As anyone with one will tell you, having a pet is very much like having a child. They demand your time, zap your savings, always do the opposite of what they’re told and are the greatest thing to happen to your life.
But whether you’re the owner of one pet or seven, sometimes you make mistakes. In a recent Reddit thread, vets shared the biggest and most common mistakes they see pet owners making and it’s eye opening.
Pin it, save it or send to a friend – this is one list you’re going to want to read later.
1. Letting them get fat.
“Obesity is one of the most common problems I see,” wrote one vet.
“Your pets depend on you and you alone to regulate the amount of food you provide to them, and thus their weight,” added another.
“Obesity affects all body systems and unfortunately will often translate to a shorter lifespan.”
2. Not taking care of their teeth.
“One of the most common things we see, and a very serious issue at that, is dental disease in pets, and often the owner has no idea that their animal’s teeth are bad at all,” wrote user series_of_adjectives.
“Dental disease affects all body systems (bacteria and dental disease go hand in hand, and those bacteria end up all throughout the body, affecting organs such as the kidneys and the heart), not to mention it flipping hurts!!”
According to the vet, just because your pet is still eating, doesn’t mean they don’t have an oral health issue.
"The truth of it is, is you eat or starve. I like to tell people that the most common symptom you'll see in dental disease (besides, of course, the yucky mouth itself) is no symptoms," he says.
He recommends daily tooth brushing at home with a veterinary toothpaste and regular physical examinations and professional dental cleanings.
3. Buying breeds with low life expectancy.
"Certain breeds are terribly bred. The bulldog is by far the worst breed and you are signing yourself up to be paying for a lot of vet bills," wrote user carlyrhodes.
4. Not cutting your pet's nails.
"I can't tell you how many times I've had to wrestle an ingrown nail out of an animals flesh. And that stuff can get in there deep. And most of the time, the animal doesn't give you any signs that it's in pain and the owners don't even notice it's happening," wrote user amoyensis13.
Owners are advised to keep an eye on nail lengths and use your best judgement.
5. Relying on medical advice from the wrong people.
"Getting and relying on medical advice from breeders and groomers (with no medical background) [is a common mistake]. I once saw a rat terrier with a fractured humerus, which typically requires surgical correction," wrote user Doc_StockandBarrel.
"As I stepped out of the room to check availability with a surgeon, the client called the dog’s breeder who said not to follow my advice and to 'just put the dog in a sling' and that she’s 'done on her own dogs plenty'."
6. Viewing a cool pet as an accessory.
"If you want a cool, look-at-me accessory may I suggest a new hair 'do, a cool jacket or literally anything else besides a snake. These animals are surprisingly delicate to their environments and require everyday husbandry," wrote user Davis5111.
"You scaring people with it or using it as a way to get chicks is not helping the reputation of these pretty awesome creatures. Reptiles in general are very complex pets to keep healthy.
"Do your research please. Learn the diets, the vitamins, the lights, the humidity etc. These animals can live to be over 20 yet rarely do due to poor husbandry."
7. Not socialising puppies.
And not just to other dogs.
"Socialisation (To people! Cats! Men in hats! Vet care! Foot touching, handling, bathing! Car rides! Etc etc etc), basic dog behaviour and development knowledge, and positive reinforcement training with just a few basic commands can be the difference between a well adjusted dog in a loving home and a dog with persistent behaviour issues being surrendered to a shelter," wrote one user.
"Expose them to your tall friends, your friends of different races, your friends with beards, hats, sunglasses. Pull out the broom, an umbrella, an iron board... while giving them treats and having fun the whole time. Try to let them walk on slick floors, bricks, carpet, etc. so they won't have fears of those things," added another.
"Every happy, positive interaction with something makes them less afraid. Every lack of exposure, or negative interaction, makes them more afraid."
8. Treating your dog like your slave.
"Your dog is your FRIEND, not your slave. Your goal is not to make him do exactly whatever you want no matter what. It's to make him have good manners, but also let him have his own preferences, too," wrote user CloudWatcher.
"You're not training him like he's in the circus to do a bunch of stuff for your amusement. You're teaching him how to move safely in the world, which means not doing something (biting, urinating in the house, jumping uncontrollably) that will be a threat to his life some day. More dogs are surrendered and euthanised for behaviour reasons than any other reason."
9. Keeping fish in bowls.
"The idea that fish can be kept in bowls comes from the fact that people in east-asian countries like Japan would temporarily put their fish on display in bowls to show off to guests, and housed them in large ponds most of the time. Westerners assumed such small containers were suitable to house fish in and this is still wide-spread today," wrote one vet.
"Not only does a bowl destroy your fish's health due to the lack of air touching the surface per unit volume of water, but the space you're giving your fish is basically comparable to keeping a human in one room the whole of their life.
"It takes a lot of space, time and money to look after them decently - they're not the low-maintenance pets so many treat them as."
10. Getting a pet when you can't afford one.
"[People need to] understand that if you cannot afford basic veterinary care then you cannot afford a pet. Period. This is an industry with serious mental health concerns. We are routinely presented with cases that could have been avoidable if you’d practiced the suggested preventative care, or brought your pet in for evaluation once the symptoms started rather than waiting six weeks until the animal is beyond help," wrote one vet.
"I do not want to euthanize your beloved family member, but if you have no ability to cover the estimated cost of care, you put us both in an unfortunate situation. The fact that I have to euthanize multiple pets on a daily basis is one of the worst parts of my job. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but oftentimes a traumatic end could be prevented with basic yearly checkups.
"Also please don’t expect me to cry over every euthanasia. If I didn’t distance myself from the heart wrenching sadness, I would never be able to perform my job."
Got any you would add to the list? Tell us below.