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5 common pet blunders owners make but are easy to avoid

5 common pet blunders owners make but are easy to avoid

Most pet owners do their best to provide excellent care for their four-legged friends. But even the most well intentioned of owners can make mistakes. Veterinarian Dr Katrina Warren shares her advice about some of the mistakes pet owners can make and aspects to be careful about.

1. Buying a pet online

Buying a pet online is risky because you will have absolutely no idea about the conditions that the pet was raised in or the health of the pet. You should aim to see the puppy or kitten in the place it was born, preferably while they are still with their mother. Ensure the premises are clean and the puppies or kittens are friendly and well cared for. Consider adopting a pet from a welfare shelter as an alternative. You should always be prepared to wait and travel to find the right pet.

2. Choosing the wrong pet for your lifestyle

You should never choose a dog or cat based on appearance or because you saw that breed in a movie. Be realistic about how much time and space you have, how much exercise you can provide, the amount of money you’re prepared to spend on care and grooming, and how much time the pet will be alone each day. The energy level of the pet is important – some owners want a dog to take out jogging, while others want a lap dog to watch TV with them. Take time to find the right pet for your lifestyle.

3. Not keeping cats indoors

We all want to keep our pets safe and healthy. It’s a fact that keeping cats indoors increases their lifespan by reducing the potential incidence of fighting with other animals as well as possible car accidents. Most cats will live very contentedly indoors if they have plenty to do. Consider enriching the home environment with a climbing tree, scratching post, toys, cat grass and access to a view.

4. Boredom

All pets need an environment that allows them to express natural behaviours. When pets become bored they are more likely to make their own fun, often resulting in destructive behaviours such as chewing, digging, barking, clawing furniture, etc. It’s important that pets receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation. Offering safe chew toys and food dispensing toys gives dogs an outlet for chewing behaviour and can help alleviate stress. Give your pet as much companionship as you can and take your dog on outings whenever possible.

5. Allowing your pet to become overweight

Just like the human population, there is a high level of obesity among our pets. And just like overweight people, there are serious health implications. Obese pets are prone to cardiac disease, respiratory problems and diabetes. Monitor your pet’s weight and be sure to reduce caloric intake or increase exercise if necessary.

Other common mistakes

  1. Don’t give cats cow’s milk; they can’t digest lactose and may get diarrhoea.
  2. Don’t allow multiple cats to use the same litterbox as they don’t like to share.
  3. Don’t forget annual vet and dental checks. They’re important for good health.
Written by Dr Katrina Warren. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.