3 Common New Pet Problems to Avoid

LAST UPDATED 22 SEP 2020

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Teagan Lever BVSc (Hons)

If you are considering adopting a new fur family member, or have just brought one home, there is just so much information to take in that it can be easy to run into problems. To help you give your newest addition the best possible start, avoid these three common new pet parent fails.

1. Tummy Upsets

One of the most common reasons for a young puppy or kitten to need to visit the vet (outside of vaccinations) is for runny stools or diarrhoea. There are many potential causes for this, including parasites, bacteria, viruses and stress, however one of the biggest factors is sudden dietary changes. In their first few weeks at home with you, your new addition will be adjusting to a lot of new experiences, people, pets and things, and despite our best efforts this can be a stressful. Avoiding sudden dietary change during this period is at least one factor you can control!

While it may be tempting to switch your new puppy or kitten straight on to the top quality food you have ready for them, it's important to transition them gradually over a week or more to help prevent tummy upsets. Find out how to do this in our handy guide, How to Introduce a New Food to Your Pet.

When choosing a food for your puppy or kitten, look for complete and balanced formulas designed to be gentle on the stomach and support digestive security. Top quality, scientific puppy and kitten foods utilise beneficial nutritents such as pre biotic fibres to feed the good bacteria in the gut, as well as colostrum to help support immunity.

2. Parasite Problems

While all pets can become infested with parasites, due to their smaller size and novel immune system your new puppy or kitten is particularly susceptible and sensitive to fleas and worms. Heavy burdens of worms or fleas can cause life threatening anaemia or gastrointestinal problems in young animals, so prevention from day one is a must!

Pups and kittens can pick up worm infestations from day one through their mother's milk, so it is safest to assume that they have parasites until proven otherwise.

Worm your puppy or kitten when you bring them home with an allwormer such as Drontal or Milbemax, and continue worming every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until they are 6 months old. Dogs and cats over 6 months of age should be wormed at least every 3 months.

3. Bad Behaviour

Sadly behavioural problems are one of the major causes young adult dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters and pounds. In Australia and globally there has been a dramatic increase in the number of pets adopted in 2020 compared to previous years, likely as people are spending more time at home in lockdown or isolation.

The search engine experts at SEM Rush tell us that average monthly searches for "dogs for Adoption" rose from 33,100 in Feb to 110,000 in April, dropping to 74,000 in June and then rising back up to 90,500 in July.

Alongside this, searches for "how to rehome a dog" have seen a drastic increase of 100% from April to July, searches for "how to rehome a cat" have also increased.

The best way to get on top of behavioural problems in pets is to prevent them from the outset. Putting in the hard yards with training and consistency at the start will pay off a million times over when you have a happy, well adusted, well socialised adult dog or cat.

Common Behavioural Problems in Dogs

Problem

Common Causes

Strategies to Prevent/Manage

Excessive barking

•Boredom
Separation anxiety

Enrichment with toys & activities
•Daily exercise

Destructive chewing/digging

•Boredom
Separation anxiety

Enrichment with toys & activities
•Daily exercise

Aggression towards dogs/people

•Fear
•Previous negative experiences

•Appropriate socialisation from an early age
Positive, reward based training

Common Behavioural Problems in Cats

Problem

Common Causes

Strategies to Prevent/Manage

Urinating outside the litter tray

•Stress & Anxiety
•Lower urinary tract disease
•Litter tray/substrate aversions or preferences

•Health check for medical issues
Anxiety reduction
•Litter tray number, placement and substrate type

Scratching furniture

•It's a natural instinct!

•Provide scratching alternatives

Aggression towards other cats/people

•Stress & Anxiety
•Previous negative experiences
•Competition for resources (food, litter tray etc)

Anxiety reduction
•Safe and appropriate socialisation from an early age

By being aware of and preparing for these 3 common new puppy and kitten problems, you'll be setting your newest fur family member up for a long, healthy and happy life with you!

Further Reading

Want to read more? Check out our other articles:

Premium Pet Food, Is it Worth It?

New Puppy Guide

New Kitten Guide

6 Heartworm Facts All Pet Parents Need to Know

How to Ask Your Landlord for a Pet

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