10 Things Pet Owners Do That Drive Us Crazy

Things pet parents do that give us the ick

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Things pet parents do that give us the ick
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Ick Central

Here's the deal: My dogs are my kids and you can't tell me otherwise. I would 100% die for them. But as much as our love for them knows no bounds, sometimes pet owners do take it too far. (Cue all the dog lovers coming for my neck.) 

Before you burn me at the stake, hear me out. Sometimes what starts as affectionate and nurturing care can turn into cringe-worthy actions that not only perplex onlookers but also cause discomfort and annoyance. 

From letting your dog lick your face to sneaking Fido into restaurants and venues that clearly don't allow pets, here are 10 things pet owners do that totally give us the ick. 

Crossbreed dog licking and kissing Latin woman in the face
Andres Jacobi/istockphoto

1. Allowing Pets To Kiss Their Face

While some pet owners see no harm in getting kisses from their pets, excessive face licking — especially in public — is gross, unsanitary, and, honestly, just unnecessary. Unlike cats, dogs are not known for being clean creatures; mine will lick their butts for hours before trying to lick my face. Who knows what kinds of germs and bacteria their mouths could be harboring. Save us all the ick, and don't let Fido lick your face! 

Responsible woman cleaning up the sidewalk

2. Not Picking Up After Their Pets

If you can't pick up after your dog, you shouldn't be allowed to have one. Point blank, period. I've seen people who pretend to pick up after their dogs, but actually don't. Can you believe that?! Leaving your dog's feces in public or private spaces not only causes an unsightly and unsanitary mess, but also poses health risks to other pets and people. Also, nobody wants to step on the poop you've left behind. Do better! 

Dog Walker
Taizi Goncalves/istockphoto

3. Walking Dogs Off-Leash in Crowded Areas

Walking dogs without a leash can create a safety hazard, especially in busy cities or areas where they could run into traffic, approach strangers who are afraid of dogs, or get into altercations with other pets. Walking your dog(s) off-leash also reflects a disregard for local laws and community safety, especially if the pet is not well-trained and does not respond well to recall. 

Young adult woman sitting in cafe with her little maltipoo dog

4. Sneaking Them Into Cafes or Restaurants

Sneaking pets into restaurants, cafes, or other establishments that do not allow pets is such a jerk move. Oftentimes, the perpetrators will also lie and say the pets are service animals — even if they're barking or clearly misbehaving. This not only disrespects the establishments' policies and other patrons but also undermines the rights of individuals who rely on legitimate service animals. It can also lead to health code violations and even potential legal issues.

Related: How to Train Your Dog for Less

Small mixed breed dog barking at carpet

5. Ignoring Persistent Barking

We get it — your dog could do no wrong in your eyes. But as cute as they are, sometimes they do need discipline. Letting Fido bark without end, especially in residential areas, can be a major source of disruption and irritation for neighbors. Persistent barking is often viewed as a sign of neglect or poor training practices. 

If you have an anxious dog that is is prone to barking (same here), consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist who can provide strategies to help manage or reduce this behavior.

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Man feeding his dog some cheese during family dinner

6. Feeding Pets at the Table in Restaurants

While we're all guilty of giving Fido a table scrap or two, doing this while eating out at a restaurant can be extremely off-putting. Letting your dog eat from your plate can interfere with the ambiance of a dining setting and could make other diners uncomfortable. It also raises concerns about hygiene and appropriateness in a place where food is being prepared and served.

Related: 14 Cute Dog Breeds That Make Terrible Pets

Pink hair dyed poodle with pink collar and owner with sock hop dress and shoes. Pink hair on feet, tail, chest and head.
Martin Wheeler/istockphoto

7. Dressing Pets in Elaborate Outfits for Everyday Outings

While occasionally adorable, overdoing it can seem obsessive and uncomfortable for the pet. This is especially true for owners that dye their dogs' fur in all kinds of crazy colors. (I don't care how "safe" the dye is; the dog is going to try to lick it off and probably get an upset tummy from it.) Excessively elaborate or clearly uncomfortable outfits (I've even seen wigs!) can also lead to a pet's distress, giving the perception that the owner is prioritizing aesthetics over the animal's well-being. ICK all the way. 

Related: 13 Cheap Pets That Are Easy to Take Care Of

Smiling young attractive woman playing with cute puppy dog border collie on summer outdoor background. Girl holding embracing hugging dog friend. Pet care and animals concept
Iuliia Zavalishina/istockphoto

8. Using Baby Talk Excessively in Public

Engaging in loud, high-pitched conversations with pets in public spaces can be seen as annoying (and very odd) to others. Heck, it's even annoying when people do this with their ACTUAL human babies. This kind of over-the-top baby talk can make public interactions awkward for bystanders who don't share the same obsession.

Cute pet

9. Refusing To Take Pets to the Vet

I've seen this happen several times, and it's infuriating. Some pet owners will legit avoid professional veterinary care because they believe they understand their pets' health better than anyone else. This can lead to misdiagnoses or a delay in essential treatment, potentially exacerbating health issues. If your pet is exhibiting any concerning symptoms, don't just assume they'll be fine. It's best to be safe than sorry. 

a chinese female dog groomer grooming a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog
Edwin Tan/istockphoto

10. Sharing Graphic Details

Discussing intimate or graphic details of pet care, like grooming habits or health issues, in public or social settings can be viewed as inappropriate or gross. My dog needs to have her butt squeezed (she suffers from anal gland issues) at the vet once a month, and you don't hear me talking about it at dinner. Common sense, people!