Pet can bring so much joy to your life, but perhaps there’s no animal more joyful than your dog. But owning one isn’t always easy. It sometimes comes with a lot of stress and sleepless nights. How many of you have gotten up at 2 am just to let it out to do its business? Let’s talk about 6 mistakes you make with your dog.
Do I exercise my animal? How important is it to let it socialize with other dogs? Wait, is it possible that I picked the wrong dog? We’re talking about all that AND more…
1. You’re Not Training Them Properly
This is one of the most common mistakes first-time dog owners make. Dogs need to be trained. Some dogs need training more than others, but all dogs need at least a little bit of training. Not just training, they also need to learn how to socialize with others. You don’t want your dogs running around not knowing how to deal in situations with people and animals. It spells out disaster. If you haven’t trained your dog, it’s a problem. Dogs need rules. They need discipline. Think about it, you have a highly energetic animal with sharp teeth running around. They need to know right from wrong.
With socialization specifically, dogs are able to become acquainted with their environment. It also teaches them how to deal with people, most importantly young children. Socialization can help your dog handle objects around the house. They learn to be more gentle, and not to break everything.
The problem is that not many seem to be taking their dogs to socialization classes. Some figures put it as low as 4% of people. If you’re not properly socializing your dog, you won’t have too many options. I mean, how are you going to travel out of town? Nobody’s going to want to take care of a dog that’s violent and out of control. Just the act of taking it out for a walk is tense. If you’ve recently added a young puppy to your family, look into having it trained.
2. You Don’t Take Them To The Vet
Now, this doesn’t mean you’re some psycho who doesn’t care about your dog’s health. We’ve all brought our animals to the vet at some point. But we often avoid taking our dogs to the doctor when they really need it. A lot of people wait until it’s too late. Taking your dog to the vet is the best way for it to avoid sickness. The vet keeps your pet healthy. This becomes difficult because your dog likes to trick you. You may think, “I don’t have to bring my dog in for a checkup. He seems pretty happy.” Well, the truth is that dogs will hide their sickness from you. That is until it becomes impossible to do so.
Let’s talk about heartworm for a second… This is an infestation of a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes. It damages not just the heart, but other organs as well, including the lungs. There’s no dog big or strong enough to avoid it. If heartworm isn’t treated properly, it could kill your dog. Just as a general rule, try and take your dog to the vet at least once a year. It could help prevent things like heartworm. While heartworm can be treated, the treatment is really expensive. Like “thousands of dollars” expensive. Like humans, animals should be getting an annual checkup. This will make it much easier to diagnose an illness when it comes along. From here, you’ll also be able to treat it easier.
3. You’re Not Giving Them Exercise
This is another big one you’re skipping out on. I mean sure, you’re walking your dog. But that’s not enough. You need to actually bring your dog out for some real exercise. That’s what things like dog parks are for. They get to jump around in the fresh air. I envy them. Now the amount of exercise your dog needs would depend on what shape they’re in. Some are more prone to health issues than others. But no matter how healthy they are, lack of exercise will lead to some serious problems later on.
You have to be able to read your dog. If it’s constantly laying around, tired and bored, you’ll want to bring it outside. When it’s not taking part in physical activity, it will grow depressed. It can also get fat.
Dogs are like humans in so many ways. An out-of-shape dog is the result of too much eating and not enough exercise. Research shows that overweight dogs live 2 and a half years shorter on average than healthier dogs. Not only can exercise benefit them physically, but it will also do it mentally. This is something else they share with humans. If you want to keep their brain sharp, play games with them. Throw around a frisbee for a bit. This is something that allows them to practice both agility and coordination.
4. Not Feeding Your Dog
This one is so important, yet so difficult for people to follow. Not only do you need to be feeding your dog regularly, but you also need to be feeding them the right food. If they’re not eating the correct nutrients, your dog will suffer from health problems. These issues include malnutrition, skin disease, and even cancer.
Just be sure that you’re not overfeeding your animal. We talked a minute ago about dogs being fat. Well, this is one of the reasons why. Make a point to feed them twice a day, 12 hours in between meals. As for the portion size, it all depends on the size of your dog. This is why it’s important to read up and ask professionals. You’ll always want to check the label on the bag of dog food.
5. Neglecting Their Teeth
And you thought your teeth were bad. Do you know that famous “doggie breath” people talk about? Well, there’s a reason behind it. If your dog’s breath smells gross, you’re not cleaning their teeth properly. Some aren’t cleaning their teeth at all. Doggie breath is just a polite name for halitosis. Yes, animals can get it too. For those of you clean freaks out there, halitosis is when your breath releases an endlessly foul odour. It’s usually the result of not brushing or flossing. It can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, organ failure and heart disease.
This is why home dental care is crucial for your doggo. Brush their teeth at least twice daily. Unlike a lot of humans, dogs actually enjoy getting their teeth brushed. Once you introduce it to their regular routine, they’re going to be expecting you to do it every day. Keep in mind, that not everybody’s great at brushing. Heck, brushing your own teeth can be a task. If you feel like you’re one of these people, make sure you read up on the proper way to brush a dog’s teeth. Also, you should be taking the dog to the vet for dental checkups. You need to make sure their teeth are being looked over by an expert once in a while.
6. You May Have Chosen The Wrong Dog
I don’t mean the pet store screwed up and didn’t give you the dog you picked. How annoying would that be? I mean that you personally made a poor choice. You need to get a dog that fits your personality. Sometimes it’s possible that the dog you took home just isn’t a good match for you. And you’re not a good match for them.
We often get a dog on impulse. The cutest-looking one at the pet store is the one we have to have. There are just so many things you need to consider before getting them. Will it be a handful? Will I have the energy to take care of it? Is it vicious? Is it even the right size for my living space? These are all very real questions to ask yourself. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than realizing you made a mistake and got the wrong dog. That’s why taking the practical steps and thinking it through is so important.