Do you have any tips for new pet owners who ar…

Do you have any tips for new pet owners who are stressing about the wellbeing of their pet, despite providing sufficient care and there are no signs of discontent or illness in the pet? I'm a fairly new owner of a fish, and I'm constantly stressed that I'm not taking proper care of him, even though I gave him a large tank and do frequent partial water changes. The fish seems to be the pinnacle of health, but I can't stop second guessing myself. I'm willing to bet that this isn't unique to me…

You’re definitely not alone. This sort of chronic stress that something is wrong, will be wrong, or will be missed is common in pet owners who have anxiety or OCD.

It seems like having a check list helps, whether it’s a mental one or a real physical list, for things that need to be checked/done and when. It lets you defer some of the stress to the list, giving you the ability to say that you have done the gold standard of care and you can check everything off.

Having a friend or mentor familiar with that species’ care can be helpful too. Sometimes it’s very comforting and lowers your stress to have someone who should genuinely know tell you that you’ve done everything right. Sometimes this is a vet, sometimes it’s a friend at the dog park, sometimes it’s someone they’ve met through an online community.

It’s great that you’re doing everything you can to provide gold standard care to your fish, but not that you’re stressing out about doing so. I’m afraid I don’t have any better advice, but hope that as time goes on, everything is fine and you get into the rhythm of fish care, it gets easier to enjoy it and not stress so much.