Barking up the wrong tree: 6 common mistakes dog owners make

However much you love dogs, you might not have realized what a substantial amount of time and energy is involved in properly looking after a pooch.

Here are some examples of particularly common errors that dog owners can be prone to making. So, if you own a dog of your own and work hard to avoid the following missteps, you can help to keep your four-legged chum healthy in both the physical and mental sense.

Not paying enough attention to a dog’s teeth and nails 

Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian, explains in a HuffPost article: “You should brush your dog’s teeth if not every day, at least several times a week.”

She also emphasizes the need for your dog’s nails to be clipped regularly, adding: “How often depends on how fast they grow and how much time he spends on surfaces that grind them down naturally.”

Using punishment-based — rather than positive reinforcement — training 

Dr. Becker points out: “A growing number of studies show that positive reinforcement training of our furry companions is much more effective than training that involves dominance and punishment.”

Positive reinforcement training is underpinned by the basic principle that rewarding a dog for good behavior encourages more of it.

Letting a dog ride in a car without a seat belt

Doing this can make the dog a distraction — and thus a huge safety hazard — when you are driving.

“Not to mention, if an accident occurred, your pup could turn into a projectile with the potential to cause injury or even death to anyone in the vehicle including himself or herself,” Purina chief veterinary officer Kurt Venator warns Reader’s Digest readers.

Failing to give a dog their own safe space 

This should be somewhere your canine can rest and relax on their own. When the dog is in this space, he or she should not be bothered unless strictly necessary.

The space in question could be a crate or bed — like one of the large dog beds, including fleece and faux leather varieties, available to purchase online.

Allowing dogs to eat food off humans’ plates 

Yes, your dog might fix you with pleading eyes when you are at the dinner table, but you should keep in mind that feeding your pooch morsels from your plate would actually be risky.

That’s because, though most fruits and vegetables are healthy for dogs to consume, many foods aren’t. Especially good examples include grapes, onions, nuts, and garlic.

Being cavalier with what plants are left within dogs’ reach  

Though you might want to decorate your home with lilies, tulips and chrysanthemums, these are all toxic to dogs. The adverse side effects that can be inflicted upon canines as a result of them consuming flowers range from stomach issues to death.

You might have heard that poinsettias are capable of killing pups. This is actually a myth, but it’s nonetheless worth heeding that this red plant contains a sap with the potential to irritate a dog’s mouth and stomach as well as cause vomiting.