As dog owners, we love our dogs. We do everything we can to make sure that their needs are taken care of. We often treat them as a part of the family. This is the problem – a dog’s needs are different from ours. We should take this into account during our daily interaction with them. Here are some of the specific things we should consider about our dog’s welfare.
A dog’s oral health is much more important than most people realise and for this reason, it is often neglected by dog owners. The modern dog diet is based on kibble or canned food. In most cases, this provides them with balanced nutrition but it is a lot different from the food that dogs evolved to eat.
Plaque builds up on the dogs teeth and if this is not regularly removed it will develop into tartar which can lead to gum disease.
Gum disease, while harmful in itself, can lead too much worse problems.
Related article: How to clean your dog’s teeth.
Gnawing on raw meaty bones can help keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Related article: How to feed your dog bones.
Your vet should look at your dog’s teeth during his regular health check-ups.
Punishing For Misbehavior
Yelling at your dog when he has done something wrong or punishing him in some other way is the worst way of training him. Dogs aren't intentionally bad and often, they don't understand what is required of them. Sometimes, the punishment is dealt out sometime after the incident which caused it. Typically, a dog owner will arrive home and find that the dog has done something wrong. Their immediate reaction is to punish their dog. Dogs live in the moment and will not realise exactly what they are being punished for. The yelling and punishment are serving as an outlet for the owners anger rather than as a method of improving the dogs behavior.
A much better approach is to teach your dog what is expected of him. The best method of doing this is to use positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement requires patience and persistence but it gets results. It also helps to build a strong bond between the owner and the dog.
Related article: Using positive reinforcement to train your dog.
Related article: Is it ever too late to train a dog.
Not Keeping Our Dog Secure When In The Car
Your dog will enjoy going for a car trip with you, especially if he has found that this sometimes ends up at a desirable location.
The first thing you do when you are about to drive the car is fasten your restraint, but what about your dog?
If your car was involved in a collision, your dog would be thrown through the air. This can cause serious injury to him and to you.
Show the same consideration for your dog’s safety as for your own. Investigate dog restraints which are suitable for your dog’s size and age. Make sure he is always fully restrained when travelling in the car.
Leaving Your Dog In The Car On A Hot Day
While we're on the subject of dogs in cars, never leave your dog alone in a car.
Dogs can die in hot cars, often in as short a time as six minutes
The temperature inside a parked car can rise surprisingly quickly and a dog is not able to regulate his body temperature as efficiently as us.
Feeding Them Human Food
Humans seem to love sharing their food with their dogs. While this is fine in principle, we should think about exactly what we're doing. If we are feeding a dog a balanced diet with sufficient nutrition and calories for his daily needs, he should not be given anything extra. This includes treats and titbits or leftovers from our own plates. Feeding our dog more than he needs will lead to weight gain and health problems. This is especially true in older dogs.
We should also learn which foods are dangerous for them. Several foods, while perfectly safe for humans are harmful for dogs.
Related article: Human foods that can be shared with dogs
Not Taking Your Dog To The Vet For Regular Checkups
Regular veterinary check ups for dogs are essential. At least once a year your dog should be thoroughly checked. This examination should include your dog’s teeth.
This check up will normally involve assessment of your dog body condition, his skin and hair, his gait – is there any lameness of asymmetry and his alertness and general appearance.
The vet will also look at his eyes, ears and nose, check his abdomen for discomfort or swelling, listen to his heart rate and lungs using a stethoscope and give him a rectal examination.
In the time leading up to the visit to the vet you should make notes of any changes in your dog's behavior or appearance. Discuss these with your vet.
A Lack Of Stimulation
Your dog needs both mental and physical stimulation. He needs regular daily walks. If possible, visiting a variety of different locations.
Play games with your dog such as fetch or tug of war and make sure he has some toys to keep him occupied. Something like a kong is ideal.
Neglecting Worm, Tick And Flea Treatment
Make sure your dogs parasite prevention treatment is up to date. Parasites such a ticks can lead to your dog becoming infected with serious diseases.
Your vet will be able to give you advice on the best treatments for your area.
Related article: Responsible dog parenting