Having a dog is one of life’s great joys, but it is also one of life’s great responsibilities. Dog lovers care deeply about the health, happiness, and safety of their furry companions, and they will go to great lengths to ensure those things. Taking care of a dog means paying regular visits to the veterinarian, feeding the dog quality food, walking the dog, brushing and grooming it, and a whole lot more, and dog owners rise happily to these tasks—well, most of the time, anyway.
But regular care and feeding are only a part of the equation. It’s also important to keep your dog safe from the injuries and illnesses that may try to sneak their way past regular vet visits and healthy meals. If you’re going to keep your dog safe and healthy, you’ll need to know about some of the more unusual and unexpected sources of dog-facing dangers. Here’s what you should be looking out for.
Don’t Eat That!
Most dogs love to eat just about anything that they can get their jaws around. Unfortunately, even the smartest dogs seem to lack the capacity to make particularly sound nutritional choices. Dogs will devour things that are downright gross—and, in many cases, dangerous.
That’s why owners need to know which foods and other substances can be poisonous to dogs. It’s not just chocolate that can harm your pal, so make sure that you read through full lists of foods and other substances that will hurt Rover—and be sure to keep an eye on your pet on walks and around the house, lest they try to go for something that shouldn’t be on their menu.
Pests and Pets
Pet owners love having animals in their homes, but their welcoming nature only goes so far. When mice or roaches start showing up inside, you’re going to have a different attitude! Be careful, though, because some steps that you can take to banish pests may also be harmful to your dog. You should work with an expert in residential pest control to make sure that you’re using methods that won’t hurt your pet.
The Wrong Harness or Collar
It may not seem like a big deal to go to the store and buy whatever leash, collar, or harness that they have on sale. It can be tough because some of these products can be inferior—and, in some cases, even dangerous to your pet. Collars are not the best choice for most dogs, experts say. That’s probably no surprise—would you like it if you were dragged around by the neck?—but you shouldn’t assume that all harnesses are equally safe, either. Not all dog harnesses are created equal, explain the experts behind the popular and veterinarian-recommended Joyride Harness. Be sure to get a harness that will help you control your dog without harming him or her.
Dogs love being outside, but this doesn’t mean that you should let them out in all kinds of weather. Be mindful of extreme heat and extreme cold. Dogs can get too hot or too cold in the same way that humans can. They can get dehydrated or come down with heatstroke, too.
Make sure that your pet has access to water and is not outside for long (if at all) in extreme temperatures. Some dogs can also benefit from special summer haircuts from the groomer or special winter dog clothes and boots for the colder months.
Sticks, Fences, and Structures
A fenced-in yard is a great place for your pet to play, but fences themselves can be a dangerous source of splinters and more serious wounds. Dogs don’t have a great sense of self-preservation, and they’ll recklessly jump over pointed fence posts or into wooded thickets where sharp branches may be waiting. Be careful of how you set up your fencing and be sure to watch your dog carefully when he or she is playing near sticks and other potential hazards, be they natural ones or man-made ones like swimming pools.