Fun and frolics of pet ownership revealed

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From eating passports, getting stuck behind fireplaces or escaping onto the house roof, vets have compiled a list of amusing and extraordinary antics of puppies and kittens.

Research by vet practices across the UK found chewing or eating things they shouldn’t are common behaviour traits of young pets, sometimes with significant consequences.

More than 400 practices were involved and vets are hoping the information will help new pet owners prepare properly for their new arrivals.

“The feedback from the practices has enabled us to provide a useful guide to new owners of puppies or kittens on just what to expect,” said Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, who carried out the research.

“Just like babies and young children, puppies and kittens can get up to all sorts of mischief in their first moments and early stages of development.

“Eating or chewing things were commonplace in our research, and while often frustrating, it is simply a way of pets testing things in their new environment.

“Most pets are incredibly inquisitive, so if they see an interesting looking object within their reach, they are highly likely to do some investigating.”

The research found a whole host of items that young pets had consumed, from Lego bricks and fidget spinners, to nerf gun pellets and even underwear.

“We had a young golden retriever who managed to eat her owner’s boyfriend’s wallet full of money, as well as chewing through her owner’s new mobile phone, within the same sitting,” added Dr Stacey.

“And a number of passports were reported as being ruined by puppies, causing some owners frantic dashes to ensure a trip abroad wasn’t missed.

“This highlights that our juvenile pets will try and consume any item lying around the house, with or without their owner’s knowledge.

“It’s very important new pet owners remember to keep an eye on their pets and make sure small objects are well out of their reach.

“Owners can puppy and kitten-proof their homes to a certain extent, but pets can find themselves in unusual situations, with owners having to be extra careful when carrying out household chores or opening doors and windows.”

A number of kittens have been found in washing machines and tumble dryers, with one only found after the dryer was switched on and the owner heard an unusual sound.

“Luckily this kitten was released unharmed, but it’s important that owners check spots such as the laundry basket and are aware that cats often seek out cosy hiding places,” added Dr Stacey

“Some find themselves shut in cupboards, sheds, garages or even moving trucks, with one owner facing a 400 mile round trip to fetch her kitten, who was luckily microchipped.”

One puppy chewed the handbrake handle of a rental car after being left alone when their owner was filling up the car at the petrol station, while another escaped on to the roof of their owner’s house via an open window after being left alone for a few minutes.

“It’s best to train your pet from a young age to get them used to being left alone for short periods of time, although the maximum time we’d recommend for a dog to be left alone is four hours and less time than that for a puppy,” added Dr Stacey.

“Our research demonstrates the range of experiences new puppy and kitten owners may encounter, but with good training, most young pets will grow out of these behaviours, however other traits will take some work.

“And just like being a parent, being a new pet owner brings with it a huge amount of joy and fun, but also a whole host of learning curves and moments of surprise and worry.”