Puppy owners everywhere want to provide excellent care for their pups. Puppies come with their own challenges—the potty training, the chewing, the energy—they can be exhausting. Want to know how to be the best puppy owner out there? Avoid these 10 puppy owner mistakes, and you’ll be all set.
Skipping Vet Visits and Vaccinations
Don’t save trips to the veterinarian for only when your puppy is sick. You must ensure your pup regularly sees the vet and stays current on vaccines. Regular vet appointments are vital to your dog’s development and health, so ignoring or skipping the visits could mean significant issues get missed.
Your dog may not be the biggest fan of the vet, but don’t use that as an excuse to miss the visit. During the physical exam, the vet will check your puppy’s vitals, heart, weight, teeth, and lungs. The veterinarian may run a few more tests if they believe they’re necessary.
As your dog gets older, vet visits will become even more critical. An aging dog can develop health issues, so it’s best to fix them ASAP. It means your pup can spend more time with you.
Avoiding Puppy Protection
The future is unpredictable, and providing puppy protection can help safeguard you and your pup from risks and harm. Getting your puppy microchipped is one of the best things you can do. Of course, no puppy owner wants their dog to run away, but things happen. Microchipping quickly provides your dog’s information to the vet’s office to help you reunite with your puppy.
Don’t scoff at pet insurance. It may seem like a waste of money, but you never know when an accident could happen. Pet insurance will help cover unexpected vet bills and keep your puppy happy and healthy.
Not Socializing Your Dog
All new puppy owners want healthy and well-behaved furry friends, and that’s why early socialization is important. Your pup is less likely to develop aggressive behaviors as they grow or become scared or anxious in unfamiliar situations.
Take your puppy to places full of new sights, sounds, smells, and people. This step is crucial during their first three months. Introduce them to new positive experiences and reinforce these familiarities as the puppy matures.
The dog park is excellent for socializing your new puppy with other dogs and humans. Visiting a pet store and taking a walk around the neighborhood are also great options. Ensure your dog has their current vaccines before socializing them with other pups.
Not Taking Training Seriously
Many dogs reach physical and emotional maturity by two years of age. Ensure your pup has developed good habits by the time they reach this age. Puppy training goes beyond commands like sit, stay, and lay down. Teach them to walk on a leash, stay down, and not run away.
Consistency is key when it comes to puppy training. Enroll your pup in a local puppy training class to help your puppy successfully learn good behaviors. Making training a significant part of your dog’s day will lead to a well-behaved and happy pup down the road.
Getting a Puppy Before You’re Ready
Getting a puppy is A LOT of work. Running to your local shelter or pet store to get a pup without much thought can be easy. Who can deny those adorable eyes and floppy ears? Being a dog owner is a long-term commitment with loads of responsibility, and you can’t make the decision lightly.
Consider these life factors before you get a new puppy:
- Will a dog fit into your home? Will the new furry family member affect other family members, roommates, or close friends?
- Is a new dog in the budget? Don’t forget about vet appointments, food, treats, toys, grooming, and other expenses.
- Do you have enough time to walk, train, and care for a puppy?
- Do you know what dog breed is best for you? Are you looking for a mixed breed of purebred? Each dog breed requires different levels of grooming, physical activity, and lifestyle. Some pups are more laid back, and others need a lot of training and mental stimulation to thrive.
- Is your lifestyle suitable for a dog? Are you willing to make the schedule changes needed for a new puppy?
Answering these questions can help you decide if a new canine addition is right for you. It can prevent you from making a major mistake—getting a new puppy before you’re ready—and prepare you for new puppy ownership.
Ignoring Puppy Dental Health
Dental health is vital for your growing puppy’s overall well-being and health. While at your pup’s first vet visit, ask about your puppy’s gums and teeth. Just like humans, puppies have to deal with teething. It begins around two weeks and continues until the puppy is eight to 10 weeks old.
Invest in chew toys and learn how to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Take your puppy to yearly dental exams from the vet. These tips will give your pup a healthy mouth.
Your puppy will grow quickly, which may lead you to believe they can eat as much as they want. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Discuss with your veterinarian how much dog food you should feed your pup, and avoid giving them too many treats or table scraps.
Excess weight can lead to health issues and a shorter life expectancy. All dog owners want their pups to live as long as possible. Some of these health problems include:
- Joint pain
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory disease
Managing your puppy’s weight is one of the best things you can do for them. Feed them a balanced diet, keep table scraps to a minimum, and don’t give them too many treats. Ensure your puppy is getting enough exercise.
Not Giving Your Puppy Enough Attention
Growing, active puppies need a lot of care and attention. Some puppy owners underestimate the amount of playtime, walks, maintenance, training, and cuddles their dog needs.
Avoid leaving your new puppy home alone all day. If you work outside the home, consider taking a few days off after bringing your puppy home to help integrate them seamlessly into the environment. Look into doggy daycare or a dog walker to give your pup the attention, stimulation, and socialization they require throughout the day.
Not Finding the Best Dog Food
Walk down any dog food aisle at a store, and you can become easily overwhelmed. There are many different brands; knowing which will be best for your pup is challenging. Avoid going into the store or shopping online and purchasing the first puppy food you see.
First, you should feed your pup puppy food instead of dog food. Puppies need high-fat and protein diets, and puppy food helps fulfill those nutritional needs. Look at the ingredients in the food. It may contain something your pup is allergic to. You can always talk with your vet about puppy food if you’re indecisive.
Not Providing Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention
Fleas, ticks, and heartworms negatively affect your puppy’s overall health and can pose serious risks. They carry harmful diseases that can be fatal. But the good news—all three are preventable! Discuss with your pup’s vet to learn the best flea, tick, and heartworm treatments and what age they should begin prevention.
Understanding the common owner puppy mistakes will ensure you avoid making the same ones. You can look forward to a happy and healthy pup and creating a lifetime of memories. Ensure you invest in the right puppy gear too. Invest in a custom puppy collar, a comfortable dog bed, a sturdy leash, and more to get off on the right foot. Congratulations on your new puppy!