5 Tips for New Pet Owners

Bringing a new pet into the home is usually a fun, happy time for a family. If you’re a new pet owner, MobileCare Veterinary Clinic wants to help you prepare for this exciting journey so your companion can live a long, happy, healthy life. The following five tips for new pet owners will help get you started. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your canine or feline friend, give us a call at 210-241-6343.

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House Training

This, of course, is one of the most important aspects of owning a pet. You will want your four-legged friend to be house trained as soon as possible. Regardless of which method of training you choose (crates, newspapers, litter box, etc.), always be patient and consistent with your actions during training. If your pet has an accident or exhibits an unpleasant behavior, gently scold them and demonstrate the appropriate behavior. Remember to also reward your pet with praise and a treat when they succeed.

Dog and Cat Food

Your pet’s diet is another important thing to consider as a new pet owner, as it can have a major impact on their health and lifespan. A high-quality, well-balanced food is the best choice for a pet’s overall health. When selecting a food, always read the ingredients first. Ingredients are listed in weight order, so the first ingredient that’s listed is the ingredient that’s most prevalent in the food. Another thing to consider is researching the brand ahead of time. Of course, you can also speak with your veterinarian for some of the best food options for your pet’s age, breed, and lifestyle.

Feline Scratching Prevention

If your new companion is a cat or kitten with claws, scratching will likely be an issue, especially if you have furniture with textured material. Scratching is a natural, instinctive behavior for cats, but that doesn’t mean your upholstery has to suffer. To prevent your feline friend from scratching, you can use a deterring spray or double-sided tape. You can also use a displacement method; purchase a mixture of scratch posts, cat trees, and/or perches and place them in your home in the areas where your cat frequently scratches. Of course, trimming your cat’s claws regularly will also help protect your furniture.

Biting Prevention 

Biting is a natural, playful behavior for puppies and kittens. While it may seem cute and innocent at this age, if the behavior is allowed to continue into adulthood, it can become a real problem. Discourage biting as soon as you notice it in your new four-legged friend. If they bite you, react in a way that lets them know that biting is not acceptable, such as yelping like an injured animal would. Or, you can simply say “no” in a stern voice. Replacement therapy also works great; if your pet likes to chew on hands, feet, shoes, or any other undesirable item, replace it with a chew toy. When your pet learns to play without biting you, reward them with a treat and praise.

Dog and Cat Toys

With the dozens of options for toys on store shelves, choosing the best ones for your pet can be difficult. For dogs, rubber and rope toys work great for dogs that like to chew on things. Soft toys are recommended for fetch. Many dogs also love to snuggle with their soft toys. Cats are typically fans of dangling toys and things they can chase, so consider wand, teaser, or mice toys. Laser light toys are also great for chasing. Many cats love to hide, so purchasing a tunnel, cube, or cocoon type toy would be a great choice.

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