Dedicated dog parents are some of the most incredible people in the world. But even the most caring people sometimes do things that just aren’t in the best interests of their four-legged companions. Don’t do these things to your dog.
1. Leave a Dog Alone in the Car
In the warmer months, a car can quickly become a greenhouse of sorts and cause your dog to become extremely lethargic, overheated and sick. If left alone for too long, a dog can even die. In the winter months, a car acts as a refrigerator and can have equally scary consequences. And no matter the weather or season, a dog alone in a car is a target for thieves. Dogs should never be left alone in a vehicle unattended.
2. Make a Dog Live Outside
Yes, all dogs should have access to the outdoors. Yes, sometimes it is perfectly fine to let dogs outside for a period of time as long as the weather is good and the dogs are supervised. Dogs should never be forced to live outside year round. Dogs need human interaction and stimulation. A bored dog is an unhappy dog. Being left outside is unfair and unhealthy.
3. Neglect Your Dog’s Teeth
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) President Dr. Ted Cohn has stated that although daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and cats, only 2 percent of dog owners follow through. In addition, 65 percent of dogs with stage one periodontal disease often go untreated. Always have a veterinarian check your dog’s teeth at least once a year and prior to starting any home-based dental regimen. Get into the habit of regular dog dental care. A child’s toothbrush is best for newcomers and dogs with smaller mouths. A fingertip toothbrush is also acceptable for starters. Always use dog toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste on a dog. Why? They can’t spit, and there are ingredients in many human toothpastes that can make a dog sick.
4. Hit a Dog
Putting your hand(s) on a dog as a form of punishment is wrong. It will harm your relationship with your dog and prevent proper training.
In her book, “It’s Me or the Dog” famed positive reinforcement trainer and star of her own dog behavior show on Animal Planet, Victoria Stilwell, writes, “When you hit a dog, you teach him to fear you, break his trust, and you weaken his confidence. Insecure dogs are the ones who are more likely to lash out in an aggressive display.”
5. Assume Your Dog Doesn’t Have Feelings
Dogs feel—they have emotions and they understand emotions. Recent scientific studies have shown that dogs experience love like humans and can read human emotions based on facial expressions. Dogs do have the capacity to love, feel, become depressed and get excited. Berating a dog or purposely upsetting him harms the dog in the long run.
6. Skip Veterinary Visits
This may sound like a “no brainer” but there are some people who believe they can self diagnose their dog’s issue online and not seek veterinary care. There is a time and a place for online research or to look up additional medical information for a beloved pet. But if a dog acts out of the ordinary or there are any health concerns, seeking veterinary care is of utmost importance. Never take medical matters into your own hands.
7. Use a Crate for the Wrong Reasons
Unlike children, time outs don’t work for dogs. If a dog gets jumpy or excessively barks, putting him in a dog kennel is wrong. In fact, the dog just learned that the kennel is a bad place. He will not associate the kennel as a safe haven. You want the dog crate to be a positive experience, so never use it to scold your dog or punish him.
Are you looking for some other advice so you can be the best pet parent for your dog? Check out:
8 Wasteful Things Pet Parents Do
9 Dog Toy Mistakes Pet Parents Make
Tips for Pet Parents Living With Dogs in the City
Carol Bryant is the marketing and social media manager for BlogPaws. She runs the blog Fidose of Reality.
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