25 Ways You’re Hurting Dog Without Realizing – Smart Dog Mom

Most dog owners love their pets and wouldn’t want them to be hurt for all the money in the world. However, it is possible that they could be hurting their dogs without realizing it.

25 Harmful Things You Do to Your Dog Without Realizing

25 Ways You’re Hurting Your Dog Without Realizing

Here are 25 ways you’re hurting your dog without realizing it. These are:

1. Utilizing collars that can shock, poke or choke your dog

Some dog owners may think they need to take certain actions if they want to control their dogs, but don’t take into consideration that those items hurt their pets.

Collars that hurt dogs include shock collars that produce horrible jolts of electricity to the dog’s neck, prong collars full of pointy attachments that poke and hurt the dog’s neck, as well as chock collars that can actually damage their spinal cord!

It’s better to use a harness to control your dog as they don’t squeeze the neck and the dog is less likely to be able to get out of it as well. So if you don’t want your dog to be choked or have spine injuries, then don’t use these types of collars.

2. Crating the dog and ignoring it

Although crating can be used for good purposes such as helping to potty train a dog, it can also be used just to put them away from you. Dogs want to be with their people and hate to be separated from you. No living thing likes isolation.

Dogs are a pack animal so need your company. So, don’t leave a dog in a crate for long periods of time. Imagine if there was a fire at your house? The dog would die since it can’t escape the crate.

3. Bullying your dog

Some owners don’t treat their dogs very well and even slap hit or swat them and push them away as if they are an annoyance.

This hurts their body and their mental feelings too. It teaches the dog not to trust you, and do you want that? If you think your dog is annoyance, maybe you shouldn’t even own a pet.

Think about how you would feel if someone you loved or trusted kept pushing you away, slapping you, etc?

Put yourself in your dog’s place. Only use positive reinforcement type punishments, not physical things like these tactics.

4. Scarcity of things to do

Dogs need more than food and water to be happy and healthy. They also need things to do so they won’t be bored or lonely. You need to be able to take them on walks, play with them, and spend time with them.

They are not toys you can take out when you want and put them away when you are done. Be sure to have lots of activities for your dog like toys, chew bones, or puzzles for treats like Kong toys you fill with peanut butter.

5. Not socializing your dog the right way

You have to socialize your dog if you want it to be a good citizen and to get along with other dogs, people, etc. It should be a top priority in your dog’s life. It not only makes them more pleasant to be around, it additionally helps to improve their mental well-being.

They will be less stressed in unfamiliar situations. This is best done when the dog is a puppy in the first few months of their life. That is when they can imprint on things and situations and learn that most people are good, etc.

6. Yelling at your dog

Another bad type of punishment tactic is yelling at your dog. It affects their mental well-being and stresses them, which makes them put out too much cortisol, a stress hormone.

If you always yell at the dog for things that are natural to dogs like barking as the dog could be trying to tell you something important like there is an intruder or that they are in pain or sick.

Instead, speak nicely to your dog and try to learn how their personality works. You need to learn your dog’s language and let him know he can trust you as a friend as well as a master.

7. Feeding your dog people food

It may not sound like it, but feeding your dog people food can be abused if you do it to the extreme. Dogs need specific vitamins and minerals provided in commercial dog foods, and people’s food has too much sugar, fat, etc.

And some foods like grapes or onions can actually kill your dog because they affect red blood cells in a negative way. Other bad foods for dogs are alcohol, garlic, chocolate, and avocadoes.

Related Post: 10 Awesome Benefits of Hand Feeding Your Dog

8. Not disciplining your dog

All dogs need some form of discipline via proper training so they become good pets and will obey instructions, not destroy household items, be good around children and other pets, etc.

Good discipline also keeps your dog safe from dangers like not running into the road or not eating food on the ground or given to them by strangers. Be sure to start proper training from puppyhood for the best results.

9. Not taking care of your dog’s teeth

Dogs need good oral hygiene just like people do. If your dog’s mouth stinks it could be due to bad dental health. It can cause the dog pain from rotted teeth or inflammation.

It can eventually lead to kidney disease or heart issues due to teeth infections. So, you should be sure to start getting your dog used to having their teeth brushed as well as give them good things to eat for their teeth like dog biscuits.

10. Leaving a dog in a hot vehicle

No one should leave a dog or a small child (or anyone else creature or human) in a hot car. The shade won’t protect them as the car’s temperatures are much higher than the outside temperatures. 

Plus, dogs can’t even sweat, that’s why they pant when they get hot. Even if you leave a window open the inside gets intolerably hot and your dog could overheat and die.

11. Not providing stimulation for your dog

Dogs need proper stimulation to be healthy and happy. They need long walks, being able to smell and see lots of different things so their brain gets proper encouragement to learn new things.

If your dog isn’t properly stimulated it may get bored and start tearing up things around the house or doing self-harm like excessive licking or grooming themselves too much.

12. Bringing small puppies to a dog park

Dog parks are great places for dogs to have fun and interact with other dogs, but if you have a small puppy they shouldn’t go to a dog park for many reasons.

Firstly, their immune system isn’t fully developed and they could get exposed to germs and diseases. Plus, bigger dogs may hurt puppies either on purpose or accidentally.

So, if you want your puppy to meet other dogs, just arrange a puppy playdate with friends who have dogs the same age.

13. Leaving things out which could hurt a dog

If you leave your dog loose in the house when you aren’t there, you always need to remove potential harmful things like sharp objects, medication, batteries, small toys, etc. that the dog might eat or swallow.

Dogs need proper supervision and you can’t just expect them not to be curious or play with inappropriate objects, which could kill them. Instead, either put the dog into a kennel or lock them in a room with no bad objects in it, or at least make sure nothing is left out that can hurt your pup.

14. Not treating the dog for fleas and ticks and heartworm

Fleas and ticks and heartworms can make a dog miserable or even spread diseases that can kill them. If you don’t treat your dog with flea and tick prevention, that’s a way of harming them and causing them pain or sickness.

It doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside or hot outside, these pests can get on your dog and can even infest your home! So be sure to talk to your veterinarian and get proper flea and tick and heartworm prevention medications for your dog.

15. Not making sure your dog is secure when riding in a car

If you have a child you of course always put them in a car seat or make sure their seatbelts are fastened to keep them safe in a car.

You actually need to do the same with a dog. They make special seatbelts for dogs, so you need to fasten them in with these or put them in a kennel and make sure the kennel is fastened down in your car so your dog stays safe in case of a crash.

16. Not reading food labels

Dogs need proper nutrients to be healthy and happy. They shouldn’t just eat table scraps as they could have ingredients that harm dogs, as we have mentioned previously. But you also need to read the labels of commercial dog food and make sure it is not just full of fillers and has little food value.

Talk to your veterinarian about what food your dog should be eating, as dogs need different nutrients at different stages of their life, i.e. puppies need food meant for puppies as it has more vitamins and minerals for their growth.

15. Not paying attention to specific breed issues

Dogs may all seem alike in many ways, but certain breeds are more prone to some kinds of diseases and problems. For instance, some spaniels and other breeds could be prone to hip dysplasia and some other breeds have eye issues, etc.

Talk to your veterinarian about the special issues your breed of dog might face so you can prevent them from harming your pet.

16. Not providing enough exercise for your dog

 Dogs need lots of exercise. It is a huge issue for dog owners. Not doing this affects your dog’s health, so it harms him if you don’t provide enough exercise.

If you can’t provide this due to a disability, etc., then you should get another person to do it or don’t own a dog. Your pup needs lots of long walks as well as you play with them in the yard.

17. Taking your dog’s toys or food from them

Some owners use this as a form of punishment so the dog thinks they are the boss and alpha of the pack. But this will merely make the dog guard any food or toys they get in the future, which could result in someone getting bitten.

Dogs only know you took it away and they are still hungry or bored. It doesn’t teach them anything except they can’t trust you. Would you like it if someone denied you food or your phone? Well, it is the same for a dog and their food and toys.

18. Leaving your dog outside in bad weather

 Dogs have feelings just like humans. If it is extremely hot or cold outside you shouldn’t leave a dog out in that kind of weather.

Dogs are pack animals and want to be inside with you. If you just leave them until you want them, then why have a dog at all? Keep them inside with you and train them to be good pets and have good inside manners.

19. Not taking your dog to veterinarian for yearly checkups

You should take your dog to the vet once a year for a checkup, annual shots, etc. Especially if they are senior dogs, they need this checkup so they live a long time.

When your dog is a puppy they need to go more than once a year since they require a series of shots and boosters, but after a  year old you can do it annually or of course if they seem sick or are hurt. It is just like your own annual checkup!

20. Leaving a dog alone for many hours at a time

If you own a dog and also have a full-time job, you may end up leaving it for 8 to 10 hours a day. That is way too long to expect the dog to hold going to the bathroom,  let alone for them to be without stimulation or things to do.

Related Post:  How to Leave a Dog Alone for 12 Hours

They have feelings and get lonely. Why have a pet if you treat it like a toy you can just play with a couple hours and forget it? You should at least get someone to go a couple times a day to let the dog go to the bathroom and to spend some time with it.

21. Teasing your dog

Teasing is a horrible thing to do to anyone, let alone someone who is supposed to be man’s best friend. If you tease your dog you are only going to make it learn to be mean and never trust humans.

Instead, be respectful and nice to your dog and teach it good manners and it will be your loyal companion for many good years to come.

22. Inappropriate potty training hurts your dog

If you do things like hit, yell, or rub your dog’s nose in a potty accident, then you are harming your dog both mentally and physically. Dogs want to please and some may take longer than others to learn to go potty outside.

Instead, use positive reinforcement like giving a treat and praising them when they make it outdoors. If they have an accident just clean it up and be more watchful next time. For instance, puppies usually need to go right after eating or waking up.

23.  Only paying attention to your dog’s mistakes

If you never reward your dog for doing good and only yell or punish it for having some sort of mistake or bad behavior, your dog won’t ever learn to trust or love you.

You should use positive reinforcement and always give a treat or pat on the head or say good dog when your dog does something you won’t like going to potty outside, not chewing up things, not jumping on you, etc.

24. Stopping normal dog behavior like digging or barking

Yes, no one likes it when a dog barks all the time or digs up your yard. However, these are normal dog behaviors. Instead, provide ways for them to do these things that won’t drive you nuts.

For instance, provide a sandbox for them to dig to their heart’s content. Plus train your dog to only bark if it is something important like an intruder or that they are in pain and need you.

Related Post: Do Dogs Get Tired of Barking? (How To Stop Crazy Barking)

25. Not doggy proofing your home

Just like with babies, you need to doggy proof your home, especially with puppies. Do things like block off areas that are off limits, put up a baby gate to block rooms off or block the stairs.

Cover up things like electric cords so they won’t chew them and put plugs in electric sockets so they can’t stick a paw or nose in them. These are just a few ways to make your home safe for your pet.

Final Thoughts

All in all these 25 things are not the only ways you could be harming your dog without knowing it, so be good to your dog and treat them like you would want to be treated so they stay healthy and happy for a long time.

Recommended Articles:

Sharing is caring!

Dog trainer, Author & Life coach at SmartDogMom.com

Leave a Comment