Skipping the annual vet check-up
Dogs are masters of disguise; when they are ill they will rarely show any sign or symptom. This is an evolutionary protection mechanism - weaker animals are vulnerable to attack so disguising illness or injury makes sense. This means that by the time you notice signs of illness your dog might have been ill for some time. Annual vet check- ups allow you to catch diseases much earlier. Older dogs should see their vet every 6 months.
Choosing the wrong pet food
Your dog is unique and his or her ideal diet is very much an individual matter based on breed, age, activity level and health status. What is great for my dog might make your dog horribly fat, aggravate allergies or cause pancreatitis. As well-meaning as they may be, the shop assistant at the pet food store or the helpful person on the dog forum don’t know your dog’s medical and diet history. Diet plays a key role in your pet’s health, so make sure to include your vet or a qualified nutritionist in diet decisions.
Not making exercise a priority
Dogs need daily exercise for optimal health. The actual amount can vary greatly depending on your dog’s age, breed and health status. A basic rule of thumb is that all dogs should receive at least 60 – 90 minutes of physical activity per day to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted.
Not getting insurance
Puppy owners often ask me “Is pet insurance worth it?” The simple answer is ‘Yes’. Having pet insurance could quite literally be a lifesaver. Shop around for the best deal and be sure to read the fine print.
If you find yourself making excuses for your dog such as he’s ‘big-boned’ you need to stop - he’s fat! This is a very sensitive subject for most dog owners. Unfortunately there is no way around it − if your dog is overweight you need to take action. If you don’t your dog will soon become sick so if you can’t see your dog’s waistline it’s time to start a diet and exercise program.