We love our dogs and will do as much as we can to make sure they stay happy, healthy and energetic. Here are some small and common mistakes pet owners are making that cause serious health problems:
- Not looking after their teeth
Dogs use their teeth more than we do. A lot of the time they take the place of hands and perform plenty of tasks besides chomping down food, like grooming themselves and carrying things around.
Not taking care of your dog’s teeth doesn’t just cause smelly breath. Over time, gunk and bacteria builds up in the gums and the immune system begins to attack the teeth. This leads to a breakdown of tissue, inflammation and eventually tooth loss.
Dental disease also causes big problems outside the mouth, and has been linked to heart disease in dogs. This is said to occur when bacteria works its way into the blood stream and into the heart, causing serious damage.
Despite the risk, if you’re not cleaning your dog’s teeth regularly, you’re in the majority – four in five dogs over the age of five are experiencing some form of dental decay, according to The Pet Health Network.
How do I prevent dental disease?
Making sure your dog gets good quality food, regular oral exams, daily tooth brushes and isn’t chewing questionable bones or toys can help ward off tooth decay and dental disease.
- Attaching a leash at the neck
The neck is a sensitive region in dogs, just as it is for us humans. It contains all kinds of glands, veins and delicate spinal columns.
Putting force on a dog’s neck can cause serious, long-term damage – whether this occurs as a result of a sudden trauma, or ongoing strain over the years.
If you walk your dog regularly, the odds are that you have probably had to pull the leash hard to stop them running into the street or jumping on somebody walking by. Even the most well trained dogs may lunge out suddenly if they’re excited.
Here are some problems linked to attaching a leash to your dog’s neck:
- Neck injuries
Different levels of damage can develop depending on the strength of impact on the dog’s neck – from whiplash to fractured vertebrae, slipped disks and even a crushed voice box.
- Thyroid damage
Some studies have found that trauma to a dog’s neck can damage to the thyroid glands, which found beneath the chin. This can cause all kinds of issues – from immune system dysfunction to tiredness, weight gain and even organ failure.
- Other issues
Veterinary studies have also linked leash-to-collar wear with ear and eye issues and even problems of the nervous system.
How do I prevent these problems?
Limit leash-to-collar use as much as possible and use a harness instead. By spreading the strain throughout the body, harnesses have been proven to reduce the impact and damage to your dog’s body.
We love our dogs, and we want them to be happy. Seeing their eyes light up and their tail wagging when we give them a tasty treat is enough gratification for us to keep feeding them more and more.
Yet overfeeding leads to obesity, which is a lot more serious then a big tummy and a slow run. It puts a strain on almost all the organs inside a dog’s body and can lead to the following complications:
- Damage to ligaments, joints and bones
- Heat intolerance
- Difficulty breathing
- Stomach issues
- Liver problems
- Heart disease
- Increased risk of cancer.
How do I prevent these problems?
Ask your vet for information about what your food your dog should be eating and how much of it. Always take a look at the recommended feeding guide on your dog food label if you switch over to a new brand. Weigh your dog regularly and monitor any weight gain. If your dog does gain weight, see your vet about possible dietary changes.
If you think your dog has any of the problems in this article consult your vet for help.