5 common mistakes pet owners make
Even pet owners with the best intentions can make serious mistakes when it comes to their dog’s wellbeing. These are the top 5 mistakes that veterinarians have encountered, and how you can avoid them.
- Not Going for Annual Check-ups
Most owner seem to think that giving their dogs their yearly vaccinations is enough to keep them healthy, but a vaccination is hardly the same as a full physical exam. A typical exam will include blood work, a fecal examination for intestinal parasites, and examination of your dog’s gums, heart, lungs, teeth, eyes, and ears. Annual check-ups help your vet detect problems early; instead of coping with lengthy treatment or dealing with expensive treatment of an advanced or chronic condition, your vet can catch issues in their beginning stages when care can really mean cure. This also saves you money in the long run.
Dogs require dental care for the same reasons we do – to prevent gum disease. After eating, plaque forms on a dog’s teeth and if left alone, it builds, causing inflammation, decay, and eventually bone and tooth loss. This process is a very silent and painful experience and you might not realise it until your dog loses all, if not most, of her teeth. Gum disease is five times more common in dogs than it is in people but it is also very easy to prevent and treat.
All you need to do is:
– Brush daily
– Feed good quality food
– Go for regular oral X-rays, exams and cleaning
– Provide safe teeth-cleaning treats and toys such as KONG’s dental rubber toys which comes in different shapes and sizes.
Sometimes too much love can be a bad thing – it’s common for pet owners to overload their dogs with treats because “they’re just so cute!”. Rewarding and loving our dogs with food generally leads to obesity, and overweight or obese dogs are at much higher risk for several canine health problems such as arthritis and diabetes. Consult your dog’s vet to plan a healthy and balanced diet. You don’t have to stop sharing occasional goodies with your furry friend, as long as he or she has a healthy diet for the majority of the time.
Alternatively, you may opt for treats that are healthier and lower in calories such as the Smooches (Chicken & Raspberry) & Nuzzles (Duck & Cranberry) cookies from The Honest Kitchen which contains just 2.3 calories for each cookie.
The treats are made from human grade ingredients and crafted into heart shapes and have the perfect consistency for a dog biscuit.
These delicious treats are popular with even the fussiest hounds.
A very dangerous mistake pet owners make is giving dogs human medications. Lots of drugs made for humans are very toxic to dogs, even in the smallest of doses. Avoid giving your dog any kind of medication meant for humans, these include pain relief drugs, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, and vitamins even. Such drugs can pose severe risks to pets, ranging from seizures to coma to death. Always keep medication secure and away from curious noses and mouths. Keep it away from children as well. If you suspect your dog has accidentally gobbled up some human medication, visit your vet immediately and try to identify the drug that he or she has ingested as this will help in purging the toxins.
- Delaying Critical Care
Oftentimes, we delay medical care when we think it’s just a rash, or an itch, or a bump, and it’ll go away in time. Unfortunately, our dogs cannot tell us just how bad or painful these seemingly minute issues are for them and we shouldn’t take the chance just because it looks “harmless enough”. Your furry friend could be in grievous pain or deathly ill and you might not even know. Don’t wait to see if a health problem in your dog gets better on it’s own; visit your vet immediately if your dog isn’t behaving normally, isn’t eating as much or not eating at all, is vomiting, seems lethargic, has diarrhea or fever.
Image Credit: LuAnn Snawder Photography, Dog, CC (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/)