We know you love your dog, but being a pet is not about cuddling and playing. It comes with a lot of responsibility. Whether you’re a new or experienced dog owner, it’s important to refresh your manners. Have you ever made one of these common mistakes?
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Here are common mistakes dog owners make
Choosing the wrong dog
Getting a dog on a whim is pretty easy. It can be hard to resist a cute puppy, especially if it needs a home. But there are many practical decisions you need to make before deciding if the dog is right for you. Here are a few:
- Will you take the time for dog training, exercise, and other activities?
- Are you ready to deal with shedding, mess, illnesses, behavior problems, and more?
- Can you afford to take care of the dog?
- Is the size of the dog suitable for your living space?
- Are you ready to own a dog? Or another dog (if you already have one)?
- Will your current pets tolerate the new addition?
Ask yourself these questions and more before risking getting a dog that might be unhappy (or make you unhappy).
Training and Socializing Your Dog
Every dog needs to learn basic things and get along well with others. Some dogs need a bit more help than others, but all of them need a little bit. If you don’t teach your dog, they won’t know how to behave properly.
What are the rules? What guidance are you offering? Don’t think of learning as something unpleasant. When done positively, it’s fun for your dog and helps them learn.
Socialization means your dog gets used to different things like kids, adults, other animals, objects, places, and various situations. Without enough socialization, dogs can become scared and even develop behavior problems. This isn’t for puppies – even grown-up dogs can keep learning!
Do you want to take your dog to the city? A well-behaved and friendly dog is welcomed in public places where pets are allowed, such as parks, restaurant patios, and even some stores. Your friends and family are more likely to invite you to events with your dog if they behave well.
Keeping Your Dog Active and Happy”
Not Offering Enough Exercise and Activity
Every dog needs exercise to stay healthy and happy. Not getting enough movement can cause health and behavior problems. Some dogs need more exercise than others, but most need more than simple walks.
Check Your Dog’s Activity Needs
Think about how your dog acts. Is your dog restless and bored? Does your dog seem always too excited? Is your dog overweight?
These are signs that your dog needs more exercise.
Mental Stimulation is Important Too
Dogs also need activities that make them think. Try doing exercises that include games to give your dog a well-rounded activity.
Many dogs enjoy sports made for them. Active dogs might like agility. Dogs who love to sniff and explore might enjoy nose work or tracking.
Taking Care of Your Dogs Health
Avoiding the Vet:
Are you someone who waits until your dog is sick before going to the vet? Well, you’re not alone.
Many dog owners skip regular vet visits unless something is wrong with their dogs. They might think, “My dog is healthy and feels great. Why stress them with a vet visit?” Dog owners often want to avoid the costs and troubles of going to the vet.
Reality Check: Visiting the Vet is Important
This may not be the best way to treat your dog. Your vet is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. Most dogs hide their sickness until it becomes unbearable. Through routine check-ups, vets can spot small health problems before they become big ones.
These vet visits also help build a good relationship between you, your dog, and the vet, making it easier to diagnose and treat illnesses when they happen. In addition to wellness visits, follow your vet’s recommendations for heartworm prevention.
If Something’s Wrong, Don’t Wait
If your dog shows signs that something is wrong, don’t wait until it gets worse. Ask your vet for advice before it becomes serious.
Taking Care of Your Dog’s Heart
The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention for all dogs in all 50 states. Your vet will give the same advice, and it’s not for no reason. It’s because heartworm disease is a serious and deadly illness. Caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and can affect any dog in the USA.
You might think, “If heartworm disease can be treated, why bother with expensive prevention?” Well, if you believe heartworm prevention is costly, you’ll never have to pay for heartworm treatment. The treatment for heartworms can cost between $1000-$1500, and your dog could get infected again in the future. Monthly heartworm prevention costs about $35 to $250 per year, depending on your dog’s size and the brand of prevention.
Aside from the cost, heartworm treatment for dogs is risky, especially for older dogs or those with other health problems. Talk to your vet, and you’ll find that preventing heartworms is the better choice.
Taking Care of Your Dog’s Teeth
Neglecting Dental Health
Many people think “doggie breath” is normal. But actually, bad breath is a sign of some kind of dental issue. It could be as simple as tartar in your dog’s mouth. Without control, this could turn into gum disease, leading to tooth loss and even serious diseases like kidney failure and heart problems.
How to Prevent it? Home Dental Care is Key
In a perfect world, everyone would brush their dog’s teeth EVERY DAY. In reality, many of us find it challenging to keep up. If possible, it’s best to use dog toothbrushes. You can also use a good dental care product (ask your vet for recommendations), but it doesn’t replace brushing. In any case, schedule regular vet dental cleanings in advance.
Read Also: What fruits can dogs eat?
Professional Vet Cleaning is Necessary
If you decide that home care isn’t for you, know that professional vet dental cleaning is essential. Even with excellent home care, most dogs still need a vet dental cleaning occasionally (every few years or less). Without brushing but with other home care, the need for vet cleaning is a bit more frequent. Without any home care, your dog needs a vet dental cleaning 1-2 times a year.
Feeding Your Dog the Right Way”
Do you know the basics when it comes to feeding your dog? Not all dog foods are the same.
Before buying dog food, check the labels and read reviews. Talk to your vet and other dog experts. Keep these things in mind:
Wrong food can lead to lifelong health issues, including skin problems and malnutrition. Many experts say a bad diet might even lead to cancer.
Feeding is not the same as love. Obesity in dogs is increasing, partly due to overfeeding. If your dog is overweight and you’re giving the recommended amount, you might need to reduce it. Talk to your vet about the best diet plan for your dog.
Be Picky with Treats and Chews
Some dog chews can be dangerous, and some human foods are toxic to dogs. Choose suitable treats your dog loves but feed them in moderation. Treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily intake.
Planning for Your Dog’s Expenses
Not Budgeting for Dog Costs
Having a dog costs money. Sometimes, it’s a lot of money. Make sure your budget includes all the routine dog ownership costs like food, dog supplies, and vet care.
Don’t forget extras like training classes or the cost of hiring a pet sitter when you travel. If money is tight, you can find ways to save on dog costs, but you still need a budget.
Consider the Unexpected
Are you ready for an emergency or unexpected injury/illness? Emergency vets cost much more than your regular vet, but they might be open at 3 in the morning. Even regular vets need a lot of time to handle medical emergencies and serious treatments.
Vet offices need to be paid at the time of services to stay in business. So, it’s important to have the funds or a plan available in case you need sudden vet care.
Addressing Your Dog’s Behavior
Letting Behavior Problems Get Out of Control
Behavior problems in dogs can start small, but most will get worse. Ignoring these problems lets them freeze and grow. Worse yet, sometimes we unintentionally encourage bad behavior in our dogs. Giving a reward to an aggressive dog tells them they are doing the right thing.
Fear and Phobias Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Fear and phobias are sometimes overlooked or downplayed. Phobias get worse over time and can lead to other behavior problems or even health issues. Calming and reassuring a scared dog tells them they are acting appropriately.
Don’t Let These Problems Continue
If problems are starting, you might be able to address them quickly. Sometimes, the solution is in a book or on a website (make sure it’s a trustworthy source; ask your vet and do some research yourself). If problems escalate, seek a professional who can help your dog before things get out of control.
Keeping Your Dog Safe”
Risking a Lost Dog
Dogs get lost every day. Some even get stolen. Are you taking the necessary steps to protect your dog?
Some things are obvious, like keeping your dog on a leash and not leaving them unattended. Do you also know what to do if your dog gets lost?
Here’s one of the worst mistakes owners can make: putting a collar on a dog but neglecting to add an ID tag. Your dog should always wear a collar with current identification.
Consider getting a microchip for your dog as an extra layer of protection. This can help reunite you with your dog if they get lost. Otherwise, your dog might end up as another homeless pet in a crowded shelter.