Everyone loves a sweet puppy or adorable furry-faced dog; but when you get down to it, there is more to dog care than appreciating their loveable nature.

Much more.

New dog owners sometimes go into the adoption only seeing all of the joy, wonder, and unconditional love offered by a pet, but forget that owning a well-behaved dog means more than just loving dogs.

The team at Town and Country Animal Hospital is here to explain some of the mistakes new owners make, so that you can avoid them. Let’s begin!

Top 7 Mistakes New Dog Owners Make

There are many factors to consider before you dive into pet ownership. It would be great to just go out and save all the dogs, but we must understand our limitations and what are some deciding factors when choosing the right fur friend.

Many dogs are returned to shelters after unsuccessful adoptions. It is incredibly hard on dogs to be returned over and over again, when potential adopters didn’t consider certain aspects of owning a new dog. Here are some of the most common mistakes.

  • Choosing the wrong dog. In a perfect world, every dog would be the best match without any issues to consider. But there are some breeds that just don’t jibe well with certain individuals. This could be because of demeanor or size, energy level, or training needs. Consider your lifestyle and any limitations you might have with a dog who requires more training and socialization work (project dog), space (needs to run), and temperament.
  • Assuming you don’t have to train them. Many new pet owners adopt an adult dog thinking they must have already had their initial housetraining and socialization. Unfortunately many pets end up at shelters and rescues because of issues like not being potty trained or doesn’t get along well with other pets and people. Understand that even the right dog for you will require a little help and patience as they adjust to their new home.
  • Never establishing “the rules”. This is another big problem for new dog owners. They love their new pup so much, they let them run the house. From jumping up on people to eating off of plates, this lack of household rules can result in a poorly behaved dog who has trouble acclimating to any new environment. Figure out what rules are appropriate for your new pet and make sure everyone in the home is also on board.
  • Not exercising and playing with the new dog. In our busy daily life, it is tempting to just assume your dog will get enough enrichment and exercise on their own. Lack of exercise leads to behavior problems and obesity. Depending on the breed, most dogs need to be exercised at least 20 minutes each day. High energy breeds like Jack Russell terriers and Australian Shepherds require more. Interaction from you is so important to the bonding experience you will gain with your furry loved one.
  • Not recieving wellness care. Annual veterinary visits not only provide thorough examinations for your pet’s well-being but it is also the place for important vaccines and diagnostic testing, like blood work. Without these visits, we may not be able to detect a problem early, before it progresses into something serious. These veterinary visits are the foundation of good health and longevity. They are also a great place to ask questions about excellent pet care.
  • Assuming heartworm prevention isn’t important. We have seen a spike in cases of heartworm over the past few years. This parasitic disease is carried by mosquitoes and can have devastating impacts on your pet’s health. Heartworm can result in your dog having to have surgery along with treatments, and it is a painful and expensive disease for a dog to have. Annual heartworm testing and monthly prevention is effective and much less expensive and devastating than having your dog  test positive.
  • Ignoring dental health. As we have come to learn through human dentistry, dental care plays a key role in overall health because it can prevent periodontal disease which leads to other diseases. Untreated dental disease is common in dogs over 3 years. Periodontal disease is linked to other systemic diseases like heart disease, liver conditions, and kidney failure. Regular toothbrushing and annual checkups can go a long way to great oral hygiene.
These are some of the reasons why dogs may not get the best care or succumb to behavioral issues. Ill-prepared dog owners may just be misguided, but the end result reduces the quality of life and longevity for many fur friends.
The great news is that these reasons can be remedied with education, awareness, and the positive steps to raising an amazing pup. For more information on becoming a great new dog owner, or to schedule a wellness exam, please call us.