Taking care of a dog is a huge commitment and it’s easy to get things wrong or become lax in some areas.
But while you don’t need to beat yourself up about not being the perfect puppy parent, there are some things you might want to stop (or start) doing.
It can be tempting to offer your pooch a morsel or two from the dinner table, especially if they’re patiently giving you those irresistible puppy-dog eyes.
But keeping your dog focused on their own diet is always the best bet. Good dog-food brands include all the nutrients a healthy dog needs and your discarded steak fat frankly doesn’t make the cut.
While you might not need to be brushing their pearly whites twice a day (although it certainly doesn’t hurt), good dental hygiene is just as important for your dog as it is for their owner.
You’ll want to clean their teeth at least three times a week and give them doggy treats that are specifically designed for good oral health. If you don’t, your toothy pal could be looking at gum disease. Eesh!
It’s no secret that dogs are not usually the biggest fans of baths and showers, but you’re going to have to bite the bullet and get them under the water sooner or later.
Regular grooming stops them from shedding as much fur and it’s a good opportunity to check for skin irritations and scratches. Just make sure you use a shampoo specifically designed for dogs.
A trip to the vet isn’t always easy on the bank balance, but getting your dog regularly looked at by a professional can save you hundreds in the long run.
Proper vaccinations and care can go a long way to improving their overall health and will be cheaper than shelling out once they’ve got an illness that could have been prevented.
It’s strange how confident smaller dogs can be when approaching much larger animals in the dog park. It’s clearly not a battle they can win.
But make sure your pet isn’t picking on the wrong dog. Even if they seem friendly, a big dog playfully pouncing on a little pup could hurt them and require an emergency trip to the vet.
Putting your dog on a leash is an effective way to keep an eye on their behavior and know where they are at all times – especially when you’re out in public.
But keeping them tied up for long periods is going to make them agitated. And don’t keep them tethered outside, especially in very cold or hot seasons.
The dog park is a great place to give your furry best friend the exercise they need while allowing them to explore and socialize with other dogs.
But it makes sense to get them a little tuckered out before you get there so they’re not hyperactive, making them a menace to the more docile dogs.
It might seem like leaving your pooch in the car for a few minutes while you make a quick stop at the store is harmless, but it can be very detrimental to your pet’s wellbeing.
Locking your dog in the car can quickly become dangerous when the interior heats up and a lack of proper ventilation is also not a good idea for an energetic animal.
It’s just common courtesy to pick up your dog’s mess after them. If you’ve ever stepped in a fresh pile of dog poop, you’ll know it’s not the most pleasant experience and can be a real job to clean off your shoe.
But more importantly, dog feces can contain parasites that are dangerous to other animals, including yours. So set a good example in your neighborhood to help keep every dog safe.
Your dog should be considered a member of the family, so you want to make them feel at home and give them the same freedoms as everyone else.
But dogs actually crave discipline. It gives them a sense of purpose and allows them to make sense of the human world, which can be confusing to them. Don’t let them do whatever they want at the risk of fostering bad behaviors and leaving your prized possessions in tatters.
Dogs go crazy for food. Whether it’s pining after scraps from the table or their own meaty dinners – it really does seem to be what’s at the forefront of their minds at all times.
But dogs aren’t so obvious about letting you know when they’re thirsty, so make sure they’re getting plenty of water before and after exercise to keep them properly hydrated.
Negative reinforcement is a very old fashioned way of rearing your dog and completely ineffective if you’re looking to build a bond with your pet based on trust and genuine respect.
Instead of punishing your dog for bad behavior, reward them for the behavior you do want from them. You don’t want your pet to be afraid of you, do you?