Harmful Things You May Be Doing to Your Dog Without Realizing It

If you’re a dog owner, you surely want your pet to be healthy and live a long and happy life. But sometimes we may do things that can potentially harm our furry family members without even realizing it. Dogs are curious, adventurous and often behave like small children which can occasionally get them into trouble. In this article, we want to explore a few of these common mistakes so that you can avoid these incidents in the future.

At Bright Side, we’re big dog lovers and we understand that dogs are a part of the family. Let’s go through the points we selected to be sure that we know what to avoid when it comes to keeping our pets safe and healthy.

1. Choosing the wrong collar

Firstly, you need to decide whether to use a collar or a harness, its width, material, etc. This decision is very personal. If your dog is a puller or likes to explore as far as it can reach, a harness might be a better option than a collar since the latter can seriously injure your pet’s neck if it pulls too hard. The second step is getting the right size. If it’s too big — the dog may escape and if it’s too small, it could be squishing the dog’s neck. The general rule is, for small and medium size dogs, you should be able to place one finger between the collar/harness and the dog. For large and extra-large dogs, 2 fingers should fit.

2. Leaving a dog alone in the car

We cannot stress it enough: NEVER ever leave your dog in the car. According to research, the temperature inside a car can increase by 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, even if the car is parked in the shade. Dogs don’t sweat like people and overheating can happen much quicker than you expect.

3. Neglecting your dog’s teeth

We all know that dogs have teeth. Well, these teeth need to be brushed just like yours do. Seriously, we’re not joking. You should start doing it as soon as you get your pup so that they get used to it. Some owners think that giving dogs chewing sticks can replace regular brushing, but that’s not true since those sticks don’t clean the back teeth as well as a brush can. Don’t use a human’s toothpaste and toothbrush. The brush and paste for dogs are quite different and you can get them from your vet.

4. Letting your dog eat everything

Never feed human food to your dog, it’s way too salty, too spicy and too fatty for them. In fact, lots of our food is very dangerous and even toxic for dogs. Definitely never feed your pet any table scraps while you are having a meal, it teaches your dog very undesirable begging habits and dogs are incredibly good learners when it comes to things they’re not allowed to do.

5. Bringing puppies to a dog park

Dogs are very social but think twice before taking a small puppy to a dog park. To start with, sometimes dogs can be passive carriers of diseases. Secondly, grown-up dogs, especially large ones, can be very rough when playing and running around, they may scare or even accidentally hurt your puppy.

6. Using physical punishment

Yes, dogs should be disciplined but physical punishment should never be the way to do it. First of all, it’s animal abuse. Secondly, it simply won’t work and all you achieve is making sure your dog is scared of you. Reward-based training is much more effective than physical discipline. If your dog does naughty things all the time, maybe it’s time to sign up for obedience school.

7. A lack of stimulation

Dogs need constant mental and physical stimulation, especially working breeds. Regular walking should become a must-do activity in your family and has to be taken into consideration before you decide to get a dog. Dogs not only need exercise but they also need to be exposed to different sounds and smells, it makes their brain work better. If dogs don’t get much stimulation, they may start doing other sorts of self-entertainment like digging, chewing or ripping things apart.

8. Not securing your dog in the car

We always use seat belts for children and there’s a reason for it. Beleive or not, dogs aren’t any different. In case of an accident, they can get injured or even worse. There are a few ways to secure a dog in the car, find the one that suits you.

9. Yelling when your dog does something wrong

Yelling is another thing you should never consider when disciplining a dog. It doesn’t work, you’re just freaking your dog out. Especially if you are angry about something that has happened a while ago. Your dog will not only be scared but very confused as well.

10. Skipping flea, tick and worming treatment

Preventive flea, tick, worm, and heartworm treatment is crucial when owning a dog. You may be able to take a break from it in winter if you live in a cold climate, but you really should discuss it with your veterinarian. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

11. Leaving harmful objects around

Dogs are adventurous and it gets them into all sorts of trouble. Make your house dog-friendly by making sure that you put away anything your pet can chew or swallow like medication, nails, batteries, and socks. Socks seem to be every dog’s favorite pulling toy, but keep in mind that if the dog swallows it, it may get stuck in their throat.

12. Neglecting breed-specific health issues

Some breeds require specific care of the coat or skin, or regular grooming otherwise they may develop several problems. There are breeds that may have a predisposition to some health issues and if your dog is in that group, you should know the symptoms and always keep an eye out for them.

Do you think we missed something critical? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Illustrated by Natalia Tylosova for BrightSide.me