Spontaneously adopting a dog is a common impulse that takes over most people. I mean, who can resist those puppy-dog eyes just gleaming at you, begging you to take them home. But owning a dog isn’t all cute and cuddly, especially when you consider all the care and attention a dog requires.
Before taking up the responsibility of owning a canine, ask yourself the following few questions:
- Can you afford to keep a dog?
- Are you okay with the messes, shedding, mood swings and more that come with a dog?
- Will you give your new buddy the time he needs for walks, exercise, bonding and training?
- And will your pal bond with the other pets and residents in your house?
If the answer to any of these is a “No”, you may want to reconsider getting a new furry member to the family. Here’s how to care for your dog and avoid these common mistakes…
Holding back on exercise and activity
Dogs love to run around and play. It’s not only something that they like doing, but it is also important for them to live a long and healthy life. Insufficient exercise or activity can lead to a whole bunch of behavioural and health issues. You should also keep in mind the fact that different breeds require varied amounts of activity. Hence, it is important for you to gauge the amount of activity your dog needs. Many a time people will refuse to take their pets out for walks during the monsoons, which can last for 4 to 6 months. This can be a very long period for a dog to be kept captive indoors. This may result in your dog getting bored, restless, overweight, or dull. If this is the case, consider these signs as a wakeup call to get your doggy moving! Why not use a doggy raincoat if you don’t wish to get his coat wet and messy during the rains!
Improper feeding habits
Feeding your dog is not as simple as throwing him a bone. There are various dog food products in the market, and each of them are created specifically for different kinds of dogs. You can consult your vet to know what food best suits your dogs needs. Also make it a point not to overfeed your pooch. Obesity in dogs is on the rise and it’s a much more serious issue than you would imagine. Again, consulting a vet on the appropriate serving portions should help you here. There are also certain kinds of foods you must NEVER feed your dog. Did you know that treating your dog to chocolate can be as good as feeding him poison? Yup, keep him away from that bar of Bournville!
Also read: Foods that can poison your dog
Letting behavioural issues go uncurbed
Behavioural issues in dogs may not seem that threatening at first, but as time passes it could develop into a much more serious problem. What’s worse is that we sometimes subconsciously reinforce bad behaviour in dogs. For example, giving a dog a treat when he is being extra aggressive may give him the idea that we appreciate what he is doing. It is best to address behavioural issues at the start as they can be really difficult to change once a dog is accustomed to it.
Ignoring dental issues
Ignoring a pooch’s “doggie breath” is one of the biggest mistakes owners make. Most people think a dog’s breath stinks by default and that there’s nothing wrong with it. The truth being halitosis (bad breath) could be a sign of your dog facing a grievous dental disease. If left unchecked, it could lead to tooth loss and digestive disorders, further leading to kidney failure and even heart disease. Simple home dental care is the key to keeping your pooch smiling for years. Make it a point to brush his teeth at least once every two days and schedule a veterinary dental cleaning at least twice a year.
Avoiding regular check-ups at the vet
If you are one of those people who wait till your dog is sick to take him to a vet, then you should consider changing the way you think. Planning routine visits to the vet is the best way to ensure your doggy is healthy and happy. Most dogs won’t show symptoms of illness until it is too late, so it is best to detect problems early on and fix them when they are still treatable. Regular visits also help foster a bond between the dog, the vet and yourself, and it becomes easier to diagnose illnesses before they get too severe.
Many people often purchase breeds without thinking it through. Certain dog breeds like Saint Bernards and Siberian Huskies not only need a good deal of space, but also require a cool climate to survive. If you live in a place where the climate is often hot and humid, are you willing to leave your AC on 24/7? You definitely need to consider the dog’s comfort level in your living quarters before purchasing one.
Also read: Keep Your Beloved Pet Stress Free!
So remember, if you are serious about getting a dog, plan it out and think it through. Try and avoid making these 5 common mistakes and you and your dog can live happily ever after.