By Jerry Akinluyi
Last week I discussed about Dog’s intelligence, this week I will be deviating from dogs to dog owners.
Owning a dog can be great fun and very fulfilling, but as a pet owner you also need to remember that you have certain responsibilities. While we all make mistakes from time to time and that’s perfectly understandable, there are a number of common errors that dog owners make. These can end up causing all sorts of issues, including putting your dog’s health at risk.
It’s therefore vital to try and avoid making these mistakes if you want to protect your pooch. If you follow these simple guidelines, you and your pet will be on your way to a safe and hopefully vet-visit-less life together.
1. Only Visiting the Vet When Your Pet Is Ill
As your pet gets older, prevention is the best cure for any ailment. This is as true for dogs as it is for humans, we just don’t like going to doctors and getting tests done either. We have been entrusted with the well-being of our pets and we have to take that responsibility seriously. Failure to take your pet for regular checks and inoculations could lead to health problems that could have been avoided otherwise. Not to mention the increased costs of health treatments and medications that you will experience one a health problem arises. You’ve heard the saying “better safe than sorry” before, we suppose? Your pet has the same right to be treated to these checkups as you do. There’s no need to wait for symptoms to start before you take your pet to the vet.
2. Over-Feeding the Dog
When your dog looks at you with those big eyes, you’re probably tempted to dish a few treats out or even let him share your dinner. However, many dogs are prone to weight problems, so you need to avoid over-feeding if you want to look after his health. Remember that dogs originate from wolves. That was a long time ago, before we domesticated them. Living in the wilderness, they never knew whether they would eat that day. They had to search, observe and finally hunt down their prey. This means that they didn’t have the luxury of eating every day and this instinct is still very much alive for them. Obese dogs are prone to diabetes and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. When they are overweight have a hard time recovering from physical injuries that fit dogs easily recover from. While some breeds are more prone to being obese than others, statistics show that a large number of dogs today are obese, regardless breeds.
3. Buying Cheap Food
While cutting back on costs iYour dog would choose the same. Don’t think that whatever it eats will make it full and satisfied. You’ll be sorry when their bones go weak and their vision becomes impaired. Be careful and don’t cut corners for the ones you love. We’re not saying you should spend a fortune on food, but you should know what’s best for your pet and act accordingly. Some supplements used in the production process of cheap foods are actually poisonous for your pet, so read the table of ingredients carefully before you decide what to buy.
4. Failure to Socialize
It’s important to socialize your pup when he’s young so he grows up getting along well with other dogs and people. I read up an article some few weeks ago about a 4 year old boy that was fatally attacked in lagos by the neighbor’s dogs, those dogs lacks active socialization. If you fail to do this, you could end up with a pet that tries to attack other dogs and poses a threat to your visitors. If that’s the case with your dog, you don’t have a pet, but a guardian. Pets are there to be companions, not security guards. You should start socializing your dog at an early age, when they are still puppies. Your relationship with your pet should be caring but intelligent, just like with your children. You should teach them to be playful but not wild and violent. You should recognize anxiety, fear or aggressiveness and start training them accordingly
In order to avoid having a beast instead of a pet, maybe you should consider visiting a professional if you are not able to train them on your own.
5. Not Exercising Authority
Your dog may be a loving and loyal companion, but you need to remember that you’re the boss. Actually the dog expects it from you, their species evolved beside humans as masters and this had a tremendous impact on their habits and way of life in general. Don’t let your dog walk all over you. He may be your best friend, but don’t forget it’s an animal that humans domesticated 15,000 years ago. Their instincts will return and they can become wild once again if you don’t show them who is in charge. I am not saying you should hit them and punish them harshly, but you should be able to communicate through commands and gestures. They won’t understand anything else. They respond to aggression with aggression, and that’s not going to help in their training. You’re their idol, guardian, mother and father. He has nobody else. Think about it and it will all come together. You are their teacher and their friend so act accordingly. That’s the only way to have a balanced and happy dog.
6. Giving Him Medication Intended For Human Use
Of course, this includes all the drugs you might be using. There was a recent trend where teenagers gave marijuana to dogs which were seen as a big problem in the news, and it is. Pain medication that you take, sleeping pills, and pretty much any kind of medication, can have extreme consequences to your dog’s physical and mental health. Never store your medications near your pet’s medications.
7. Purchasing or adopting a dog without forethought
Different breeds have different needs and every dog is a special creature. They are not a one-dog-fits-all. The best dog-human relationships are when its personality matches your and/ or your family’s lifestyle and principles, and you are able to support its needs. And yes, you need to enjoy it. So, before you buy or adopt that cute furry ball, do your homework and choose a dog that’s for you. Find out all you can about the breeds that interests you. Research them on the Internet and talk to owners of the particular breed, veterinarians, breeders, trainers, and ask for their experiences. A purebred dog can have a lot of health issues, so make sure to pay attention to details. You will need a lot of dedication and sacrifice if you want a happy dog. And also you should know that a puppy will have more energy than an older dog, so don’t expect the dog to be able to run around when they are 10 year old. Any dog you get should be adequate to not only your lifestyle, but your surroundings. If you live in a small apartment, then a large dog is not the best possible choice. You don’t want your dog to develop health issues, get bored, or destroy your things. Large dogs really belong in big places with lots of outdoor space.
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Watch out for the next episode of ‘Jerry and your dog’
About Akinluyi Jerry
Akinluyi Jerry is a young entrepreneur, Animal lover, Dog Consultant and expert, CEO of Jeak’s kennel and securities. A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile ife.