10 Common Mistakes People Make That Could Risk The Health of Their Dogs


Many dog owners treat their pets like a family member, they do their best do keep them safe and healthy by feeding them, loving them, walking them. However, there are few common behaviors some dog owners do that hurt their pet’s well-being and happiness.

Here are a few wrong behaviors you’re probably having with your pup, and what you could do to change that and better care for dog.

You’re hugging them.

hugging a dog
REUTERS/Nathaniel Wilder

Hugging your dogs might cause them discomfort and anxiety.

Hugging your pet is a behavior that has got some mixed reactions from vets and animal psychologists. Highlighted by an op-ed article in Psychology Today, it has been made uncertain if hugging your pet is good for them. Business Insider has also talked about how doing so could make your dog uncomfortable.

Dr. Alexandra Horrowitz, a dog-cognition scientist, explained in a comment addressed to Business Insider that “The reason we say they don’t like being hugged is because of what they look like when you’re hugging them”, “They pin their ears back, they lick their lips (sort of air licking). Or they yawn, which is another stress behavior. Or they move to get away. Or they show this kind of whale-eye posture — you can see the whites of their eyes. They show behavior that’s like, ‘This is uncomfortable.'”

Well, Horrowitz is onto a point – NPR (national public radio) did report that dogs stress level do increase when they are being hugged.

You allow your dog to lick your baby’s face.

dog and baby

Keep your pet and your baby happy by maintaining some space between the two.

Babies and dogs are the two cutest beings on earth, however, there is a reason why you wouldn’t want your dog to be licking your baby’s face.

Even though licking is an expression of love and affection for dogs, the little baby’s immunity is not yet developed enough to confront and kill any microbes or bacteria the dog may pass along through licking. Also, there is the other issue of the dog’s diet; if your pet consumes raw food, there is a high risk that their saliva may contain and transfer bacteria like salmonella to baby’s body especially that dogs enjoy to mostly lick in the face.

You let your dog eat table food.

Feeding your pet grapes for example may cause them kidney disease and failure

Allowing dogs to have or feeding them table food is another serious issue veterinarians stress out.

Dog owners should be conscious that some particular foods may lead to health issue for their pets. Avocados, peach stems, potato skin and grapes are a few examples, and also, watch out for things like ‘xylitol’ which may be found in diet peanut butter.

And of course, different dogs reacts differently to human foods, so stay on the safe side and stick to food intended for dogs.

You smoke near your dog.

smoking is hurting your dog

Your smoking habit destroys your health and your dog’s.

Smoking is not good for humans health, and neither it is for dogs health. The New York Times has cited that smoking dog owners are more likely to have their pets develop lung cancer. So yes, secondhand smoking happens with dogs too.

Of course the best option would to stop smoking once for all, but if the process is taking you some time try to spare your dog the secondhand smoke effect by not smoking anywhere near them.

You make them wear the wrong-sized collar

Even though it might seem stylish, this collar, for example, is a bit over-sized for the Chihuahua.

If a collar is to tight, it could hurt your dog’s neck and even hinder smooth blood circulation. And if it too loose, it would start slipping off and it gets uncomfortable for the dog. So, wearing the right size is the non secret key for pet’s health and fashion.

“You should be able to fit one finger between the skin and the collar for small dogs and two for big dogs”, Dog Mom Central blogger says as suggesting a trick she got from her veterinarian.

Make also sure to adjust the collar size when your dog gains or loses weight, or when you give your pet a haircut especially for those shaggy hairy dogs.

You don’t brush your dog’s teeth.

dog dental care

Take care of your dog’s teeth health as you would for yours.

Dental care is often neglected for dogs and overlooking your pet’s dental health may lead to severe consequences for dogs do actually experience many of the same teeth health issues as humans like plaque, cavities and broken teeth.

Get a toothbrush for your dog and make sure your vet checks on your pet’s teeth once in a while.

You let your dog rest too much.

Lazy dog sleeping

Give your dog enough activities to make sure they maintain good health.

Taking your dog on walks may not be the only activity they need. Actually, pet obesity is on a rising tendency, and the perfect way to fight that would be with exercise and diet. Try walking longer routes with your dog, boost running and play time, and if you could get a dog running machine for your pet, that would be ultimate.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) do also attribute pets misbehavior to lack of activity and exercise. Overall, maintaining your dog’s good fit will improve the quality of their life in both short and long terms.

You don’t socialize your dog.

dogs being best buddies

Have a look at these dog buddies!

Not letting your dogs socialize enough has a certain negative consequences. They can get too reactive, nervous, over sensitive and positively less predictable mainly when they experience certain social situations for the first time.

Instead of having your pet all for yourself, you could take your dog to your nearest dog park and also plan dog play dates for them.

You make your dog dress up.

dog wearing tight clothes

This Chihuahua here may seem lovely and adorable but it’s quite likely that it’s experiencing some discomfort.

You may be a big passionate of Halloween, but your dog doesn’t necessarily share the same passion and enjoy the uncomfortably-fitting costume you make them wear. Alexandra Horowitz, author of “Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know” and a dog-cognition researcher explained in a comment addressed for Business Insider about dogs’ similarity to wolves how that may be the reason for their dislike of tight clothes.

“I think about that when I think about dressing a dog in a raincoat and what that might feel like for the dog,” Horowitz says. “I’m reminded of the wolf behavior where one wolf when they’re kind of punishing or scolding another wolf, they’ll kind of stand over the other wolf, literally stand over them, taking a physically superior posture and making them be inferior.”

“I wonder if wearing a tight piece of clothing would be like, ‘Oh, there’s some kind of dominant animal around me, scolding,'” she added.

You slack on giving your dog regular baths.

dog taking a bath

Dog getting a bath.

Dogs can get too dirty, and some breeds are particularly shaggy and hairy more than others which can assemble and hold dirt. Animal Wellness Magazine even compared a dog’s fur to a carpet. Washing your pet on a regular basis is just a common sense, but even so, some people forget how important that is. There is no precise number of days or weeks that you should take as a basis for giving your pup a bath, but rather, they need to be washed whenever they get dirty. If your dog is often spending some time outdoor then they will need a shower sooner than a pet who isn’t out much in the grass.

One useful tip: always begin by cleaning your pup’s body first and then move on to the head as dogs are known to start shaking once their head is wet.