We all do certain things that may not be the best for our pets. Whether you feed table scraps or allow for cheerful jumping, we’re not here to pass judgment. But did you know those little bad habits can mean serious health risks for your dog? Here are a few ways you might be harming your dog without realizing it.
Not properly socializing new pets
Veterinarians and dog trainers are at odds when it comes to the right age to socialize puppies. Most veterinarians advise owners to wait until dogs are fully vaccinated and have a stronger immune system. On the other hand, trainers recommend socializing dogs as soon as possible to prevent behavioral or socialization issues. We recommend something in-between. While puppies should not be going to dog parks and engaging with large groups of adult dogs, make sure you are socializing them on walks, with friends, at cafes, malls and other places that you’d like to bring them in the future. Once your dog is fully vaccinated and more mature, then you can introduce them to a larger playgroup.
Being (too) lenient
Dogs thrive in an environment of structure and routine, making them feel safe and relaxed. Routines also help to enforce good behavior and training. Set ground rules from the beginning and do not make exceptions. When you change the rules frequently, like allowing your dog on the sofa one day but not on the next day, it causes confusion for the dog and can negatively affect their confidence. Maintaining a routine and consistency will help in creating a well-adjusted and confident dog.
Not always using preventative medication
From heartworms to fleas to ticks, sometimes we don’t think our pup needs to be covered. This is far from true. Worms are the most common health problem for dogs because the symptoms are often fairly subtle until the infection has progressed to an advanced stage, which can lead to death. Fleas can cause a host of skin issues and can also spread serious diseases to other dogs and people. Tick bites put your furry pal at risk for Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and a handful of other diseases. You can avoid all of this by setting a calendar reminder to give your pet their medicine each month.
Feeding table scraps
Your pup may look cute begging for food at dinner, but human food often has too much sugar and fat for their system to process. Human food can lead to health issues and obesity in dogs. Make sure everyone in your household knows the rules and keeps human food away from the dogs. It’s helpful to feed your dog the same time as your dinnertime. That way he feels included and will be less likely to beg – because he has his own grub.
Not properly training
Is your dog still jumping on people, pulling you up the street, or perhaps is a bit too excited when meeting someone new?! A poorly trained dog can be a hazard when you’re out for a stroll or a headache for your neighbors. Setting up obedience training early on creates a strong foundation and makes it easier for you and your pup to enjoy life together.
Sometimes being a good doggy parent means doing what’s right even if it’s not easy. Do you have any bad habits that you think might be harming your dog without realizing it? Leave us a comment below or ask any of our trained team members the next time you’re at Fitdog.