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5 Ways You’re Raising Your Pet Wrong

Pet Care Tips 6 min read

Before working at NHV Natural Pet Products, I admittingly knew nothing about pet care, although at the time I thought I did. With my newfound knowledge, I feel like it’s my duty to expose the 5 ways you’re raising your pet wrong.

Looking back, there were many things that I would now do differently.

My family adopted a dog from a rescue shelter when I was ten. After watching one of the SPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan’s In The Arms Of The Angels, my eyes welled up with tears and I ran upstairs to my mother’s office and begged her to save just one. The next day, I had a new puppy.

Sandy, our sweet baby girl, had been beaten by a man, and due to the trauma, she wouldn’t allow my father to touch her for an entire year. After a year, my father gave up. That same day, Sandy accepted him and every other male in the family. Sandy died at the age of 17 from kidney failure, and most people would say she was spoiled. She got three walks a day, my mother worked from home so she was with people 24/7, and she was coddled by the entire family. That being said, looking back, there were many things that I would now do differently.


There is a misconception that everyone knows about proper diets. This is the case for us humans and our pets. A proper diet is your first line of defense against health issues. Your health starts in your gut. Your gut microbiome helps with digestion and sorts the good and the bad bacteria. If you’re not eating the proper diet, there will be too many bad bacteria in your gut which makes you susceptible to diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, and IBD. Some gut bacteria can also cause a high level of cholesterol which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, anxiety, depression, to name a few.

All this to say, what you put in your furkiddo’s body is super important. Going to the pet store and picking what’s on sale is probably not the best course of action. Learn to read the ingredients and even consider making their food at home. Our in-house vet, Dr. Amanda offers custom nutrition plans that consider their breed, age, health conditions, and type of ingredients available to your area.

Feeding Sandy scraps off our plates was common practice. Anything goes. Fatty steak covered in seasoning, garlic mashed potatoes, ice cream, you name it. This was BAD! Most people know about how toxic chocolate and grapes are to dogs and cats, however, there are so many other foods that can poison them, such as garlic and onions. Before you give your pet anything, do yourself a favor and google it. It could save you a scary trip to the vet!

Mental Health

Dealing with human mental health is hard enough and we have the ability to communicate. Since pets can not always tell us their thoughts, it’s difficult to know if they are going through emotional distress. In Sandy’s case, it was clear that she had gone through a trauma. Not allowing any man near here was a clear indication that she was suffering from PTSD. Aside from giving Sandy her space, we did not seek any help in this matter. PTSD and mental health in pets have only recently begun to be researched, and there are now veterinary behavioralists (or regular vets if you don’t have access to a behavioralist) that would be able to help manage their PTSD with a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Lesstress and Matricalm are two supplements that can help dogs with anxiety.

Pets’ mental health can also suffer from other things such as autism, separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), addiction, and more. Know the signs and seek help if you think your pet’s behavior is indicative of a mental illness.

Jackson looking cute

Physical and Mental Exercise

Sandy got three glorious walks a day and had a backyard to run around in at her leisure. Some people do not have that luxury, so making sure that you are giving your pet plenty of exercise daily, especially if you have a small living space is imperative to their physical health. Over 50% of dogs and 40% of cats suffer from obesity in America today, which can lead to a slew of health problems, such as diabetes, cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and faster degeneration of affected joints.

Physical exercise is also incredibly important for their mental health. There are many studies related to how pets can improve our mental health, but we pet parents need to be aware of how our pets are communicating to us that they are not getting the mental stimulation they need. If dogs are not being mentally stimulated, they can act out by digging, biting, scratching, and barking. By giving them plenty of exercise and time for play, you are challenging them mentally, which will lead to better behavior and a happier pup. Stimulating cats can be especially difficult since most people don’t walk cats, however, regular play, attention, and even puzzles may be sufficient to keep them happy.

Jackson with Cushing's Disease

Where You Get Your Pet

When I moved out of my parent’s house, I wanted to get my own dog. I looked on Kijiji and found an ad for a “farm” that had plenty of dogs to choose from. This farm was in Quebec, Canada which is known as the largest puppy mill capital in North America. When I visited the farm, there were hundreds of dogs to choose from, and I settled on a Shiba Inu I later named Jackson that stuck his tongue out whenever I held him. A few months later, this farm was raided and turned out to be one of the biggest animal cruelty cases in the province’s history.

I was completely ignorant and had literally no idea what a puppy mill was or what it looked like. The animals didn’t seem to be in distress, but not knowing what a pet’s distress looked like was a big part of my ignorance. Adopting a dog is one of the most rewarding and heroic things you can do, but if you do choose to purchase a dog, you should do your research and make sure they’re reputable.

Family with Jackson

Preventative Care

Having a preventative care regimen will significantly improve the health of your pet and your bank account. An apple a day will keep the doctors away, is a great saying to instill the notion that thinking ahead will help your future health. Knowing their breed and their common health concerns associated with that breed will enable you to look out for the signs of these particular issues, as well as adding the appropriate supplements to their daily regimen.

Some of my favorite supplements that are great for general maintenance are:

Old Timer: For aging pets. Helps with their arthritis, joints, inflammation, and overall energy.

Petomega 3: An omega 3 fish oil for all ages. Helps them maintain a healthy coat, eyes, joints, immune system, and overall organ function.

Turmeric: My all-time favorite. This super herb has been used for centuries as traditional medicine and has been shown to help support cancer, arthritis, digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, heart and circulatory problems, liver disorders, and cholesterol levels.

Regardless of your preventative care regimen, you should be taking your pet to the vet at least once a year for a medical check-up. These check-ups may lead to early detection of an illness, so being diligent with these could save your pet’s life.

Knowledge Is Power

My sweet Sandy died of kidney disease, and Jackson passed away this year from Cushing’s Disease. I only wish I would have had the knowledge I do now. Who knows how much longer they could have lived had I given them the proper care.

5 ways you're raising your pet wrong

Knowledge is power! We know you’re all doing your best to raise your furkiddos. They are the yin to your yang, the apple of your eye, and love is so important in raising a happy and healthy pet. Along with love, however, is the knowledge of how to raise your pet. There are so many resources available in this day and age, and you have NHV’s pet experts at your disposal anytime you have a question about your pet’s health.

Emily Y.

Emily Y.

Lover of all living things, Emily was mother to two loveable puppies (RIP), and a fellow snake and bug wrangler on film sets. By a stroke of luck, she got to wrangle 10 Golden Retrievers puppies on a film set one day.

Published: December 16, 2020

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