Why Dog Owners Need To Stop These Bad Habits

Most dog owners want to make sure their pets are safe, healthy, and happy, but this can get hindered if they are unknowingly not giving them the proper care. It takes a decent amount of responsibility and research to ensure your dog will live the best life possible.

Common mistakes such as not enough daily exercise, lack of a nutritious diet, and wrong grooming techniques can lead to a whirlwind of negative consequences. Owners should avoid making these common mistakes if they want to keep their dogs in tip-top shape.

Know Which Foods Are Safe For Your Dog

A pug dog stares at visitors eating cake
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

It’s a no-brainer that giving your dog a nutritious diet will help them with their overall health. Choosing a brand of dog food or supplements all depends on the breed, age, and size of your dog, so it’s best to talk to a vet before buying anything.

While dogs can eat some human food, there are plenty that can leave them with an abundance of detrimental side effects. Blueberries, eggs, and steamed white rice are fine for most dogs, while chocolate, avocados, and onions can cause gastrointestinal issues that can be fatal.

Keep Up With Their Grooming

groomer combs the hair of a teacup poodle
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

There are many reasons why it’s essential to regularly get your dog groomed. Over time if dogs aren’t bathed they will start to develop a foul odor. Brushing and grooming dogs also prevents unwanted shedding. It’s important to note that the groomer shouldn’t be solely responsible for the hygiene of your dog.

Clipping their nails should be at the top of the grooming list because long nails can scratch others and possibly lead to fungal infections. Also, their ears need to get routinely cleaned out to get rid of any build-up.

Going On Walks Should Be A Priority

A woman takes multiple dogs for a walk
Epics/Getty Images
Epics/Getty Images

Similar to humans, dogs need exercise and an active lifestyle. The amount of exercise varies depending on various factors such as breed, age, and weight. By taking dogs on daily walks it lets them get their energy out and can curb restlessness, boredom, and hyperactivity. It also helps overweight dogs lose some pounds.

Canine behavior consultant Anthony Newman found that dogs who don’t get daily walks aren’t able to let out all of their mental, physical, and social energies. Also, taking your dog on consistent walks lets you get some much-needed exercise.

Their Dental Hygiene Needs Lots Of Attention

a Labrador Retriever receives a teeth brushing
Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP via Getty Images
Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP via Getty Images

Something that needs to be a priority while caring for a dog is keeping up with their dental hygiene. Dogs need their teeth regularly brushed to remove plaque, get rid of bad breath, and prevent gum disease. Some owners may choose to give them dental snacks, but this should not be the route to go.

While they may be a good addition to teeth brushing, they are not as effective as actually brushing their pearly whites. Some helpful tips include getting a special dog toothbrush (pictured) and selecting a calm and comfortable spot to clean their teeth.

Owners Aren’t Finding Their Lost Dogs Because Of This

A pet microchip scanner identifying a dog's unique code
Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS via Getty Images
Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS via Getty Images

Anyone who adopts a dog needs to make sure that they have them microchipped. Millions of pets go missing every year and the easiest way to find them is to track them through their microchip. These get implanted through their skin and have a unique identification number that connects to the owner’s contact information.

Another issue is that even though some owners get through the process of microchipping their dogs they forget to register the microchip with the contact information. The microchip registries can charge a fee, which prevents some owners from registering. It’s also crucial to update the contact information as needed.

Dogs Need To Go To The Vet

a vet holding up a small dog
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Even if there isn’t something noticeably wrong with your dog they still need to have regular visits at the veterinarian. This is because vets are trained to find hard to spot illnesses and can also give them essential vaccines and medication to prevent them from developing anything serious.

It’s understandable that some owners may not want to expose their dog to being scared at the vet for nothing less than an emergency, but it will ultimately be worth it to bring them in. Others might not be able to afford the added cost of a veterinarian, which is why it’s best to find inexpensive vet options or get pet insurance.

How To Budget Your Dog Expenses

a man playing with a dog in a pet store
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The cost of owning a dog can add up very fast, so it’s crucial to budget all of your dog expenses. These can include food, toys, veterinary care, training classes, pet sitters, and supplies. Before adopting a dog make sure it’s realistically within your means and be prepared to spend about $1,500 to $10,000 per year.

In order to get the best bang for your buck look for ways to budget. This can be done in several ways including using coupons, waiting for sales, or giving up luxuries such as vacations and eating out.

Don’t Just Go Off The Cuteness Factor

A seven week old Daschund cross puppy
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It may be tempting to pick a dog to adopt solely by their looks, but that can be a dangerous trap. Every dog has unique personality traits and physical needs that don’t always match what an owner is capable of providing. For example, it wouldn’t make sense for a couch potato to adopt a large breed that needs constant care and exercise.

This can cause some owners to return the dogs back to shelters, which can be very traumatizing for them. Those looking for a dog to adopt need to do extensive research to make sure they’re getting the right dog for their lifestyle.

Dogs Are Social Creatures, So They Need To Be Treated As Such

Dog owners sit with their pets on a bench
Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The earlier dogs learn to socialize, the better. It’s important to realize that some dogs won’t necessarily get along with others, even if they don’t have a problem being with their owner. Slowly exposing them to several kinds of dogs and people while they’re young can prevent them from acting out towards others when they’re older.

Dogs who aren’t socialized can sometimes work on it as they age, but often times will feel anxious or get aggressive with unfamiliar faces. The socialization needs to continue throughout their lifetime.

Make Sure Dogs Stay Hydrated

Black and tan Jack Russell puppies drink from a big water bowl on top of hay bails
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Dogs need plenty of water every day to stay hydrated. Owners should always be checking their dogs’ water bowls and refilling them when they get low. The water bowls should be placed in an accessible location, so dogs can keep drinking throughout the day.

It’s especially important to make sure that dogs are drinking more water on hot days and after exercise. Tractive found that dogs are at a greater risk of dehydration than humans because they release heat from their bodies at a much slower pace from a lack of sweat glands.

Beware Of Your Flower Arrangements

A woman holds a dog as she picks flowers
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

It’s only natural that dogs will get into something they aren’t supposed to around the house. In order to prevent this from happening it’s best to put anything that can harm them in hard to reach places. One of the main culprits is flowers.

Several species of flowers such as lilies, chrysanthemums, and tulips are toxic to dogs and give them horrible side effects. If dogs consume them it can lead to stomach pains and sometimes end their lives. Other toxic plant varieties include spinach, shamrocks, sago palm, hibiscus, eucalyptus, aloe, and chamomile.

Don’t Be Afraid To Say “No”

An owner keeps her dogs attention by pointing her finger
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Sometimes a dog’s cuteness factor can override an owner’s ability to discipline. Dogs simply cannot live on praise alone and must be taught the difference between right and wrong. They thrive on knowing their limits, but they need to learn through a black and white lens because they can’t understand a lot of the complexities of the rules.

Owners need to take charge as soon as possible to teach their dogs things such as no biting or aggression, not to pull on leashes, or preventing them from too much barking. Once they learn the rules it will increase the bond with their owners.

Why Owners Should Consider Adoption

A dog looks out from a cage
Mladen Antonov/Getty Images
Mladen Antonov/Getty Images

Shopping for a dog versus adopting is one of the most hot-button issues regarding dog ownership. There are plenty of advocates for each side, but it’s important to consider why potential dog owners should consider gravitating towards adopting. There are so many dogs who are stuck in shelters or in foster care that are looking for a forever home.

Some may want to go to a breeder because they want to get a brand new puppy, but stopping by an animal shelter first could make an owner see that dogs of all ages can be a great companion. Adopting also clears a spot for a future homeless dog.

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Always Be Outside

a border terrier sitting on the grass outside
Tim Graham/Getty Images
Tim Graham/Getty Images

Going outside to play or for a walk is something that most dogs look forward to, but there’s a limit to how much time they should be spending out of the house. Owners should avoid leaving their dogs outside for all hours for several reasons.

Staying out in the sun for too long can cause them to get dehydrated. Cold and rainy weather is not ideal for dogs because it leaves them feeling severely uncomfortable. A good fix is installing a dog door, so your dog can choose if they want to be outside or inside.

Accept Their Personality Changes

A woman smiles as she holds her Husky
Vyacheslav Oseledko/Getty Images
Vyacheslav Oseledko/Getty Images

Some dog owners may not realize that it’s common for dogs’ personalities to change over time. They may have been a friendly, energetic puppy and grew up to be a skittish dog who doesn’t like being around others. If their personality changes for the worse, avoid blaming them.

Owners can’t change their dogs overnight and it can sometimes be impossible to alter their personalities to make them someone they’re not. It’s best to be patient with these changes and seek a professional to find out if it’s possible to fix any negative behavior.

Try Not To Push Them Over The Edge

a dog sitting on someone's lap
Fabian Sommer/Getty Images
Fabian Sommer/Getty Images

There’s a limit to how much external stimuli dogs can handle and they will let you know when they’ve had enough. Owners need to pay attention to signs their dogs may show if they are scared and take care of the situation accordingly. This means not pushing them over the edge if they aren’t ready.

Instances where this may occur are through training, being around new people or animals, or going for a ride in the car. If the situation is not handled correctly it can cause them to act out either by being aggressive or running away in fear.

Dogs Will Most Likely Need This Medical Procedure

a black lab wearing a plastic cone on the grass
John Kelly/The Washington Post via Getty Images
John Kelly/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The medical procedure that almost all dogs need to undergo is being spayed or neutered. The ASPCA lists several reasons why this needs to be done. It can lower the homeless dog population for both genders. Spaying for female dogs can prevent uterine infections, breast tumors, and heat (cycles for mating).

Neutering for males can prevent testicular cancer, prostate problems, and can help with behavioral issues. In hindsight, the cost of this medical procedure would be far less than dealing with one of the outcomes of not spaying or neutering.

Do Not Leave Your Dog In The Car

Chihuahua dog waits inside a Trabant 601 car
Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images
Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images

Dogs should never be left in the car alone, especially with the windows rolled up. According to Furbo over half of the states in America have made it illegal to leave pets unattended in a parked car and will charge the owner with animal cruelty.

This is because dogs can get sick and even suffer fatal consequences due to being left in either a very hot or cold car. Animal safety experts recommend taking action if you see an animal by itself in a car by either calling animal control if they seem okay or 911 if they are in any kind of distress.

Keep Everything Consistent

Cocker Spaniel dog going down a hill
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Owners should be prepared to give their dogs some simple rules during their training that stick with them for the rest of their lives. Once dogs learn these rules it’s crucial not to change them because the inconsistency will confuse them and undo previous training.

For example, if you teach your dog not to jump up on people or surfaces and another person encourages them to do so, they will continue the behavior where they received positive reinforcement. This is why it can be helpful for owners to tell family members, friends, etc. what their dog can and can’t do.

Wait Until Your Dog Is Older To Bring Them Out In Public

a puppy inside a teacup
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

When puppies are newborn to about eight weeks they are at an increased risk of several diseases. They lack a fully functioning immune system and are not old enough to be given vaccines. Owners should not bring their dogs to public places or around new animals or people because the puppies could get very sick.

Once they reach the age where they can receive vaccinations, owners can slowly bring their dogs to places such as the dog park, groomers, or to a friend’s house. Always keep an eye on a new puppy because their behavior can be unpredictable.