibly.
This may often be difficult and messy and people end up doing more harm than good. Here, we shall explore some common mistakes a lot of pet owners inevitably make, so that you can avoid them and give your pet a happy and healthy life.
1) Being unprepared for a pet:
Several pet owners end up getting pets on a whim. Often, they tend to be a dog or cat lovers and want to have a pet really bad. One fine day thus, they go to the pet store, find the breed they like best and pick one up.
The issue with this is, that pet ownership is rather nuanced and needs effort and time to be invested. Pets are living creatures and have needs, some of which are highly breeding specific. These need to be researched and thought about.
There are several questions you need to ask yourself. Can even afford the pet, healthcare, or the pet health insurance a company like Lemonade offers? Will you be home often enough so that your pet isn’t left alone? Is your apartment big enough? How will you deal with behavior problems and training?
2) Ignoring training and socialisation:
Pets are animals that are just brought up under the confines of a human home. Their natural instincts aren’t adapted to be inside 4 walls and following human laws of feeding, sleeping, or excreting waste.
Naturally, this means that they need to be trained to adapt to conditions that make an ideal pet, that knows how to approach strangers, knows when to defecate and isn’t a mess. Formal training for a puppy can begin as early as 8 to 10 weeks of age when it begins to absorb the world around it. Simpler commands like ‘sit’ can begin even earlier.
Socialisation allows your pet to understand how to react to other humans, how to treat kids safely, how to roam around in a park, etc. and can be done to adult pets too. In fact, pets often develop a fear of things like stairs, corridors, or aggressive behaviour towards bigger humans, stray dogs etc. if they aren’t socialised well.
3) Sedentary lifestyle:
Much like humans, dogs need exercise or sport. This is because they’re naturally adapted to move around for food, which it doesn’t have to do at your home. Moreover, all your love and affection for your pet, caressing and petting it all the time will not prevent mental issues in your dog. Warning signs like nervousness, increased weight, excitability are things to watch out for.
Every dog needs some exercise or sport. Brisk walking twice a day is a beginning but never enough. Exercises like running or jumping are good, but try pet sports like fetch for an added mental stimulation to keep your dog healthy and happy. For cats walking or jogging is enough, but they also need an additional playtime for 10 to 15 minutes on their own with their toys. Research more into the activity levels needed for your particular breed to keep it healthy.
4) Prolonged periods of loneliness:
Pets, especially when they’re very young, are adapted to have maternal care, considering they’re animals. Leaving your young puppy alone for several hours a day is heartless and should be avoided. It leads to separation anxiety and bad behaviour, but even if it didn’t why wouldn’t you want to spend more time with your pet?
Pets do need to stay alone sometimes, and for that, it needs to be trained. Isolate your pet with a leash to a stand and keep some distance from it. Gradually increase the distance over time if needed. This enables them to self-pacify. If you do need to be gone for long hours, drop your pet off at a daycare or ask a friend to watch over your pet.
5) Skipping veterinary visits:
If you’re someone who thinks you’ll only take your pet to the vet for shots or when it feels really ill, you’re doing it wrong. This is because most illnesses don’t manifest clearly and are invisible to the untrained eye. Moreover, some dogs hide their illnesses until it becomes unbearable, probably in an attempt to not discomfort their owner.
Thus, regular scheduled visits to the vet is necessary to detect minor anomalies that may spell doom later. Moreover, your pet starts trusting your vet more, the more frequently you visit, making diagnosis and treatment of critical diseases later on much easier.
Owning pets is a rewarding and emotionally satisfying experience. However, for all the joy pets bring us, being irresponsible and making mistakes in their care should be avoided.
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