A list of the most common mistakes pet owners make. A good example of what not to do with your pet. How to be a better pet owner. Tips for dog owners. Tips for cat owners. What to consider when getting a pet. What are some things a person should know before getting a pet? What are some things every pet owner should know?
Unknowingly, many pet owners make mistakes with their pets; some of these are more serious than others, but all should be considered important for any pet owner to know.
1. Feeding Milk to Cats. Yes, cats like the taste of milk; however, it is not particularly good for them for two reasons. First, milk is high in calcium, and as cats get older calcium contributes to urinary tract problems. Also all dairy products, not just milk, have lactose, and cats are lactose intolerant, some more than others. This will cause stomach upset, which of course you cannot see; in other cats it will result in diarrhea or vomiting. In cats who go outdoors the owner may not even be aware their cat is feeling poorly. Cats can tolerate goat's milk slightly better than cow's.
2. Feeding Low Quality Foods to Cats or Dogs. Some owners pick their pets' food by the price tag. The problem with the cheaper foods is that they mostly contain filler, hard-to digest-ingredients, or things that are not digestible at all. These foods meet the minimum standards in pet nutrition, but sadly these standards are not overly high at all. Such things as by-products may be beaks, feet, and feathers, even cancerous tumors. Corn is a cheap filler with poor digestibility, particularly for cats who are true carnivores. When a person feeds these cheap foods to their pets, the pet actually has to eat more because of the lower meat content. Add to this the fact that these foods use fat to give flavor, and the pet is now eating more food, these foods contribute to obesity and diabetes in pets. Cheap foods mean more poop, and ultimately have a higher cost since the pets must eat more to get proper nutrition. As a rule all cat foods, and dog foods that contain "by-products" are low quality foods.
3. Getting the Wrong Pet. People often see a cute face in the pet store window and take it home. Or they see an ad for puppies for sale and rush to pick the cutest one. The problem is they have not done any breed research, and in six months time find out they have made a mistake. Either the dog has grown too big or does not have the personality traits they value. A border collie is NOT a lap dog, and is one of the most surrendered dogs at shelters (at least in my area) due to a failure of people to do breed research. A person who does not like to be scratched makes a bad decision when they bring home a kitten.
4. Surprising Somebody. A pet should never be a surprise gift, nor should it be brought into a home where not all family members are in agreement. People do not bond easy with pets they have not selected for themselves. When brought into homes where one, or more, members did not expect the pet, it may be resented, and treated poorly as a result.
5. Paying Too Much. A cat or dog who is not vaccinated, wormed, or comes with a heath guarantee is not worth a cent. Many people get taken in by a cute face and they willingly pay for a pet who has not had any value added to it. Unfortunately some of these people then get an unhealthy animal or one with huge medical expenses. It is not unusual for a person to pay for a pet only to have it die later of a heart defect or other problem. With no guarantee of health, the buyer not only supported a low quality breeder, (a good breeder would offer a lifetime genetic health guarantee) but experienced heart ache too.
6. Failure to Train or Meet the Animal's Mental Needs. This applies mostly to people who get smart pets, such as parrots and dogs, particularly the smarter dog breeds. When not given enough mental stimulation these animals become bored and destructive. Usually the owners then refer to their pets as stupid and get rid of them. In fact it was owner error, by not meeting the pet's needs. Smart pets need jobs, and if not given jobs they will find them. Smart dogs are not content with a run, even if it is long, they need to be mentally challenged, as with catching Frisbees, or doing agility. For birds, learning to talk is a challenge as are some of the toys a person can acquire for them, but enough time out of their cage is a must, too. Smart pets do not like being left alone for any period of time.
7. Getting a Pet for a Child. One of the biggest, and saddest, mistakes people make is to get a pet for a child. Furthermore they add the rule that if the child fails to care for the pet they will get rid of it. To be brutally honest children do not, and cannot, understand what a lifetime commitment is. No ethical breeder or seller would ever sell to a child, so they view the parent as the owner. A parent who is unwilling to care for a pet if their child should tire of it should very simply not get a pet. After all, it was the parent who took on the ownership role. Getting the pet isn't the mistake here, but putting too much responsibility on the child is. An understanding parent would know they will very likely have to remind the child to clean the cage and so forth, and that there will be times they will be needed to help.
8. Failure to Contact a Veterinarian. Sadly, people think that if they leave a problem alone it will go away. People even turn to strangers on the Internet looking for help for their ailing pet. Sometimes this puts the pet's life in danger. Planning on visits to the vet is an important part of pet ownership. Pet owners who live paycheck to paycheck are the ones who most often risk their pet's life by denying it regular and emergency vet care. Before getting a pet, a person should have enough money put away for vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and emergency care, or they can consider getting pet insurance.