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Are You Guilty of These Common Dog Mistakes?

Most dog owners are great. But sometimes even the best pet parents make common dog mistakes.

Most of the time, the people involved are well-intentioned, but misinformed. Many of the mistakes pet owners make is due to a lack of experience in that particular situation or problem. They may be doing something they think is helping their pets, but in actuality, is doing them harm. Even if they think they “know” their pets, things can go horribly wrong.

And, sometimes, it’s hard for veterinarians to point out these mistakes as some pet owners are very defensive and don’t take criticism well.

But we’re happy to highlight those common dog mistakes. There are certainly more, but here are the big ones.

The Top 5 Common Dog Mistakes

1. Skipping the Yearly Checkup

Thinking about skipping the veterinary dog checkup this year? Think again. It’s a good practice to take your dog to the veterinarian once a year, and skipping the visit could mean you miss out on preemptively spotting a health issue. Skipping an examination can also mean that your dog doesn’t get shots he needs to stay healthy.

An annual dog checkup means a routine examination to make sure everything in your dog’s body is working properly, and that nothing is wrong. Without it, your dog’s overall health could be at risk. The visit to the veterinarian won’t be time consuming or expensive, especially if your dog has insurance.

2. Not Having an ID Tag or Microchip

Some form of identification for your pet is vital. Of the millions of dogs and cats euthanized in shelters around the country, an estimated 30 percent of them are lost pets whose owners cannot be found. Shelters only hold “stray” animals for a short time — sometimes only for a few days. Without identification, they are inevitably euthanized unless adopted out.

Identification has evolved over the years, from collar tags to tattoos and implanted microchips. All are available at a reasonable cost. But which one is best?

The short answer: combine the traditional collar tag with either a tattoo or a microchip. The reason is that the average person who finds a lost dog may not know to look for a tattoo and won’t be able to detect the microchip without a scanner. Often, the effort to contact the owner depends on how easy it is to do so.

Collar tags can provide immediate contact information. Along with the ID tag, your dog should wear his license, which indicates that he has been vaccinated against rabies.

3. Allowing Dogs to Run Free

Some dogs are just born to run. Although the reasons for running away are varied, there are a couple of common themes. Dogs run away either to get to a better place where something rewarding may happen, or to escape from a real or perceived danger.

But when the neighborhood is concrete or tarmac and is seething with automobiles and trucks, this can present a problem. Free-ranging dogs get into a lot of trouble in our society and a good number of them wind up in the pound. For this reason, a wandering dog is not a good dog — not in the long run anyway.

Dogs that are permitted to “run free” often get into trash, ingest toxins, or are traumatized by being hit by a car or getting in a fight with another animal. Or an animal control officer tracks them down. Keeping a dog within a fenced in yard or on a leash can prevent this.

4. Skimping on Nutrition

Good nutrition is no accident. It takes time and patience to learn what your dog needs to stay healthy, happy, and active. It also takes dedication and perseverance to make sure your dog eats what he should, rather than what he wants.

It’s vital that your dog eats a complete and balanced diet. He needs fresh water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. The most important nutrient is water, which makes up 60 percent of a dog’s weight. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are necessary for energy; minerals are important for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, among other things; and vitamins are important to help your dog process biochemicals.

5. Not Being Aware of Household Dangers

There are hundreds of dangerous items your dog can get access to.

If you think your dog may have been exposed to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the label of the item you think your pet ingested. Read the information about toxicity. Often, but not always, the information on packaging regarding children is relevant to dogs and some manufacturers even discuss dog toxicity. If there is an 800 number on the package — call it! It’s also recommended that you call your veterinarian to confirm the recommendations. If you go to your veterinarian, take all packaging and any information you have on the product.

Be aware of these household dangers.

Resources for Common Dog Mistakes

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