Are you harming your pup?
BE A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER BY AVOIDING THESE 7 THINGS
Happy RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP MONTH! The American Kennel Club assigned the month of September this distinction way back in 1987. Wonderful! But, what exactly is a “responsible” dog owner?
A responsible dog owner is someone who:
- Keeps only the appropriate number and breed of pups for which he/she can provide food, water, shelter, health care, and companionship.
- Commits to care for pups for the life of the pup.
- Commits to providing exercise and mental stimulation.
I am going to guess that you are NOT surprised by any of these responsible dog ownership points. BUT, read on to discover 7 ways you may unknowingly be harming your pup.
1. YOU DON’T TRACK YOUR PUP’S WEIGHT
Pet obesity is an epidemic. The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention reports that 53 percent of dogs in the United States are obese or overweight. A responsible dog owner will know their pup’s ideal weight. Do know what your dog’s ideal’s weight should be? 95 percent of pet owners do not know. Dog owners must be intentional to not overfeed their pups. Being overweight reduces a pup’s lifespan and increases the risk of diseases. To prevent an overweight pup, track your dog’s weight. Do not give in to that sweet face begging for table scraps. Control how many treats you are giving your pup. Be sure to consult your vet with any concerns.
2. YOU DON’T BRUSH YOUR PUP’S TEETH
Ugh! We know. This is not a pleasant thing to do. Did you know that periodontal disease is one of the most common health problems for dogs? Gum disease can lead to issues that impact your pup’s kidney and heart. Because most pet parents do not make tooth brushing a priority, issues can develop in pups as young as three years old. What can a responsible dog owner do? Purchase a finger brush because it is easier to control than a full-size toothbrush. Chew toys and dental treats may reduce plaque buildup. Again, consult your vet.
3. YOU DON’ T DO VET CHECKUPS
Just like humans, pups need a yearly (every 6 months for senior pups) medical exam from your vet. This gives you, a responsible dog owner, the opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive to health and behavior issues.
4. YOU LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR
Despite all the media stories about pups left in hot vehicles, it is still common for pups to be left in hot cars to die. It’s easy for a dog’s body temperature to overheat when confined to the inside of a car. In addition, people steal pups for nefarious reasons. So, if the place you are going doesn’t allow pups, be a responsible dog owner and leave your pup at home.
5. YOU PUNISH YOUR DOG FOR MISBEHAVING
Yelling and punishing your pup for unwanted behavior are two of the worst choices you, a responsible dog owner, can make. It is not productive and only results in creating a pup who is anxious, scared, and stressed. Discipling a pup is necessary, but there is an appropriate way to do so—a positive reward-based method. Every time your pup does something good, reward him with a treat. He will be conditioned to do the same good behavior over and over because he will associate the treat with it. If you need a dog trainer, Rachelle Yates is recommended by numerous Top Dog clients. Please contact TDPS if you would like her information.
6. YOU ARE USING THE INCORRECT SIZE OF HARNESS OR COLLAR
Have you recently purchased a collar or harness for your pup? Holy cow! The choices are overwhelming. Thank goodness for choices because pups have many needs. Some dogs have tracheal issues, so a harness, instead of a collar, is the appropriate choice. Other dogs, however, can easily escape their harness, so a collar might be more useful. The American Kennel Club can help you determine if a collar or a harness is appropriate for your pup. One you determine what you need, you will need to figure out what size is appropriate.
7. YOU DON’T SECURE YOUR DOG WHILE DRIVING
Our oldest daughter, Bekah, was headed back to Oklahoma State University from McKinney, TX. Along the way, she had car trouble and a super nice couple stopped to help her. They offered to take Bekah, Lexie (pup), Milo (cat), and Peanut (cat) to Stillwater. When Bekah opened the car door, Peanut slipped out and ran down Interstate 35. Thankfully, Bekah managed to catch her. Not only was Peanut in danger, but so was Bekah. This could have easily been a story about Lexie running down the highway. For their safety, pups must be contained in a vehicle. Allowing a fur baby to sit in your lap increases the likelihood that they will be crushed by an air bag. Riding in the backseat, without being contained, increases the likelihood, if you have a wreck or have to slam on your brakes, that your pup will slam into the back of the front seat, potentially causing serious injury or even death. Do you let your pup hang it’s head out the window? STOP! This is a great way for your pup to be hit by debris that can cause eye damage or make them jump out the window! When travelling, it’s important that pups wear a harness (to prevent strangulation), a collar, and be buckled in. Responsible dog owners can purchase a pup seat belt from Amazon for $10. Do not attach the seatbelt to your dog’s collar. Instead, it should be attached to the harness.
Your pup loves you. If you need to make changes to be a responsible pet owner do so—it’s not too late. Changes will help your fur baby enjoy a longer life with you.