You love your dog and you give him the best. The best food, the time and attention that he desires, and exercise chasing balls. You work to provide him with all he needs. However, you may be missing some key things that will help him to live a longer, more fulfilling life. We all get busy, and sometimes our busy-ness gets in the way of our intentions of raising a healthy dog. Here are 7 most common mistakes that dog parents make:
Letting Him Gain Too Much Weight
Obesity is not just a challenge for humans, but for our dogs as well. We may not realize that our dog is overweight and so may not act on it. 53% of dogs were determined to be overweight by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, while nearly all of the owners did not recognize that their dogs were overweight, instead believing that their dog’s weight was normal. Our dogs can easily gain unintentional weight when we give them food that they do not process as we do. Where one ounce of cheddar cheese is considered a very small snack to a human, when your dog eats it, it is comprable to the consumption of more than one hamburger, or three chocolate candy bars.
A way to help your dog live a longer life is to not give your dog people food, as it isn’t good for him, and to keep an eye on his dog food consumption. Keep your dog moving, whether obese or not, by using your creativity, even if it means just simple laps around the house or inside the house in bad weather. The concept of exercise is the same for him as it is for you, get moving.
Not Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth Health
Your dog develops plaque on is teeth just as you do, and because of this is at risk of periodontal disease. When the food and bacteria is not removed from the gum line, plaque is formed which leads to gum disease. Not only does this affect your dog’s oral cavity and food consumption, but it also can bring about other health issues that may seem unrelated, such as kidney infection, and heart valve problems.
So, to help your dog, you will want to brush his teeth just as you do your own. Brushing your dog’s teeth may be challenging at first, but it is well worth it, and there are even products that will help you. There is a product called a finger brush that simplifies the process, there are chew toys designed to help to clean your dog’s teeth, and there are even things you can place in your dog’s water that will help to keep his mouth and teeth in better health. It is recommended that you take your dog to the vet to have his teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year to increase his oral health.
Skiping Regular Health Check-Ups
It is recommended that your dog been seen by a veterinarian every year or even every six months on a regular basis. This becomes even more important once your dog is seven or older. You may feel that all is well with your canine companion, but a regular check-up will keep an eye out for the development of any health issues, the recommended vaccinations will help to keep your dog well, and avoid rabies, parainfluenza, bordatella, canine distemper, parvovirus adenovirus, and other diseases like Lyme disease. Regular bloodwork will follow the progression of any health issues and give a good baseline of information about your dog’s health. No matter the inconvenience of getting your dog to the vet, it is worth it in the long run.
Not Providing Regular Exercise
It may be possible for you to work out only a few times a week, but your dog requires more regular exercise to be at his best health. For dogs, exercise not only affects their physical functioning, but also their cognition. The exercise gives your dog a positive, natural and appropriate way to get his energy out. The good news is that studies have shown that when you exercise with your pet, you will tend to lose more weight. So think about what you can do to put exercise into your day, for you and your dog. Take walks, play in the house, go to the dog park, have a good game of fetch. Your dog will benefit and so will you.
Ignoring Preventative Medications
The sad news is that there are little bugs that can hurt your dog. Fleas, ticks and heartworms will prey upon your dog, but you can prevent their ability to shorten your dog’s life. Your veterinarian can help to educate you on the various preventatives, and will have excellent sources. This may involve pills or oral supplements, topical applications, and collars that are medicated. Be careful where you source these medications, as you will want high quality for the best treatment and safety for your dog. Some of these medications need to be applied at various times for dosages, so dog owners find it useful to place these reminders on their calendars.
Letting Him Go Out Unsupervised
Your dog probably loves to run and explore. This is a joy of life, but can also expose your dog to very dangerous situations. You need to keep an eye on what your dog may be getting into, in order to protect him. You may have microchipped your dog, have him tagged with all of his home information, but you still need to keep him close and supervised. Keep him leashed when you and he go outside, keep an eye on his play when at dog parks, keep an eye out for predators or dangerous situations. Your dog may not recognize all dangers, so as a responsible pet parent, you need to look out for your companion.
Skimping On Properly Socializing Your Dog
In order to be comfortable with people, and in life, your dog needs to have an abundance of interation with people. Be sure to plan for fun times, for play times and excellent socialization opportunities. When a dog is not well socialized, they tend to have anxiety, to be fearful, and can even show physical issues from the stress of limited contact, such as skin issues. Be sure to take advantage of puppy training, dog park and dog play time, and positive interactions while you have your dog leashed and for walks. The more you can socialize your dog with other people and other dogs, the more confident and contented your dog will be.