20 Common Mistakes Made By Dog Owners

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Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of sharing their days with a dog knows that being a responsible owner is not all fun and games – though it definitely is one of the most positive life-changing experiences.

While to err is human, there are certain mistakes that dog owners can easily avoid. If you follow these 20 simple guidelines, we guarantee that life will be much easier for both you and your furry friend.

1. GOING TO THE VET TOO MUCH

Like humans, animals also need to go on regular check-ups and inoculations in order to stay healthy. Since they can’t speak and tell you that something is wrong, it’s up to you to take notice of any peculiar behavior and take care of your dog’s well-being.

Of course, there’s no need to be paranoid and run to the vet’s office anytime your pooch does something strange, but remember that prevention is better than cure – this is especially true for older dogs who need your support and love more than ever.

Failing to take your pooch to the vet could lead to serious health problems that could have been avoided, of course, but remember not to get carried away and try to remain objective and assess the situation with as little emotion as possible.

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2. OVERFEEDING

It’s a well-known scenario: your dog looks at you with those sad eyes, and you just have to give them a bite from your plate. Unfortunately, you are not doing your pet a favor. Many breeds are prone to weight issues, and you really need to stop sharing your dinner with them if you want them to stay healthy and fit. Besides, they have their own food and you’re just feeding them extra calories that they really don’t need.

It’s of utmost importance to give them balanced meals, and make sure they stay physically active. Human food can only do them harm, and obese dogs are at a major risk for serious health problems, including diabetes and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. On top of it all, overweight canines have a much harder time recovering from physical injuries than dogs who are fit.

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3. BUYING CHEAP FOOD

Though reducing costs is definitely a good idea, there are some things that are worth the extra cash. For instance, you don’t need to buy your pet expensive toys, but purchasing cheap, low-quality dog food is simply unacceptable.

Just think about it: you will save some money, but your best friend will not be happy. Moreover, they will not get all the nutrients they need, and will never really feel full. That basically means that your dog’s health could be jeopardized – certain manufacturers even use dead  animals to produce dog food.

Think of it the other way around – would you rather eat nutritious food or food that could poison you? We’re not saying you should spend a fortune on dog food, but remember that you are responsible for your dog’s well-being, so act accordingly.

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4. NOT SOCIALIZING

One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced dog owners make is failing to socialize their pet starting from puppyhood. Every dog needs to spend time with other dogs and humans in order to learn how to behave in a friendly manner. If your dog doesn’t learn how to get along with other dogs and people, they could become aggressive and pose a serious threat to your family and friends.

Though your furry friends is an important member of your family, they have to know their place in the household and it’s up to you to teach them to be playful but not disobedient and violent. Give your best friend the time to get acquainted with other animals and people – give them enough freedom, but pay close attention to their behavior.  If you don’t know how to handle your dog, you should visit a professional who will help you train them.

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5. LACK OF AUTHORITY

Your pooch may be the best dog in the world and a beloved part of your family, but you always have to keep in mind that you’re the boss. Your dog wants you to be in control, but if you are unable to exercise authority, they will become unruly and disobedient.

It’s perfectly fine to consider them your best friend, but never forget that your dog is an animal that humans domesticated thousands of years ago. That basically means that dogs thrive on authority, but are also capable of becoming pack leaders in case their humans fail to do so. However, don’t get us wrong; you should not hit or severely punish your dog. You are responsible for their training and behavior and you have to learn how to communicate with them through commands. Dogs respond to aggression with aggression, and that approach will lead you nowhere.

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6. NO LEASH

Your best friend may be the most obedient dog ever, but you still need to keep them on a leash when you hit the park. Without any control over them whatsoever, they might attack other dogs, chase after cats, and get injured. In order to avoid incidents, play it safe and keep them on a leash.

And that’s not all. Don’t send your dog mixed signals by sometimes letting them run around freely. Inconsistency is definitely not a good thing for canines, and they will think that they have done something wrong the next time you walk them on a leash.

It is fine to let them explore your backyard on their own, but teach them to be calm when they are outside and surrounded by other dogs and humans. Get them accustomed to a collar, and make sure they feel comfortable and confident. You, on the other hand, need to be patient, calm and caring.

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7. SKIPPIN FLEA TREATMENT

No one likes to think about fleas, but these pests can cause some serious discomfort for both you and your dog. To make things worse, if you have other pets, chances are they will also get fleas from your dog or dogs. So, the best thing you can do is give them regular flea prevention treatment and enjoy a flea-free home.

Pay special attention to these parasites during the spring and summer months as all sorts of animals, raccoons, skunks, opossums, cats and dogs included, can deposit flea eggs everywhere around you. In order to protect your pooch, ask your vet for the best possible protection and use a flea control product on a regular basis. If you have more than one dog, it’s important to treat them all – if you don’t, your life will become a nightmare and your pooches will be utterly miserable.

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8. TOO MANY TREATS

Everyone loves treats and dogs are no exception. However, don’t go overboard because your dog might become obese or disobedient. Since we have already talked about obesity in canines, it’s time to focus on behavior problems.

Treats have an important function in dog training as they serve as incentives. If you use them too much, they will lose their purpose and become useless. Essentially, you should treat your dog as you would a child.

When your furry friend does something right, show them that you are proud and give them a treat. However, be extra careful when giving them goodies: they need to know why they are being rewarded. Don’t wait too long to reinforce the good behavior or you might confuse your dog. Last but not least, the best time to reward them would be in-between meals; not right after a meal.

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9. OVERLOOKING DENTAL PROBLEMS

No one likes to go to the dentist, but not brushing your teeth and disregarding dental hygiene can cause some serious health problems. The same goes for dogs. Our canine companions are five times more likely to develop gum disease than humans, so it’s crucial that you take them to the vet every now and then and check up on the condition of their teeth and gums.

Any sign of tooth loss, decay, and inflammation, as well as gum withdrawal should be treated as soon as possible due to the fact that it can lead to serious dental health issues. People wrongly believe that dogs’ teeth fall out as they get older (this happens if they live an extremely long life), but tooth loss is usually an indicator that your dog is not nurtured properly. All these problems can later lead to severe complications such as hearth, kidney and liver disease.

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10. GIVING THEM HUMAN MEDS

Just because a medication helps you doesn’t mean that it’s good for your furry friend; on the contrary. The majority of human medications are actually poisonous to dogs and can seriously harm them. To make thing worse, nearly half of all pet poisonings include human meds.

A dog’s metabolism works differently than ours, and even herbal or over-the-counter medications could have severe consequences to your dogs’ health. Apart from taking your dog to the vet and giving them dog meds, there are a few things you can also do to make sure human medications are out of their reach. For instance, never leave pills in plastic bags because they are easy to chew into, hide the pill containers and don’t store your medications near you pet’s medications.

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11. LEAVING KIDS AND DOGS ALONE

You dog may be super well-behaved and friendly toward children, but you should never leave any dog alone with kids. Dogs can get overly excited and unintentionally hurt the child. For example, large breeds may accidentally knock a toddler over, while small breeds may become sick and tired of being treated as toys and bite.

Some dogs are amazing with kids, but others can’t stand rough play – all of this depends on the specific breed and character of your dog. Folks with very young kids should avoid small breeds as they are too vulnerable and fragile for playing with toddlers. As a general rule, larger dogs are always a better choice for families with babies and toddlers.

All in all, most children don’t know how to treat dogs and don’t understand that they have to be careful with their pets. You should, however, introduce your kids to dogs (or the other way around), but supervision is absolutely necessary.

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12. NOT WASHING YOUR DOG

Many dog owners are confused as to how often they should give their pets baths. Well, here’s the answer: you should bathe your dog once a month (if they have normal skin) with a gentle dog shampoo.

Though they are good for us and smell nice, don’t wash your furry friend with human soaps or shampoos – there’s a good reason why they have shampoos specially made for them. You could, however, use a mild human baby shampoo but we still recommend doggy products for dogs.

So, what happens if Buddy gets stinky only a week after bathing? If you really can’t live with the smell, buy a soap-free shampoo to prevent their skin from becoming dry and bathe them as much as your heart desires. Of course, don’t overdo it – first ask your vet about the best bathing routine for your dog, and the most quality shampoos on the market.

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13. TREATING YOUR DOG LIKE YOUR TOY

Though there’s a growing trend on the Internet of dressing dogs up in tiny costumes, you should always keep in mind that your beloved dog is not your toy. They are pack animals who need to live in accordance with their instincts; of course, you are there to train and socialize them, as well as teach them how to behave in various situations, but at the end of the day, they are still animals.

Spoiled pets are hard to control, and the last thing you want is to have a disobedient animal who cannot live without your attention. If you treat them like a toy, they will suffer when you are not at home and interfere with your life.

The best thing you can do for your dog is let them be a dog: show authority, buy them toys, play with them and spend as much time with them as you can, but don’t ever allow them to become a demanding pet nobody wants to spend time with.

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14. NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE

Though some canines are working dogs, most pooches live with their owners in cities. That means that they spend the majority of their lives in apartments, and don’t have the freedom to explore their surroundings all day long.

Regardless of the fact that we lead hectic lives and just want to relax after a hard day at work, our dogs demand some quality dog time every day. Tired as you may be, you need to find time to walk your dog on a regular basis and do your best to tire him out as much as possible. It may seem like an almost impossible task, but every physical activity means the world to your furry friend. Besides, their health and wellbeing is a priority and it’s up to you to figure out how to make the most of your free time.

We recommend introducing your pooch to the stairs: make them run up and down the stairs as long as they feel like it – and if you use a laser pointer, chances are they will only want to sleep after a super fun day of chasing the laser back and forth.

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15. PUPPY NOT RESPECTING OTHER DOG

Puppies are heavenly adorable little creatures, but they also require a lot of hard work and some serious commitment. Taking care of pups is a huge responsibility, and not everyone is prepared to go to great lengths for a pet dog. They have to be properly trained, socialized and groomed, three crucial tasks that may prove to be overwhelming for some people.

On the other hand, when you bring an adult dog home, they already have a formed personality, but will nevertheless be ready to modify their behavior. Moreover, they will repay you for shelter, food, and attention with unconditional love and unprecedented devotion. When you adopt a homeless dog, they will forever be grateful to you and you will have the honor of witnessing their transformation from an abandoned pooch to you beautiful best friend.

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16. ARE YOU UNDERPREPARED?

Nothing can really prepare you for the incredible experience of sharing your life with a dog, but we do have to warn you that they are pets who require a lot of time, energy and money. Before adopting a pup, you should thoroughly inform yourself about the breeds you are interested in and get everything set for your new family member.

You have to be able to make everything ready for their arrival and understand that a dog is a companion for life – if you don’t know if you can provide the best possible life to them, you should seriously reconsider your decision.

Don’t buy a dog just because you think you like the breed; there are breeds that are not suitable for inexperienced owners, there are breeds that are not recommended for families with kids, and there are more and less demanding dogs. Choose wisely because you are fully responsible for their life.

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17. NOT DOG-PROOFING YOUR HOME

If your dog spends the majority of their time in your house or apartment, you should know that they will want to explore every corner of your home. We have already mentioned that you have to keep human meds out of your dog’s reach, but there is something even more important than that: keep all cleaning agents hidden and locked away in a place that is inaccessible to the dog.

The same goes for garbage. Garbage cans are no place for a dog, but our furry friends simply love to spend time in trash. Apart from leaving a mess on the floor, dogs may choke on leftovers, injure themselves and get all sorts of infections.

Dogs are very curious beings who want to know what’s happening around them, so it’s once again up to you to keep your dog safe. Your home has to be dog-proof and there should be nothing that could jeopardize your dog’s health.

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18. GETTING A DOG WITHOUT FORETHOUGHT

Though you can inform yourself about the specifics of every breed, every single dog has a personality of their own. There is essentially no guarantee that your dog will have the characteristics you want in a pet just because it’s part of a certain breed. The smartest thing you can do is perform a lot of research and talk to owners of the breed you are interested in, as well as with vets, breeders, trainers and groomers and ask them about their opinions.

When looking to adopt a dog, there a few things you should know. First of all, you and your future pooch should have matching characters and lead similar lifestyles. For instance, you don’t want to buy an active breed if you’re a couch potato. Secondly, you have to be able to support the dog’s needs – purebred dogs can have a lot of health problems, and you have to be sure that you have enough money for veterinary bills. Finally, and most importantly, you need to be ready to love the dog with all your heart and enjoy every day spent with them.

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19. NO PET INSURANCE

No one likes to think about health problems and death when they adopt a pup, but these are all a part of life. We hate to break it to you, but a responsible owner has to be aware that their beloved animal will die one day – you have to be prepared for trips to the vet, buying medications and health problems that come with old age.

And when something bad happens, you will do everything in your power to save them and help them recover. This is why you need pet insurance; you won’t be burdened by financial troubles after a visit to the vet because you won’t have to pay the entire bill. Get insurance while Buddy is still a healthy pup, and you’ll never have to think about money when it comes to your dog’s health.

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20. REFUSING TO ACCEPT THAT DOGS CHANGE

Just like humans, dogs’ characters and moods can change and you shouldn’t expect their personality and behavior to stay the same as it was the day you brought them home. A frightened shelter puppy can grow up to be an aggressive dog, while violent pooches can become the sweetest pets as soon as someone gives them a loving home.

Though you can never really know what to expect, there are some things you can do, including proper training and socialization. Even if the dog is quite different from what you wanted, don’t give up on them.

Young dogs may experience a hard time learning new commands and instructions, while older pooches often exhibit similar difficulties when trying to alter their behavior. All you need is a bit of patience, and your furry friend will eventually get the hang of things.

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