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12 Crucial Mistakes That Shorten Our Pets’ Lives

Many of us have pets that we love and we try to take good care of them. But we often make mistakes because we don’t have all the right information. Improper care can lead to serious consequences like diseases and a lot of stress for both the animals and their owners.

We at Bright Side really love animals, so we decided to find out which mistakes pet owners make really often.

Mistake 1. Feeding cats with dry food and meat at the same time

At the very beginning, you should choose what you are going to feed your cat — dry cat food or natural food. If you choose natural food, you should consult a professional vet on the list of foods you can feed them. Also, don’t forget to change their water at least once a day. It’s very important that cats stay hydrated.

If you prefer dry or canned cat food, read through the ingredients before you choose a brand. It’s better if the food doesn’t contain any flavoring agents, corn, or GMOs. Also pay attention to the proportion of meat and other components in the cat food.

If you prefer natural food, choose only the foods that are recommended for cats:

  • cooked beef, chicken, turkey, and small amounts of deli meat
  • canned or cooked fish, but never raw fish treats
  • cooked eggs are fine, but never offer your cat raw egg

Foods that are not allowed for cats:

  • Too much tuna can lead to malnutrition or even mercury poisoning
  • Onions, garlic, and chives in any way or form can lead to anemia
  • Dairy products are a big “no” since most cats are lactose intolerant
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Caffeine and chocolate

Mistake 2. Taking pets to the vet less often than once a year

Don’t neglect regular vet visits because this is the only way to avoid certain diseases or find them and cure them in time. You should get your cat vaccinated for the most prevalent diseases — this way, you will keep both the cat and yourself safe. When you visit the vet for the first time, you can register your pet to get its ID — this is the most important document of its life. Ideally, every animal should have an ID.

Mistake 3. Leaving a cat next to an open window

There are many cats that follow their instincts and jump right out of an open window, trying to catch a bird. Only a few of them land without harming themselves, but most cats break their paws, spines, or even die. In order to avoid a tragedy, don’t leave any windows open.

Mistake 4. Avoiding sterilization

This surgery is completely harmless and performed with anesthesia. Sterilization doesn’t have any negative impact on the health of the animals — they actually go on to live long and happy lives. The only thing you should watch out for is extra weight because many cats become lazy and gain extra pounds after these surgeries, so you should be really careful about what they eat. When you spay or neuter, you avoid problems like loud meowing and screaming and your cat will also be easier to deal with.

Mistake 5. Not brushing fur and teeth

You should know the rules for how to care for the specific fur that your cat has. The rules vary depending on the breed: for example, hairless cats should be washed more often, cats with short fur require minimum care, and ones with long fur should be brushed often. If you don’t take care of their fur well enough, cats with long fur might get skin diseases or matts. Also, at least once every 6 months, cats should be washed with special anti-parasitic shampoos.

Mistake 6. Giving food from your table to your dogs

Research shows that feeding dogs from your table is a terrible idea. The stomach and esophagus of people and dogs are completely different and the gastric juices are different too. The digestive system of dogs simply can’t handle most of the foods we eat. It’s better to not express your love to your dog with your food, but with your attention to its diet.

A good diet for dogs should consist of carbs, grains, raw meat, and foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, vegetables and some unsweet fruits are allowed.

Mistake 7. Washing their head first and skipping dental care

Washing is a natural care procedure both in terms of prevention of diseases and in terms of hygiene. It’s better to wash your dog only when it gets dirty, like after a walk in a dusty area. You should always wash the dog’s head at the very end of the bath because your dog can get cold with a wet head and start to shiver.

Also, don’t forget about the health of your dog’s teeth. When you take your pet to the vet next time, ask the doctor to check the condition of their teeth. You can buy a special toothbrush and toothpaste at the pet store and begin regular dental care.

Mistake 8. Not giving a dog enough attention and love

Dogs, unlike “independent” cats, are social animals. They crave communication with you and other dogs. Just like us, dogs need social adaptation in order to develop their personality and character in the right way, otherwise your pet may soon become easily scared, aggressive, and disobedient. Communication and ample time outside will help your pet develop physically, emotionally, and socially.

Mistake 9. Not checking their collar before a walk

The main rule: your dog should be comfortable. For their collar you should be mindful of the following measurements: 2 fingers should fit in between the neck and the collar for medium to big dogs (one finger for smaller dogs). Make sure you follow this rule, because if the collar is too tight it could hurt your dog, and if it’s too loose your dog might simply remove it and run away from you. Don’t forget to change the size of the collar depending on their growth and weight.

Mistake 10. Leaving a dog closed in an apartment for a long time

Dogs of all ages and breeds should have enough time in the fresh air, be able to move a lot, have regular communication with other dogs, and be free to learn about the world. If they don’t have enough physical activity they will protest in their own way: they will be bored and overwhelmed with energy, which might result in them destroying your personal items or your furniture. Besides, a lot of physical activity and discipline are necessary for your pet’s health. Take note next time after a nice, long walk, your dog will probably go right to sleep.

Parakeets

The most common mistakes owners of these birds make:

Keeping parakeet in a cage constantly. You should give it enough time and a safe place for safe flights, otherwise, the bird can die. They need physical activity and some kind of entertainment.

Only offering them seeds to eat. In the wild, parakeets don’t exclusively eat seeds. They need fresh vegetables, fruits, parsley, and even twigs. This diet will keep them healthy and you’ll also notice an improvement in their mood.

Thinking that parakeets don’t eat sand or clay. Only a few people know that these birds don’t have the stomach acid to digest the food — they need clay.

Not giving parakeets enough attention. Owners often play with them and talk to them only a few weeks after they purchase them and then they are forgotten. Parakeets are social creatures, they need at least 30 minutes a day of games and communication.

Getting angry with them. If a parakeet is aggressive, there’s a reason: it might have a disease or maybe you just don’t give it enough attention. Not getting enough attention might actually offend the bird.

Medically treating the bird without a vet. As soon as you notice any strange symptoms, go straight to the vet — the doctor will be able to diagnose the issue and prescribe medicine. If you try to treat the bird yourself, you might end up killing it.

Catching the bird with your hands. Birds get really stressed out when they are caught like this. You should carry them on your fingers or on your palms.

Keeping the cage in a room where there is a lot of steam (like the kitchen or bathroom). Also, don’t place it in a room where people rarely visit.

Guinea pigs

The things guinea pig owners should pay attention to:

  • A very important thing you should keep in mind when buying a guinea pig is that it needs enough room to live. The most common cage is a cage with a deep bottom.
  • Take good care of their fur and their claws. You should cut their fur regularly when their fur starts touching the ground. You can trim the long hairs and cut them more during the summer to prevent it from overheating. You can wash your guinea pig if it smells, but it’s not necessary for their health. If it has long fur, then once every 3 days. Vets recommend cutting their nails once every 4-6 weeks.
  • It’s sad, but guinea pigs often get sick and die because they’re fed the wrong diet. Rodents are very weak in this perspective. 80% of their food should be hay and they need to eat a lot of fresh vegetables so they get the necessary vitamin C. It should have easy and constant access to drinking water.

We wish your pets good health and many long years of life. We hope that this list of mistakes will help you to understand your pets better. And we hope that by taking our advice you start to notice how they feel better. Which pet care mistakes have you made? Tell us in the comment section below!

Please note: This article was updated in November 2021 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
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