3. You Don't Get Help Fast Enough
The last pet care mistake on my list actually happens at home, which is where even the most caring owners can mistakenly remain when their pet has a problem. It's understandable, because signs of illness can be subtle—such as decreased appetite, lethargy, more panting than usual, or general malaise. But vets know that it takes a lot for your tail-thumping dog or self-contained cat to show these kinds of symptoms. So don't give your pet too long to improve on his own. A day is generally fine, but you can have a full-blown emergency on your hands if you wait 2 days with no signs of improvement.
Bottom line: When in doubt, call for advice immediately—or just grab your pet and head to your vet!
How to Find a Vet Specialist
If your pet has internal bleeding, cancer, or any kind of complicated case—including non-life-threatening problems such as a persistent skin allergy—chances are your vet will want you to see a specialist. So just ask for a recommendation. Or, to find a specialist on your own, go to prevention.com/links to locate one near you.
Justine Lee, DVM, is an assistant clinical emergency specialist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She has a pit bull and two cats, and is the author of It's a Dog's Life…but It's Your Carpet.