Let’s speak honestly about being dog parents. Namely, the common mistakes we make whether we know we are doing it or not; they are the well-meaning mistakes that can cause our dogs health issues or psychological problems later on. But, whether you are already a pet parent, a parent to be or are thinking about adopting a new furry family member, practicing dog mindfulness will do wonders for the relationship you and your dogs share.

Every day is a learning experience filled with good and bad and there will always be room for improvement to your pet parenting skills. Taking things one step at a time is key to you changing for the better to provide your fur babies with the quality of life they truly deserve. Maybe you had an eye-opener a long time ago and have already made the necessary changes —that’s great! For others, remember just because you have done one or more of these well-meaning mistakes, it doesn’t mean you are a bad dog parent…it means you’re human!

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1. Adopting Spur of the Moment

Never cared for a dog before? Already have five? Did your dog recently pass away?

Rushing off to adopt a shelter dog without doing your research or because you are sad for the loss of a cherished pet is not a good idea. As a new potential dog parent, you must know if a certain dog is the right fit and have done research on what caring for a dog entails, from feeding responsibilities to providing pet health care.

If you already have a dog at home, be positive you have the time and resources for another. If your heart is aching from the death of a dog, don’t prematurely adopt to fill the void as the new guy is not meant to replace the other. You need to work on overcoming the sadness and grief before dedicating to a new dog.

2. Playing Favorites

One of the worst things you can do when you have multiple dogs is to play favorites. Whether aware or not, this is a common mistake many dog parents make which can lead to dogs fighting or one feeling unloved. Dogs enjoy routine and will become distressed, visibly concerned when they are not getting the attention they are used to. This can happen when everyone’s attention is mostly focused on the new dog brought into the mix.

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Did you know studies have shown that dogs can sense unfairness and favoritism? Don’t make your dog feel bewildered!

3. Skipping on Exercise

While this will vary differently based on breed and age, all dogs need some form of daily exercise. Dogs have an abundance of energy that needs to be let out so they don’t become bored, nervous or start to decline in health. You might say your dog is more of a couch potato who doesn’t want to go on walks, but it’s almost guaranteed they will “come to life” when they see the leash!

Aim for 40 to 60 minutes per day of physical activity to not only maintain a healthy doggie weight, but to look at this as a time to also bond and for basic behavior training.

4. Ignoring Dental Hygiene

Oral pet care is crucial to having a healthy dog. Bad breath, gingivitis and periodontitis are just a few common dental problems found in dogs and if an oral disease is left untreated for too long, it can cause other health issues that can affect your dog’s heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. To help maintain a healthy dog mouth, brush their teeth a few times a week with a dog approved toothpaste, inspect the inside of the mouth for signs of disease, give dental chews, clean dog toys often, give raw watery fruits and vegetables, frequently clean food and water bowls, and provide fresh water everyday.

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5. Leaving a Dog at Home too Long

Dogs are social animals and crave physical and mental engagement, so leaving him home alone for eight hours is not good. Since dogs need companionship, leaving them by themselves can lead to separation anxiety and the possibility of destructive behaviors. Can’t bring your dog to work? Will be gone for more than eight hours? Consider asking someone to drop by to check on them or hire a pet sitter.

There are indeed more well-meaning mistakes than these five. Great or small mistakes, there’s always room for improvement to be the best pet parent you can be!

Image source: emdot/Flickr

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