As a future veterinarian, I am very interested in educating pet owners in ways that they can successfully understand their pets’ needs and behaviors. Becoming a new pet owner is exciting and a great opportunity to learn how to be a good mom or dad. Having a pet for the first time will bring you a lot of joy and happiness, but it is always a big responsibility. Any kind of pet requires time, love, and patience. You should be willing to provide him/her all they need to grow up happy and healthy. There 4 tips to succeed as a new pet owner:
- Schedule a vet visit to check his current health status and ask your vet any questions you might have. Be responsible and get your pet vaccinated, dewormed, and microchipped when he/she turns 6 weeks old. Keep a record of your pet vaccines and put them in a safe place. Keep a reminder of when your pet will next be due for their vaccines and physical exam. If you do not want more pets, get your pet spayed and neutered as soon as possible. That way, you can also avoid territorial behaviors such as urinating, testicular cancer, female heat behaviors, uterine infections, and breast cancer. But more importantly, it helps to prevent overpopulation.
- Become familiar with heartworm disease and get your dog on heartworm preventives early. This is something every owner should do to improve good quality care. Heartworm disease is caused by Dirofilaria immitis, which is carried by mosquitoes and spread through mosquito bites. Many dogs have died from congestive heart failure, due to the large parasitic infection in the right heart. There are multiple heartworm preventives, including a monthly chewable pill, as well as an injectable that lasts for 6 months. Be sure to do a heartworm check at least annually, even if your pet is on a preventative.
- Enroll your pet in socialization workshops or training workshops. It’s very important to have a dog that can behave well among other animals and humans. Take your dog to social events and dog parks to promote socialization. It is always a good idea to enroll your fur baby in socialization workshops or training provided by professional trainers, behavior center located in vet schools or humane society organizations. Through these workshops, your dog can learn the appropriate behavior to different scenarios. He or she will show more confidence and be less fearful in social interactions.
- Educate yourself. Make some time to read about common behaviors. This includes how to read your dog’s body language, especially its ears, eyes, and body posture. Posture is essential to determine if the dog is fearful, aggressive or playful. For example, when a dog is tense the eyes are rounder, and that’s called whale eye. But when a dog is scared, its pupils are dilated. If you want to learn, there is plenty of good information about these topics available here.