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3 of the most common (and completely avoidable) mistakes dog-owners make


Jade Poole from I write words

Mistakes dog owners make

Are you guilty of one or more of these big mistakes? Let’s find out…

The first time you add a furry member to your family, you experience all kinds of emotions: from love, excitement, adoration and so much more. It’s easy to get caught up in all of these emotions and forget that looking after a pet is more than just getting showered in slobbery kisses and going for walks in the park.

Dogs have a number of needs that go beyond their need for food and love, and without knowing it, you might be helping your dog to form harmful habits that make life more difficult for the two of you!

However, with a little research (I suggest you keep reading), some patience, time and discipline, you can easily avoid the biggest mistakes that dog parents so often make.

Remember, every dog is different. That means that every breed and personality will have their own host of special needs, but in following these guidelines, you can set yourself up for years of unconditional love and happiness.

1. Assuming that training and socialisation are not important

Every SINGLE dog needs basic training and socialisation implemented from a young age. Some breeds may need it more than others. Not training your dog is immediately putting him or her at a disadvantage and making both of your lives that much more difficult. Basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘drop it’ and knowing when to come when called will not only make your life easier, but they could even potentially save your dog from danger.

What happens when your dog gets out of your garden and runs down the street, blissfully unaware of the danger this might entail and not knowing what to do when you call her name. Or when your dog picks up something to eat that she shouldn’t and with a simple ‘drop’ command you could help save her from a world of tummy issues and possible vet bills.

In the case of socialising, your dog needs to be able to play and respond kindly to other pets. Socialisation goes beyond being comfortable around other pets, it helps your dog get used to things in different environments such as children, other animals, and a variety of situations.

A well-socialised and well-trained dog is more welcome in public areas such as parks, restaurants and even some businesses. As well as this, your friends and family are more likely to want to have you and your furry family member over if your dog is well-adjusted and well-behaved.

Check out what puppy training classes are available in your area to get started right away.

2. Avoiding your vet

Are you one of those pet parents who wait until their pet is sick before making an appointment to see the vet? Well, if you are, you’re not alone.

Far too many pet parents put off seeing the vet for preventive wellness exams, tests and check-ups unless something is actually wrong with their pet. This is because many of them do not want to be confronted with the costs that come with visiting the vet.

But here’s the thing with that way of thinking: Your vet is a key part of ensuring your dog stays healthy.

Did you know that the majority of dogs will hide their illnesses until their ailment or sickness reaches a point they can no longer bear to deal with?

Routine wellness examinations help your vet to detect and treat any small health concerns before they become serious and expensive issues.

These vet visits also help your pet to foster a more comfortable relationship with your vet.

Other vet visits that include sterilisation, vaccinations and tick and flea control will also help your dog from contracting more serious health problems later on down the line.

How to afford vet visits

I mentioned that a number of pet parents avoid the vet to avoid the bills that come with these consults. But what if I told you there was a way to avoid these costs and even have money in your pocket BEFORE visiting your vet?

Cue pet insurance.

With pet insurance, not only are you covered for claims such as vet visits and routine care but depending on your plan and chosen insurer, you are also covered for accidents and illnesses.

With an insurer like Oneplan, they even front you with cash thanks to their smart and paperless claims system, before your visit to the vet. This means that you never have to wait until payday or when you have the cash to visit the vet. Ensuring your pet’s health is a top priority and helping your pet to lead a longer, happier and healthier life in getting the best care available to them.

3. Failing to accommodate for the costs that come with responsible pet ownership

Before ANYONE makes the decision to adopt a dog, they need to first sit down and work out if they can afford to care for a dog.

The point of the matter is that dog ownership costs money. And in some cases, that can be a lot of money. This is why you need to make sure your budget can afford all the costs that come with owning a dog:

●        Food

●        Puppy classes

●        Dog supplies

●        Veterinary care: This includes vaccinations, bi-annual check-ups (puppies) and annual check-ups for adult dogs and unexpected costs

The case of accidents, illnesses and other unexpected costs is usually when dog owners get a big wake up call. What happens when your precious pooch is hit by a car? Surgery costs can be as much as R40 000 to save her life. What happens when your vet finds a cancerous lump? This will require surgery to remove, radiation, chemotherapy and chronic medication to treat. What happens when your dog swallows something he shouldn’t?

Foreign body removal is one of the most common pet insurance claims and the costs of a basic foreign body removal surgery can start at R12 000 and go as high as R20 000 or more. These costs will typically include the surgery costs, blood tests, anaesthesia costs and any other scanning tests or procedures involved.

Another reason why all pet parents should get pet insurance the moment they bring home a new pet: Not only does pet insurance encourage you to regularly visit the vet with day-to-day benefits, but it can and will save you thousands of rands in vet bills in the case of an accident or illness.

My advice? Get pet insurance as soon as you can. You won’t regret it. And what’s more, you get the peace of mind you need in knowing your pet’s health is covered when it matters most.

Until next time,

The Pet Insurance Team

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