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8 Common Dog Care Mistakes

May 14 2024

Did you know that 44.5% of American households have dogs? Fido really does have a way of completing our little (or not-so-little) families and making houses really feel like home. While we love all animals, our canine companions are truly extraordinary, with their love, loyalty, and charisma. Fido does require a good amount of love and care to thrive. However, while we’ve called dogs our furry best friends for thousands of years, there’s always more to learn about them. Read on as a local Poconos PA vet goes over some of the most common dog care mistakes. 

Not Making Sure Your Dog Is Getting Enough Exercise

Just like people, dogs need proper activity to stay healthy. The type and amount of exercise your pup needs will depend on his age, size, health, and, of course, his personal tastes. However, at the very least, you should take your canine companion for walks every day.

The benefits of a good doggy workout regimen go far beyond keeping your canine pal fit. This is also very important for his mental and emotional well-being. Fido would get pretty bored just staying home all the time. Being able to enjoy a change of scenery—and sniff different plants and trees—is very important for dogs, because of the enrichment it offers.

Plus, this gives your furry pal a chance to blow off some steam. After a walk, run, or play session, your pooch will be calmer and maybe even a bit tired. That means he’ll be more interested in taking a nap than in tearing up your sofa cushions.

Overfeeding Fido

Obesity is one of the most widespread issues that we see in our canine companions. Over half of our furry patients are, well, chonkers. Fido may look cute if he has a bit of extra padding, but don’t be fooled. Carrying even a few extra pounds can be very bad for your cute pet’s health and well-being!

The associated health risks of canine obesity are anything but cute. Here’s a partial list:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Anesthetic complications
  • Arthritis
  • Respiratory disease
  • Breathing conditions
  • Compromised immune function
  • Bladder stones
  • Joint problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Musculoskeletal diseases
  • Skin conditions
  • Liver disease
  • Lack of energy
  • Decreased quality of life
  • CCL tears
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Flatulence
  • Frequent urination
  • Heat intolerance
  • Neoplasm

Obesity can also shorten Fido’s lifespan. Keep a close eye on your canine buddy’s weight. Ask your Poconos, PA vet for specific advice on your pet’s diet and care needs.

Inconsistent/Incomplete Training

Fido is a Very Good Boy, but he needs proper guidance to know what is and is not acceptable petiquette. Training should start the day you bring your pooch home. While you don’t have to teach your dog complex commands or cute tricks, he should at least know the basics: Sit, Stay, Heel, Come, and Lay Down.

Consistency is absolutely crucial here. Don’t let Fido get on the couch one day, then discipline him for it the next. It’s also important to make sure that you are using the same word or phrases when working with your pet.

Forgetting Paw And Nail Care

Sometimes the little things really aren’t so little. That is definitely the case here.

Let’s look at those furry feet. Overgrown nails affect the way your four-legged friend walks and stands. They can increase the risks of Fido slipping and falling on slick surfaces, and, even worse, can exacerbate bone/joint issues.

As for that not-so-pearly-white smile, dental care is one of the most overlooked aspects of dog care. Our canine pals are susceptible to many of the same issues as people are. These can be both painful and dangerous.

Not Socializing Puppies

This one probably won’t apply if you’ve adopted an older dog. However, if you’ve recently adopted a puppy, it should be one of your top priorities. Socialization, as the name suggests, entails making sure that little Fido is comfortable and well-behaved around new places and people. This process has to happen within a certain period of time, generally between the time your pooch is three weeks until he is about 14 weeks. This is when your furry pal is deciding what he thinks about the world. Improper or incomplete socialization during this stage will have a very negative impact on your canine companion’s behavior once he is grown. Dogs that weren’t socialized properly are much more likely to develop behavioral issues as adults.

Ask your Poconos PA vet for specific advice on this.

Overlooking Safety Concerns

Dogs are quite smart, but they don’t know what is and isn’t safe for them. Even worse, their natural instincts can sometimes lead them right into trouble. Following a few basic rules can prevent many tragic accidents.

Petproofing is a big one. You’ll want to remove or secure anything that could possibly be dangerous for your furry pal. That includes anything small or sharp; plastic bags and ties; personal items, such as shoes and purses; toxic plants; chemicals; and medicine. 

Don’t forget the outdoors! You’ll also want to make sure that your fencing is secure and that your gate closes securely. If you have a pool, you’ll want to take steps to keep Fido safe poolside as well.

Aside from that, always make sure that your pooch is comfy, and that he is protected from extreme weather. 

Leash safety is also key. Some very well-trained dogs are fine off leash, but it has become unfortunately far too common for people to just let their pup roam freely. Always keep your canine friend leashed whenever you take him off your property, unless of course he’s in a fenced area.

Lack Of Veterinary Care

All of our canine buddies should be microchipped, spayed or neutered, and kept current on their preventative care.

Microchipping is a one-and-done procedure that will only take a moment, but could one day save your dog’s life. Many people find it too easy to assume that their canine pals will never slip out. Unfortunately, as many as one in three pets goes missing over the course of their lives. (ID tags are also still very important.)

Spaying and neutering not only helps prevent unwanted litters, it also typically results in marked improvement in Fido’s behavior and temperament. Pets that are fixed are calmer, less likely to spray, and much less interested in running off in search of a mate. Male dogs are also much less prone to aggressive behaviors.

Vaccines and parasite control protect your furry bestie from a whole slew of nasty diseases and parasites, some of which can be fatal.

Of course, it’s also important for you to watch for signs of sickness. Contact your Poconos PA pet hospital  right away if you notice anything off.

Not Paying Enough Attention To Fido

Dogs are incredibly loyal and loving. They have literally risked—and sometimes sacrificed—their lives for their humans. That unwavering, unconditional friendship is a truly powerful gift, one that can have a drastic impact on our lives. Fido doesn’t ask for much, either: food, shelter, and, most of all, love.

Make sure to spend quality time with your canine buddy every day. This will be good for you as well!

Book An Appointment At Your Poconos PA pet clinic 

Does your pup need to come in for an exam, parasite control, or wellness care? Contact us, your local Poconos PA animal hospital, anytime!  

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