Accessibility Tools

What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew written by Tuscawilla Animal Hospital.

What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew – A blog article by Tuscawilla Animal Hospital. So many times we get calls from first-time pet owners, we have seen a lot of questions come up over and over again. therefore, we felt it was time to write a blog article to help any and all first-time pet parents. Enjoy!

Understanding if you need to be worried about your pet’s health is a very technical answer. Sometimes, you need to watch them for a fire ant bite versus swallowing pest control products – you need to drive over right away – call us on the way over. Both scenarios are serious, but one is so much more serious than another. we want to help guide you through the murky world of pet safety/health.

What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew - A blog article by Tuscawilla Animal Hospital.

What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew – A blog article by Tuscawilla Animal Hospital.

Recently, after a long day at the office, one of my family friends called me about their new puppy that had been adopted recently. My friend was quite nervous that her new puppy had just swallowed a large piece of rawhide.

They are such good people and that said being first-time dog owners, they were naturally worried and wanted to do the best for their “baby.” So I started to share the signs and symptoms to watch for in the case of possible bowel obstruction.

Plus, I gave them my personal advice to avoid rawhide because it is not the best option for dogs. Then, shared several good alternatives which are available at the local grocery store in town. These options would help with teething and satisfying the natural chewing instinct most puppies have.

But, after this phone call – I was chatting with my spouse and came up with this blog article. So you can sort of ‘thank’ our family friends for helping me come up with this blog article.

What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew – A blog article by Tuscawilla Animal Hospital.

The very next day, I went into the office and asked our highly trained veterinarians for their best advice for a new dog or cat owner. Here are the responses, I got back from those highly respected animal hospital team members.

Everything is a training opportunity – What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew

Yes, everything that happens with your pet is a training opportunity. From wanting to chase a squirrel to having an accident in the house. We feel a pet’s behavior is one of the most overlooked, yet most important aspects of a pet’s life.

We recommend always using treats and praise for training. Positive reinforcement is key for teaching a pet what ‘TO DO’ rather than simply scolding them when they do something you don’t want them to do. Start training, acclimating to handling, and working on socializing for a few minutes daily. A well-trained dog is usually less stressed and is less stressful for owners.

Our veterinarians also suggest using every opportunity to train your new pet using positive reinforcement. This leads to a less anxious pet and a better overall relationship with your pet too. Remember that Peanut butter (Xylitol free!), Cheez-Whiz, and wet food are great treats for your friends!

Use a calming touch – What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew

Did you know, puppies and kittens can get used to being touched? It is true, by calmly touching your pet, you are assisting us at the animal hospital for their first or annual visit. By doing this, you are creating a positive situation where a vet visit is less stressful!

Consider practicing nail trims at first by just giving a treat to your puppy while simply touching their paws. Repeat this over and over with calm touching of their nails. Next, calmly with a reassuring voice hold out their paw and show the nail clippers near the nail.

We recommend doing this for a few days to weeks. This slow approach decreases fear, anxiety, and stress. Doing a calm touch when you practice relaxes your pet associated with whatever activity you practice!

Here are a handful of other health-related activities including brushing teeth, looking in ears, looking in the mouth, and touching their belly. Setting aside just 20 minutes a day to commit to doing this will increase the trust your pet has in you and strengthen your bond as well.

Build Confidence In Daily Activities – What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew

Our vet team thinks it is important to acclimate your fur baby to normal daily activities. These could include but are not limited to things they’ll experience in life such as walking on a leash, car rides, and of course, hearing loud sounds.

Make sure the puppy spends some time (maybe about an hour or so) away from owners daily to help them learn to be on their own. It will decrease the risk of developing separation anxiety, which is especially important now with so many people working and schooling from home. Also, don’t go places like dog parks or the dog beach until they are fully vaccinated.

Lastly, we recommend that you call us to talk about when your pet shows signs of anxiety in general or even if it’s just for storms, we can help you make sure they are comfortable.

Some examples of loud sounds can include:

  • thunderstorms
  • doorbells
  • knocking on the door
  • vacuum cleaners
  • repair work in or around your home

Socialization is another important confidence-building activity. This needs to start happening at an early age. We recommend that you have your pet meet other people and animals in a controlled way. Have them meet new people such as family members and friends.

Take them out to meet your family friend’s pets. After they get all their vaccines consider taking them to new places such as a park, dog park, pet-friendly stores, and so on. Our vet team stresses the importance of exercise and interaction for new pets. This will lessen how destructive new pets can be.

For new kitten owners only engage in “legal play;” if your kitten bites your hand, immediately replace it with a toy. It may be cute when tiny kitten teeth bite your finger, but adult cat teeth hurt a lot more! Remember, toys and enrichment for every age can help decrease anxiety and boredom.

What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew

Make certain your pet get plenty of exercise – What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew

Tuscawilla Animal Hospital recommends that new pet owners think of their puppy as not just a living, breathing toy, but as a responsibility. Exercise is important; a tired puppy is a happy (and usually better behaved) puppy too.

Be careful with tennis balls. Tennis balls are great for a game of supervised fetch, but they are too easy to pull apart, and the green fur on them is actually dangerous if swallowed. So run to the pet store and get a big pet-friendly version for your animal.

Also, avoid kids’ stuffed animals. While it can be sweet when your child wants to give the family pet their stuffed animals, plush toys for kids are not designed for pets. They are easily destroyed, allowing stuffing, buttons, and other parts to become choking hazards and potential intestinal blockages.

Yes, kittens do need lots of interaction too. They can be taught to fetch, walk on a leash, and do many other things if owners want to try to train them. Without enrichment, they are more likely to find ways to entertain themselves that may be more destructive.

Kittens find yarn irresistible, but do you know why this adorable combo could be deadly? Few things are cuter than a kitten and a ball of yarn, but unfortunately, it’s a potentially deadly combination – believe it or not. String, ribbon, rubber bands, and yarn are very dangerous when swallowed, and they are very easily swallowed.

Many toys that are marketed for cats have these adornments attached, so supervision is needed. Toy mice may have eyes, noses, ears, and tails glued on and should either be removed or checked regularly to ensure there are no loose parts.

Also, ping pong or other hard balls are good choices for kittens and cats but avoid foam balls. These balls have been known to get stuck in the mouths of cats, with them being unable to open their jaw wide enough to get their teeth out of the ball.

Kittens need to find ways to entertain themselves, so do some research when they are sleeping to make their day extra fun.

Here are a few ideas to try out:

  • Walk Your Kitty. Leash walking is not only for dogs.
  • Hide-and-Seek. These games unleash the predatory nature in cats.
  • Food Hunting.
  • Watching TV. Yes, they enjoy watching shows believe or not.
  • Feather and String.
  • Catnip Toys.
  • Paper Bags or Cardboard Boxes.

Food & Your Pet – What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew

Always use positive reinforcement for your new kitten(s) as well. Attempt to have your kitten start to eat at least some wet food after a busy day of playing and exercise. Wet food is better long-term for their kidneys.

Tuscawilla Animal Hospital does recommend they get some wet food daily, even if you don’t intend to feed it to them as adults. Starting them on it as kittens can make it easier to transition if they need wet food as adults.

Earlier, we mentioned rawhide, but what other pet foods should you avoid giving your new pet?
The list below is either much too hard for teeth of any age dog, or they get soft and pose choking and/or obstruction issues which can require surgery. Here is a good rule of thumb -if you can’t make a dent in it with your fingernail, don’t let your dog chew it. With that here is a list of a few other chew toys to avoid altogether:

  • hooves
  • antlers
  • pigs ears
  • and other “natural” chews

Did you know that a grain-free diet isn’t best? It is true, we want to let new pet parents know that feeding a grain-free diet isn’t what’s closest to “nature” and doesn’t eliminate future possible allergies. In fact, pet allergies are almost always linked to the protein source. Grain-free diets can actually lead to heart issues. With that being said, starting out on the right foot can lead to years of wonderful companionship.

We hope we’ve answered some questions you may have wondered about, and even some you may not have thought of. And if you have any others, please, feel free to ask! Together we can help you and your new pet be together for a very long time.

Thanks for reading this blog article on – What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew, this blog article was prepared by the Tuscawilla Animal Hospital.

The Tuscawilla Animal Hospital wrote this article to help you better understand ‘What Veterinarians Wish Every New Pet Parent Knew’. You might still have questions, feel free to call us and ask our caring staff members who are caring for your pet. Follow us on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook now! Remember we love caring for your pet no matter what stage of life he or she is in. Again, thanks for reading this blog article.