15 mistakes that animal lovers should avoid

Pet owners really like to show how much they love their animals. But sometimes, gestures that are meant well do more harm than good. Here are 15 mistakes that quite a few (potential) pet owners make:

1. Forgetting that their world revolves around us


Like babies, animals need our attention. As well as feeding them and taking them for daily walks, you should always find the time to play with them and to stroke them. Dogs and cats love to spend time with people.

Our advice: never underestimate and forget how important you are to your pets.

2. Shouting at them for every mistake and any disobedience


Our pets have feelings too and know when they have done something wrong. They even feel guilty and ashamed. Act like it's your job to educate them properly, and that you are ultimately responsible for any misbehavior. Then they only do wrong when you don't explain yourself properly.

Our advice: no matter how much it upsets you when your pet does something wrong, stay calm and don't deviate from your training methods. When you yell in anger, it confuses and frightens your pet, which makes everything worse.

3. Leaving them alone for long periods


Sometimes we think that our animals can amuse themselves or simply sleep when we're away. That's not quite true. If cats and dogs are alone for many hours, they become nervous and sad.

Our advice: if you're staying away from home over night, invite a friend or relative to take care of your pet. You could also buy another pet as a playmate for the first one.

4. Waking up house pets when we want to


In exactly the same way you try to be quiet when a family member is having a nap, you should also take care not to disturb a sleeping pet. Even animals should be able to sleep in peace, as a sudden awakening can be very stressful, especially if this happens regularly.

Our advice: pets don't need to be coddled like infants, however, you shouldn't wake them up without a particular reason.

5. Staring


As humans, when we are stared at, it usually makes us feel uncomfortable. In the Animal Kingdom, staring means that you are in danger and are about to fight.

Our advice: when you look lovingly at your pet, take care not to do it too intrusively or conspicuously.

6. Using different words for the same command


In your dog's mind, "Fetch your toy!" and "Where is the ball?" are two different things. Using instructions that are not specific enough can confuse your pet.

Our advice: use just one word or phrase for a concrete instruction.

7. Sharing food


For some people, it seems unbelievably difficult not to share their food with their house pet. However, it isn't a good idea. Our food is not designed to meet the nutritional needs of our animals, which is why it can potentially damage their health. If you want to see your adored animal companion in the best of health, then talk to your vetinarian about what you should feed them and when.

Our advice: don't feed your pet fast food or other processed food. For any questions about their diet, visit a specialist.

8. Ignoring it when your pets are lazy


Like humans, animals need to keep moving to stay healthy. Even if your dog or cat has a hatch for getting out — a little walk or some other activity can work wonders. Too little activity can often lead to them becoming overweight and having joint problems.

Our advice: try to spend time with your pet in the fresh air at least once a day. You can play or simply go for a short run.

9. Kissing and cuddling


Every time we pass by our dog or cat, we like it best when we can take them in our arms and hug them. Unfortunately, for our beloved four-legged friends, this is often very stressful, as it doesn't happen in the animal world. Too much affection can confuse your pets.

Our advice: you can teach your pet the signal word "on," so they know beforehand that they are about to be picked up and hugged.

10. Delayed training


It's hard to be tough and consistent when dealing with puppies or kittens. We often believe that there's always enough time for proper training, but the opposite is true. The sooner an animal learns what is right and what is wrong, the easier it will learn and understand.

Our advice: you have to correct any wrongdoing immediately. If you discover a yellow puddle after getting in from work, don't waste any time and don't be lenient. At the same time, you should praise your pet when it does something right. Doing this will create positive associations, as well as instilling the desired behavior in the longterm.

11. "Don't worry."


Our pets often sense when something bad is going to happen. For example, when your dog is afraid of having a bath, it will run away as soon as the water starts flowing into the tub. We try to comfort our four-legged friends in a personal way, to take away their fear. As a result, our pets struggle to understand phrases like "Don't worry" or "Everything is okay!" On the contrary, these words of comfort will always be connected with unpleasant experiences.

Our advice: don't use any reassuring words, but behave casually and naturally. As a result, your pet will feel safer.

12. One cat toilet for all

Shutterstock/Albina Tiplyashina

It would be really useful, if all your cats would share just one toilet. In reality, all animals need their own place to relieve themselves, above all for cats, who are proud by nature.

Our advice: provide an individual toilet for each animal and place it in its own fixed location. Check beforehand if you have enough space to provide a happy life for several pets.

13. Scolding an animal for eating food that was left out


How many times have you left out some delicious food on the kitchen table and forgotten about it, only for the beloved family pet to come along and steal it? On first glance, of course you're angry with the little thief, but you should pause for a moment. Animals behave instinctively and don't have the same self-control as humans — and even we aren't always that disciplined.

Our advice: assume that your pet will not resist this sort of temptation. Take care that all your food is stored in the refrigerator or the cupboard before leaving the kitchen.

14. Leaving behind too much food  


A lot of people leave too much food behind when they are going to be out of the house a while. However, if the food is not portioned out properly, animals will still eat it, even if they are not hungry. This can lead to health and weight problems.

Our advice: make sure that your animal gets the right portions of food according to its age, breed and weight. Normally, you can find the right amounts on the packaging or by asking a veterinarian.

15. Spontaneously getting a pet


It sounds so easy to persuade yourself that you would never do that. However, again and again dogs and other animals are abandoned or neglected because their owners underestimated the responsibility that comes with looking after an animal.

Our advice: before you turn the dream of having a pet into a reality, let a few weeks go by. Then see if you still really want to have a dog or a cat. It's also important to find out any special needs for particular breeds in advance — for example in comparison to the average house cat. Basically, the better informed you are, the better prepared you are.

If you follow all this advice, it's very likely you'll improve not only your pet's life, but yours too!


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