As pet parents, we want to do the absolute best for our fur babies as possible. From making the best choices we can in food, toys, dog harnesses, collars, leashes, and more, we all want our pups to be their happiest and healthiest!
Whether you are bringing in your very first fur baby or a veteran dog owner, it’s possible for all of us to make mistakes along the way.
While small mistakes may not alway have huge consequences for us, they can have much more serious impacts for our beloved fur babies. So it’s important that we try to be as prepared as possible so that we can avoid some of the pitfalls that come with having a pup family member.
1. Leaving Yummy Things Accessible
That half a piece of pizza that you plan on finishing after grabbing a drink from the fridge? That also looks extra tasty to your fur baby. And if it’s anywhere a hungry snoot can find it, you’ll likely come back to an empty plate.
Dogs are notorious for their lack of restraint when it comes to what they’ll try to nom. Food left unattended? Oh, yes. Moldy bread in an available trash can? Yummy. What the cat left in the litterbox? Absolutely. Even when it comes to a stray vitamin or pill that might have rolled onto the floor, your curious pup may try to chow down.
While we know what is healthy and not for our dogs to eat, they don’t quite understand what bad things could happen from pulling a bar of chocolate off of the coffee table or worse.
If anything is at face-level it could be considered fair game, and if it’s knock-over-able or reachable by getting on one’s back legs it might not be safe. That’s why it’s incredibly important to make sure that we are extra careful what our pups can get a hold of.
- Make sure that any food is carefully put away and not left unattended - even packaged and in a wrapper! Those noses are powerful and can find all sorts of snacks.
- Keep trash, recycling, and any other areas you don’t want pups to get into securely shut with a tight lid.
- If anything is accidentally dropped on the floor - such as pills, plastic food packaging, or sharp bones - make sure they get picked up right away before your pup finds them.
2. Being Too Free With Treats and Table Scraps
We love to treat our pups! Who could say no to the cutest face around? But as covered above, our fur babies aren’t exactly the best at moderation. So what could start as a once in a while treat could easily turn into a too-often habit.
Treats are, of course, a great tool! When it comes to training or helping get a shy dog out of their shell, coaxing with food isn’t wrong. And on occasion a little bit of people-food isn’t all bad, making sure that any table food is safe for your pup’s health!
When these yummy morsels become a problem is when we start giving our fur babies treats and table scraps all of the time.
Treats and table scraps are higher in fat and calories than our pups’ regular food, which means too much of a good thing is going to lead to health issues. And with 25-30% of dogs in America suffering from obesity, it’s important to make sure our fur babies have a good and healthy diet.
- Different dogs require different calorie amounts per day. Check with your vet or look online to see how many calories you pup requires a day.
- Check your pup’s food to see how many calories they are getting with their regular feedings, then figure out how many treats they can get.
- When training, go for smaller treats or switch to clicker training that eventually doesn’t require treats at all.
- Have house rules when it comes to table scraps and make sure everyone agrees so that your fur baby can stay healthy.
- Take your pup on regular walks using a safe and secure dog harness to get in exercise to help stay active as well as on a good diet.
3. Giving Your Pup a People Remedy if They Don’t Feel Well
If your pup has an injury or is showing signs of being sick, it’s tempting to want to help them as quickly as possible. Sometimes that could mean wanting to give them something like a human pain or fever reliever to help them feel better.
While there are some things that both people and dogs can both use when suffering from an ailment, such as thin layers of antibiotic ointment for a skin wound, most helpful tools that we would use if we aren’t feeling well are not for pups.
Medications like aspirin or tylenol affect fur babies’ bodies much differently and more drastically than it does for us and will likely end up causing more harm than good. Additionally, it can impact what your vet is able to figure out and do to help once getting your pup in to see a professional.
- Keep a close eye on your fur baby and make notes of any symptoms you see.
- If they don’t improve within a day, take them to the vet and share what you know.
- Always, always make sure to check with your vet before giving or using anything on your pet!
4. Not Brushing Those Chompers Regularly
We’ve all been there: trying to get our pups used to getting their teeth brushed. It can be frustrating, time-consuming, and unpleasant for you and your fur baby.
However dental drama doesn’t necessarily start when your pup starts showing signs of discomfort.
Part of the reason why dogs let so little get in the way of their eating is that they have a really high survival instinct. And eating is a big part of surviving. What this means is that even if their teeth are uncomfortable or even hurting them, they’ll continue to eat until they physically can’t any more.
None of us want our beloved dogs to ever go through something like that!
Plus beyond just the possibility of losing teeth and mouth pain, bad teeth can cause infections that get into their bloodstreams causing much more serious health problems.
- Make sure to brush those pup teeth regularly.
- Check with your vet to get regular deep cleanings.
- Check out this blog post for 5 tips on brushing your dog’s teeth!
5. Not Trimming Those Nails Often
Just as regular teeth brushings can be a frustrating event, so can trimming our pups’ nails.
Many dogs simply don’t like their nails cut, so it’s easy to put it off. However, not trimming their nails regularly can have unpleasant consequences.
The longer our pups’ nails get, the longer their cuticles grow. The longer their cuticles grow, the harder it is to cut their nails back without it being painful for our fur babies. Once it’s to the point that nail clipping is painful, it’s even harder to regularly do - after all, no one wants to do something that is hurting their dog!
And if they go too long with lengthy nails, it can affect how they walk, make it painful on their feet, and beyond.
- Associate nail trimming with good things! Use a small treat when playing with your pup’s feet to get them used to having those toes handled.
- Let them get used to the clipper by introducing it and letting them check it out before using it.
- Try to start the routine of nail clipping while they’re still puppies, so they get used to it early.
6. Assuming Your Pup Ate Something Yucky
Our dogs eat things that we as people would consider yucky all of the time - after all, we tend to shy away from gourmet a la the trashcan and toilet.
Any of those things for us would certainly result in a sour stomach. If you notice your fur baby starts to show lasting upset tummy symptoms, though, it might not be so simple.
Dogs aren’t able to talk and share with us what they’re feeling (or what they ate). So if they start throwing up, having diarrhea, or being lethargic it’s hard to know exactly what is going on. It could, in fact, be something they got into or it could be something else.
- Keep an eye on your pup and make notes of symptoms.
- While unwell, feed your fur baby only a bland diet consisting of boiled rice and boiled chicken (or search other ‘bland diet’ ideas online).
- If your pup is still unwell after 24 hours, go see your vet! After all, even if it was something your pup ate, it could still be a more serious concern.
7. Not Sizing Your Pup’s Collar or Dog Harness Properly
Just as our pups can’t tell us if they’re not feeling well, they can’t tell us if their collar or dog harness is uncomfortable either.
Dogs don’t, on the whole, wear a lot of clothes so it’s important that these items fit properly. Especially when we consider that we don’t want a collar to choke our pup. And when going on walks, the dog harness is what will be keeping your pup safe and secure without rubbing painfully.
When fitting your pup for a collar:
Use a sewing tape measure or string to measure around your dog’s neck, leaving space for two fingers to fit between your pup and the collar.
Choose a collar material based on the activities your pup enjoys doing, such as waterproof if they swim.
When fitting your fur baby for a dog harness:
- First weigh your pup. Weight is going to be your best measurement tool. If you find your friend between sizes and they have a wider chest and shoulders, go up one size. If they are between sizes and have a narrower chest and shoulders, go down one size.
- To measure your dog’s chest, first get a soft measuring tape. Find the thickest part of their chest and measure around it. If they are between sizes by their chest measurement, always go up a size!
There are many ways that we can continue to learn to care for our fur babies in the best ways we can. As long as we do, we’ll continue to have long lasting and wonderful bonds with these fuzzy companions that we love so much!
This is just a sampling of tips and informational posts we offer at Joyride Harness. You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog in this section.
For more doggie photos and pup-related fun, follow us on Instagram at @joyrideharness. And for a more detailed blog post about finding the best size dog harness for your pup, check out this blog post!