You love your dog, and obviously you want to do everything you can to keep them happy and healthy. You’re probably covering the basics; feeding them and walking them regularly, but there may be some things that are slipping through the net. Many owners, from newbies to the most experienced, make mistakes that could seriously harm the dog over time. Here are a few to make sure you’re avoiding…
Ignoring their Dental Health
This is one of the most damaging blunders a dog owner can make. A huge proportion of dogs will suffer from dental diseases at some point in their life, often before they’re even three years old. Caring for your dog’s oral health means much more than using healthy puppy treats and watching out for gum disease. Taking your dog for regular dental check-ups will reveal other, more glaring oral health issues, such as tooth decay and fractured teeth. Many of these conditions are best treated when they’re addressed as soon as they spring up. Be sure to get into good oral health habits when they’re young, and don’t put it off until their mouths are more susceptible to disease. If you’re going to brush their teeth at home, start off with just the front teeth, then gradually include more of the mouth. Make sure you’re brushing over their gum lines with a soft-bristled brush.
Forgetting About Fleas
It’s surprising how many owners completely overlook fleas, especially when you think of how preventable this health issue is. Flea allergies are pretty common in dogs, so even a small flea problem can cause more serious issues. The best way to prevent fleas is becoming aware of the conditions that attract them. Fleas tend to thrive in warm, humid conditions, and will die out in cold, dry ones. For most parts of the country, all you really need to do is treat your dog with some conventional flea creams or chewy tablets, but only for part of the warmer, more humid parts of the year; summer and fall. Often, you’ll be able to use more natural treatments in the rest of the year. There are many essential oils and homemade concoctions that can be effective, without the risk of using harmful chemicals on your dog’s fur.
Skimping on Nutrition
Dogs are nowhere near as fussy about eating as cats, and will happily dig into all kinds of low-quality foods. Unfortunately, this has led a lot of owners to feeding their pets foods that can be exceedingly damaging to their health. The issue with a lot of popular dog food brands has a couple of sides to it: the manufacturing process, and the actual quality of the ingredients. Low quality meat, which sometimes comes from diseased animals, is still unfortunately legal in the States. Even when the quality of the meat at the point of slaughter is fairly decent, the heated processing that it goes through often strips it of any nutrients that were there in the first place. Always check the label!