If you own a dog, here are 11 things you should never do to them

By catalysts /

Dogs are man’s best friend—but they also have their own needs and ways of communicating.

Though it’s great when someone decides to adopt and take care of a dog, it’s not always clear what our furry friends want and need from us. Though most dog owners mean well and always try to do best by their animals, some of the behaviors we do without thinking can actually hurt our dogs if we’re not careful.

To avoid making any dog care mistakes, here are 10 things you should never do to your dog.

1. Leave them in a hot car.


Source: flickr.com/Roland Tanglao

Just like little humans, leaving a dog in a car that’s too hot with the windows up is just about the worst thing you could do to them. They dehydrate too easily and the heat will make them panic—if you can’t take them out with you, just leave them at home.

2. Overfeed them.


Source: flickr.com/Rob Simmonds

Anyone who has had a dog knows that they will beg for food whenever they can. Even worse, they sometimes find the food you have hidden and get into it themselves! Still, overfeeding your animal will just plump them up and can even lead to health complications.

3. Neglect their dental hygiene.


Source: flickr.com/Marco Bojocchi

For those who are less knowledgeable about dogs, it’s easy to overlook the health of their teeth. Although doing some home tooth-care of your own periodically is best, taking them to a vet at least once a year is the least you can do to prevent gum disease.

4. Hit them.


Source: flickr.com/sleepycat xue

Like raising children, caring for dogs and other pets can be frustrating. No matter how angry you get, though, you should not hit your dogs. Doing so will only drive a wedge between the two of you. And it might even encourage them to act out later, sometimes out of fear.

5. Use their crate for punishment.


Source: flickr.com/Miss Layla

If you do choose to do crate training for your dog, it’s best to make sure they view their crate as a safe and comfortable place to hang out. By using the crate as a punishment, you undermine that entire system.

6. Make them live on a chain.


Source: flickr.com/mrsapplegate

Dogs are very active animals and they like to be outside. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should leave them indefinitely tied to something while you’re away during the day. Doing this can cause your animals anxiety and make them depressed. Though you can leave them tied for a short amount of time, let them run free in a fenced yard otherwise.

7. Avoid going to the vet.


Source: flickr.com/armymedicine

Let’s face it: none of us are professionals on animal health. That’s why it’s best to just take your dogs in to the vet for regular check-ups to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

8. Pet them on the face from above.

Although we have the tendency to want to pat our dogs on the head and say “good boy,” dogs actually really don’t like being pet from this angle. It frightens them and seems like it could be an attack. Instead, make sure your dog can see you coming—come in from under him and let him get used to your touch.

9. Provide no structure.


Source: flickr.com/Thomas H

Dogs are social animals and behave in accordance with whatever social hierarchy is around them. As such, dogs need to know that you are the leader and that you’ll take care of them. Having no rules and letting things get out of hand will lead to an unruly dog and a chaotic household.

10. Stare at them.


Source: flickr.com/matryosha

Related to structure and dominance, staring directly in a dog’s eyes is often a message of intimidation or anger. If you’re not trying to sternly show your dog who is the boss, don’t stare at them!

11. Take them on boring walks.


Source: flickr.com/Joan Valencia

Above all, dogs need fun and excitement. When they’re on a walk, don’t rein them in so hard! Let them smell the local environment, examine things and have a good time. Their lives will be all the richer for it.

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