Deciding to bring a new dog into your family is exciting — it’s also a long-term life decision. It’s important to be prepared before you embark on the journey of bringing a new four-footer into the home!
There are some common problems that folks run into, but once you’re aware of them, you can steer your pup towards a healthy and happy future.
Here are five common mistakes dog parents make:
Impulse AdoptionsIt’s common knowledge that dogs have an average lifespan of 10-15 years. But when those puppy-dog eyes are melting your heart, it can be easy to forget that you’ll need to budget for a decade or more of veterinary bills, food, supplies and grooming. If you have children, the companion animal of a ten-year-old is likely to become yours when your child goes off to college. Sleep on any adoption decision, and do your homework before you bring that pup home!
Failing to Spay or NeuterFor starters, spaying and neutering drastically reduces the risk of some cancers. These procedures can also reduce behavioral problems, such as roaming, fighting, and mood swings. Most obviously, spaying and neutering reduces dog overpopulation. Your veterinarian will know the best timing for your dog’s spay or neuter surgery.
Poor Training TechniquesUnfortunately, some pet parents use punishments rather than reward-based training — this can create major barriers to the bond you share with your pet. Instead, concentrate your efforts on setting boundaries to set your pet up for success.
Keep them safe using supervision and a controlled environment — use a leash during walks or in a pet-proof room or crate when home alone. Above all, you should provide rewards for good behavior, like healthy dog treats. This will reinforce appropriate behaviors and prevent problems from becoming habits.
Failing to VaccinateThis mistake represents a troubling trend - more and more new pet parents are failing to vaccinate their companion animals. Distemper and parvovirus in dogs are still very present in much of the United States and prove fatal for a significant number of pets annually — the bottom line is vaccines do save lives. If you have a new puppy or dog , make sure you provide them with ‘core vaccines’, which includes protection against rabies, distemper and parvo in dogs. If you have rescued an adult who has no verifiable vaccination history, two boosters of core vaccines are advised. For non-core vaccines, such as canine lyme, discuss these preventatives with your vet.
Being Reactive and Not ProactiveLast but not least, new pet parents tend to be reactive rather than proactive when it comes to their companion animal’s overall health. Obviously, it is important to address health problems with your veterinarian when they arise. However, it is equally important to take the steps now to ensure the long-term health of your furry friend. Remember, a dog’s health starts with their primary nutrition source — their food. Make sure they are eating a high-quality diet that is complete and balanced!
New pet parents need to know that getting off to the right start, including diet and lifestyle choices, can improve the health, longevity and quality of life for their pets. Avoid these common mistakes and you will be well on your way to being a happy pet parent with a happy, healthy new best friend!
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Life's Abundance has been in business since 1999.
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Lisa and Rich Jelinek