What are the Common Mistakes New Dog Owners Make?

If you have chosen to purchase a puppy or adopt an older dog – congratulations! We have no doubt that your new furry friend will bring you years of fun, companionship and love. However, taking on a dog is a big responsibility and if you are new to taking care of a canine, there are many unexpected habits and traps you can fall into that don’t necessarily ensure the best for your pet. If you don’t realize what these are, you can’t possibly be expected to put them right. To help you out, here are some of the most common mistakes that new dog owners make and how to avoid them.

Choosing the wrong breed of dog for your home and lifestyle

Different breeds of dog can have very different physical and behavioral characteristics and picking the right sort to fit in with your home and lifestyle is essential if you are to enjoy a harmonious relationship. For example:

- Bassett Hounds are laid-back family dogs, most of whom are very happy in homes with children.

- Dalmatians have a great deal of energy and need an owner that can offer them plenty of exercise as well as affection.

- Pugs are a very cute ‘toy’ breed and ideal for homes where space is limited. However, your pug will thrive on your companionship and may not like being left alone for too long.

- Weimaraners are handsome dogs who are highly intelligent and easy to train. Nevertheless, they can become bored quickly and this can lead to undesirable behaviors if they aren’t given enough physical and mental stimulation.

You also need to take into account the grooming requirements of your potential new dog. Some animals need brushing on a daily basis, and if this isn’t something that you have time for, you may wish to consider a different breed.

Not registering your dog with your vet

Contrary to popular belief, a visit to the vets shouldn’t only be a priority when your dog is sick or injured. Vets actually play a crucial role in preventative care and can help to protect your canine pal from a variety of illnesses and diseases that could have a detrimental effect on his health and wellbeing. Regular wellness exams are recommended to all pets, and these ensure that your vet can track the ongoing health and condition of your furbaby, as well as advising on importance preventative care measures such as vaccinations and parasite preventatives.

Failing to take out insurance

Pet insurance may seem like an unnecessary expense if your dog isn’t currently unwell, but since our animal’s bodies are as fragile as our own and sickness or injury can occur at any time, it pays to be prepared. Veterinary medical costs can quickly mount up, and you don’t want to be in a position whereby you are forced to compromise on the quality of care your dog receives due to your finances. The appropriate pet insurance can reduce or eliminate this problem.

Changing your dog’s food immediately

While it is perfectly understandable to want to change your dog’s food if what she has previously been fed is unsuitable, too expensive or difficult to source in your area, doing so should never be undertaken suddenly. An unexpected and sudden change to your dog’s diet could cause a multitude of digestive problems including pain, constipation or diarrhea, trapped wind and more. Instead, you should speak to your vet about the best way to transition your dog to your preferred brand of dog food slowly so that it has minimal impact on her wellbeing.

Neglecting her dental health

You may not realize it immediately but taking care of your pet’s teeth is as important as your own. Your dog may be unlikely to develop cavities, but periodontal disease is a very real threat that can cause pain and other unpleasant symptoms. Left untreated, it can lead to jaw bone deterioration, tooth loss and even widespread infection if the bacteria enter her blood and travel to the major organs of her body. In fact, periodontal disease has been shown to be contributor to the development of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

If you are considering taking on a dog for the first time and would like further advice on the best ways to prepare and what mistakes you should avoid making, our friendly and experienced vets would be happy to help. Please contact our Penn Valley, CA office to schedule an appointment.