We adore our pets and want them to feel loved, but sometimes affection can cross the line from cute to obsessive. Here are five signs that you might be a little too close to your furry baby.
1. Giving them too many treats
Pets love food! It is so easy, when they look at us with their adoring eyes, to give them a little something extra. As members of our family, we want to share what we have with them, and a few scraps from the table or a lick of the take-out box can seem harmless. It can also be a way of lessening our guilt if we have to leave them or think we haven’t had enough time for them.
Although the occasional extra is fine, especially as a reward for good behavior, overindulging our pets does them no favors at all. The extra weight they are likely to gain will be extremely damaging to their health, leaving them vulnerable to arthritis, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and even an early death.
Try showing your affections in other ways; your pet will appreciate it just as much. How about five minutes of playtime or a quick brushing session? Our pets might love food, but they love us even more; what they really want is our attention, so give them that instead.
2. Not putting them on the floor
We have all seen the toy dogs being carried about in handbags. I can understand that they are tiny, that you don’t want them to get under people’s feet and that you enjoy spoiling them by buying them their own cute carrier, but you are doing just that – spoiling them.
No matter how small, delicate or ‘baby’-like a dog is, he is still a dog. Not treating them like one will only make them confused and miserable. Ironically, this can make them quite unpleasant, snappy, and aggressive, because they are shielded from so much of the world that they simply don’t know how to react to it.
3. Not handling them
I have lost count of the times I have been told, "Oh, he doesn’t like his feet/ears/mouth looked at" when I am trying to examine a pet. It is important that you regularly handle your pets and train them to accept being looked at. It isn’t uncomfortable and will enable you to care for them properly by making sure their nails don’t overgrow and that their ears and teeth are clean. It will also make your vet’s life much easier in the clinic – and yours, if you ever have to give them treatment at home.
4. Not letting them off the leash
It can be scary giving your dog the freedom to run, but it is important. All breeds need regular, off-the-leash exercise to keep them healthy in both body and mind. If your dog isn’t good at recall, or with other dogs, invest in some training. Get them socialized and let them run freely!
5. Getting them a ‘friend’
This is for cats. It is easy to think that our cat is bored at home on their own and that they would love a companion, but the opposite is actually true. Cats are naturally very solitary creatures and quite happy on their own! Unfortunately, introducing another pet to their territory can easily make them stressed out and miserable.
Many people see their pets as children, and although we love our kids, we also have to discipline and educate them while trying not to spoil them too much. That is exactly what we should aim for with our furry kids.