10 Things Dog Lovers Do Wrong
#1: Picking the Wrong Dog (or Getting a Dog Before You’re Ready)
Getting a dog on impulse is pretty easy to do. It can be so hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes, especially when it’s is a dog in need of a home. However, there are many practical decisions to make before you decide that a dog is the one for you. To name just a few,
Can and will you take the necessary time for dog training, exercise, other activities,bonding, etc.
Are you willing to put up with shedding, messes, illnesses, behavior problems and more?
#2: Dismissing Training and Socialization
Every dog needs basic training and socialization. Some need more than others, but they all need some. If you decide not to train your dog, you are putting her at a disadvantage. How will she know the rules? What kind of structure and guidance are you providing? Don’t think of training as a chore. When done positively, training is actually fun and enriching for dogs.
Socialization allows a dog to get used to things in the environment, like children, other adults, other animals, objects, environments, and various situations.
#3: Not Offering Enough Exercise and Activity
Exercise is a basic need for every dog. Lack of exercise can lead to health problemsand behavior issues. Some dogs need more exercise than others, but most need more than simple walks.
Assess your dog’s activity needs. Is your dog restless and bored? Does your dog seem hyperactive and excited all the time? Is your dog overweight? These are all signs that she needs more exercise.
Dogs need mental stimulation too.
#4:Avoiding the Veterinarian
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Are you one of those people who wait until your dog is sick to go to the vet? Well, you’re not alone. A lot of dog owners skip or put off routine vet visits unless something is going on with their dogs. You may think, “my dog is healthy and feeling great, why stress him out with a vet visit?” Dog owners often want to avoid the cost and inconvenience of a vet visit.
Reality check: This is not the best way to treat your dog.
#5:Skipping Heartworm Prevention
The American Heartworm Society strongly recommends year-round heartworm preventionfor all dogs in all 50 states. Your vet will make the same recommendation, but it’s not to turn a profit. It’s because heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. Caused by infestation of the parasite Dirofilaria immitis, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and can affect any dog anywhere in the US.
#6:Neglecting Dental Health
Many people seem to think “doggie breath” is a normal thing. In truth, halitosis is a sign of some kind of dental disease. It may be as simple as some tartar build-up in your dog’s mouth. However, left unchecked, this can become periodontal disease, leading to tooth loss and even systemic diseases like kidney failure and heart disease.
How can you prevent this? Home dental care is the key. In a perfect world, everyone would brush their dogs’ teeth DAILY.
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When it comes to feeding your dog, do you know the basics? All dog foods are not created equal. Before buying a dog food, check labels and read reviews. Talk to your vet and other dog experts. Remember the following:
Ingredients matter. Over a lifetime, improper feeding can lead to health issues, includingskin problems and malnutrition. Many experts think a poor diet can even lead to cancer.
Don’t overfeed. Food is not love.
#8:Failing to Budget for Dog Expenses
Dog ownership costs money. Sometimes it’s a lot of money. Make sure your budget includes all of the routine costs associated with dog ownership, like food, dog supplies and veterinary care. Don’t forget extras, like the need to take a training class or the cost to hire a pet sitter when you travel. If money is tight, you can find ways to save money on dog expenses, but you still need a budget.
Next, allow for the unexpected.
#9:Letting Behavior Problems Get Out of Control
Behavior problems in dogs may start small, but most will get worse. Ignoring the issues will let them fester and grow. Worse, we sometimes unconsciously reinforce bad behavior in our dogs. Giving a treat to an aggressive dog tells that dog that she is doing the right thing.
Fear and phobias are also sometimes overlooked or minimized. Phobias tend to get worse over time and can lead to other behavior problems or even health issues.
#10:Risk Losing a Dog or Cat
Dogs are lost every day. Some are even stolen. Are you taking the necessary steps toprotect your dog? Some things are obvious, like keeping your dog on a leash and not leaving him unattended. Also, if your dog is lost, do you know what to do?
One of the most common mistakes owners make: putting a collar on a dog, but neglecting to add an ID tag. Your dog should wear a collar at all times with current identification.