Our Military Life Blog

Risky Mistakes Pet Owners Make

(Taking your fur-babies for daily walks is such good exercise.)

I am a huge fur-baby lover, we have two amazing dogs that have been in our family for 7 years now.  They have PCSed with us 4 times and I can’t image life without them….they are one of my kiddos.  But, there are many things I do as a pet mommy that can be really bad for my fur-babies.  I know…I know…we all have done this or that, shared a little food off our plate at the table, let them skip out on their walk because we are tired….however we need to stick to a schedule.  Just like humans animals like their schedule and if your fur-babies are anything like mine they Do Not like change! 

I have come up with a list of things I do “wrong” as a pet mommy that I am working really hard to change…as I have learned from our vet, “I am doing more harm than good”.

Letting Your Dog Walk You – Nope! I am in charge and I will be the leader of this walk.  I would allow Autumn (my golden retriever) walk me..well nope not anymore, I am the boss and I will tell her when to stop, run and just brisk walk.

Overlooking Ticks – I am sure you are like me and check your human kiddos when they come in from playing near trees, so why not check the fur-babies too….ticks can cause your serious illness in pets.  

Not Bothering to Deworm – Roundworms are common parasites in both dogs and cats. They cause diarrhea, vomiting and may lead to serious illness. What many people do not realize is they can can also spread to humans, which is why deworming is so important.

Skipping Flea Medicine – Fleas are not only harmful to our lets they can be harmful to humans as well. Fleas can also transmit serious diseases to people including bubonic plague. Flea and tick medicine should always be a need  not a want. 

Not Spaying or Neutering Your Pet – Millions of dogs and cats live in the street or end up being euthanized because of unwanted litters. However, many people are reluctant to spay or niter their fur-babies.  By doing so you are helping to cut down on the homeless pet population.

Keeping the Food Bowl Full – eekk!!…I am guilty of this one and is the most common mistakes pet owners make. The problem is that cats and dogs often eat more than they need….yes their eyes are most often bigger than their tummy. If food is constantly available, they will take in too many calories and put on too much weight.  

Providing Too Little Exercise – Just like humans pets need exercise too! I use this time to also get my daily 45 mins of doctor recommended exercise.  As you all know the heart is a muscle and needs to be used in order to keep working correctly, we this is also true for our fur-babies. The right amount of exercise for a dog depends on the breed and size, but vets recommend at least a half-hour each day.  

Misreading Body Language – I know you all love your fur-baby just as much as I love mine…but do we truly understand them? “If you think a wagging tail is always a good sign, you could be in for a nasty surprise. When a dog wants to threaten someone, he may hold his tail high and wave it stiffly back and forth. Mistake this warning for a sign of playfulness and you could get bitten. To avoid misunderstandings, learn about your pet’s body language.” (ASPCA)

Providing Too Little Attention – Just like our two-legged kiddos, our fur-babies need attention too.  Not giving them enough attention can lead to they getting into things they should not.   And boredom can lead to troublesome behaviors like chewing, digging, barking, and whining. Providing toys for them, playing hide-and-seek, fetch and tug-of-war are ways to show them you love and care about them.

Leaving a Dog Alone Too Long – Spending 8-10 hours alone in a crate, tiny laundry closet, or even outdoors is too much for most dogs. This can lead to separation anxiety and destructive behaviors.  Better choices are doggie day care, a mid-day visit from a pet sitter, or a canine companion. 

Setting No Rules – Many people think their pets will know right from wrong from the start…wrong! Yes, I have a golden retriever and she is very smart, but I had to teach her where we go potty, how to sit, lay down and so on.  If you are struggling I suggest seeking guidance from a trainer. 

Leaving Young Kids Unsupervised – Most kiddos adore animals, but sometimes their enthusiasm can lead to someone getting hurt. Many times little kiddos can play too rough, pushing a fur-baby and this might cause the animal to strike at them in self-defense. Set rules for how children should treat the pet and teach them to recognize the signs that a dog or cat wants to be left alone.

Adopting a Pet on a Whim – If a family friend is giving away a cute puppy, your local shelter is over crowded or you see a free puppies sign at the local department store you might be tempted to take them home.  But this should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. You need to make sure you understand pets are a long-term commitment and do your research before bringing a pet into your home.  Remember many pets are a 10-20 year commitment, it’s like committing to having another two-legged kiddo in the house.  

Just remember just like raising our two-legged kiddos we are not perfect parents and we are going to make mistakes.  That’s ok…as long as we learn from them and try hard to not make them again….we will be fine.  Enjoy the time you have with your fur-babies….remember even though they are only in your life for a few years, you are their whole life. 

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