Do YOU spoil your pet? Find out if spoiling your cat or dog is good for them & what you can do

Do you love spoiling your pet? Does your dog only wear designer outfits? Are you buying elaborate toys for your kitty? Some pet owners do take spoiling and pampering their cats and dogs to the next level to show just how much they mean to them. Unfortunately, spoiling your precious pet rotten can also bring a host of problems.

How to tell if you are spoiling your pet...

You are probably guilty of spoiling your pet if you answered YES to a few of the following:
1. Your dog does not eat dog food – he only eats beef fillet/steamed or grilled chicken
2. Your cat or dog wears jewellery or accessories such as a Tiffany necklace, swarovski crystal hair clips, solid silver or gold ID tags or designer scarves  
3. Your dog has designer outfits for various occasions – for e.g. for walks, for rainy weather, for doggy play dates
4. You carry your small dog around like a baby and take her with you everywhere you go or you carry her in a designer handbag.
5. If your dog barks, whines or scratches at the door, do you immediately let him in and give him a treat because you feel bad that he was outside
6. You share chocolates and other treats with your pet all the time – in fact they get the ‘lion’s share’ – how could you ignore those eyes? 
7.Your pet has his own room with pet furniture and toys in it -  a comfy couch, pet bed with monogrammed name on it and toys galore
8. Your cat or dog goes for weekly pamper sessions and treatments to a pet spa
9.  When you go away on vacation, you book your pooch or kitty into a pet hotel – a cattery or boarding kennels simply won’t do for your beloved pet
10. You throw a huge party when it’s your pet’s birthday and all your friends are invited – they have to bring Fido or Felix a gift of course!

How to avoid spoiling your pet

Giving your cat or dog love, attention and care and spending quality time with them is part and parcel of being a good, responsible pet owner. Offering your pet the occasional treat and pampering them from time to time is perfectly fine as long as you don’t go overboard. Here are a few guidelines to help pet owners to avoid going over the top:

1. Teach your pet how to be alone

It is important to spend quality time with your pet but some pet owners are often afraid to leave their kitty or pooch alone. They feel that if they leave their pet alone it would seem like they are abandoning them or don’t love them anymore. As a result, pets develop hyper-attachment to their owners which can lead to a more serious problem such as separation anxiety. Learn to leave your pet alone, especially from a young age so that you don’t encounter problems later.

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2. Discipline your pet

Train your pet from the start. While you may love your cat or dog very much, he needs to be taught certain desirable behaviours. In exactly the same way that you will teach a young child manners and good behaviour, you have to reinforce positive behaviours for your pet.

Socialise your dog as a puppy and use positive training techniques – join a puppy or dog training class so that your dog can learn the correct behaviour instead of punishing them. 
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3. Don’t overfeed your pet

Many pet owners make the mistake of spoiling their pets with treats and feeding tidbits off their own plate during dinner time. Feeding your pet out of your plate and giving treats all the time can lead to your cat and dog becoming overweight. Your pet should be fed a diet appropriate for them and not human food. Make sure that the cat or dog is eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

Try a 100% organic diet such as Doggone Raw Active Food for dogs or Vondi’s cooked food for both cats and dogs which will provide all the essential nutrients. Both these natural foods are available from Feelgood Pets at Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town – call 021 797 0193 for more information.
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4. Remember to exercise your pet

Some spoiled pets may be hyperactive, bored or aggressive because they are not getting enough exercise. Daily exercise for your dog is vital as it is good for his overall health and wellbeing. It also helps to reduce hyperactivity and aggression by channeling that type of behaviour into something more positive.

Cats also need exercise and there are various toys, scratch posts and cat trees to keep them active and on the move. If you are too busy to walk your dog, hire a dog walker – it is perfectly fine to spoil your pooch with exercise.
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5. Set rules

Don’t allow your pet everything! Set some boundaries so that you will have a well behaved pet you can be proud of – if you don’t set rules, the situation may well likely get out of control.

Very often pets that are overindulged become unruly and develop negative behaviour such as jumping, chewing, digging or licking. This is because they think that they are the ‘boss’ or the ‘top dog’ and then do not take kindly to being restricted in any way. Dogs, especially, need to look up to a ‘leader’ as they are essentially pack animals.

If you are constantly spoiling them, giving them your food and treating them as if they are the leader instead of you, then you can expect behavioural problems which will be difficult to correct later on!
HAVE A QUESTION related to your pet?
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