New-pet adopter missteps and handouts to help

FirstlineFirstline January February 2020
Volume 16
Issue 1

Three veterinarians share common missteps they see owners of new puppies and kittens make in the first month. (Plus, some client education resources to help!)

fizkes/stock.adobe.comNew pets are awesome. Playful kittens and bouncy puppies are the life blood of most practices, if they stay with a hospital's care through a lifetime, and they are bright spots in any tough veterinary professional's day. However, many pet owners show up with a need to be educated about what mistakes not to make in the first month or two of a new pet's life-even if they don't know it yet.

We asked a few regular dvm360 contributors about the most common mistakes they see clients with new pets make. Can you relate?


You know this is going to be a lot of work and cost you money, right?

> Not knowing the pet needs a series of vaccines (Need handouts to help explain? One for puppies and one for kittens)

> Not knowing they're gonna chew everything (“The top 5 tips for teething puppies” handout) or scratch everything (“The perfect scratching post” handout)

> Not knowing how much to feed or what to feed them (You could start with these handouts for puppies and kittens)

> Not being financially prepared-especially if they got them for “free” (Maybe they should consider pet insurance)

- from Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP


Lock down sleepy time rituals early

A big mistake that pet owners make, especially with puppies, is immediately putting them in bed with them. Then they don't understand why house breaking goes so poorly. It seems like 80% of dogs end up in owners' beds-a higher rate even than spouses. I'm fine with that, but crate training initially can solve a lot of issues. (Give clients this house training handout and litter box training handout, as needed.)

- from Andy Rollo, DVM


You know the breeder's not a doctor, right

> Not coming to a veterinarian until the pet is sick

> Thinking that all vaccines are the same and that all breeders are reputable

> Thinking that the “shots” they got at the breeder or rescue is all they ever need

- from Kathryn Primm, DVM

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