Most dog owners worry about their pets.
How do I keep them from harm?
What steps should I take to minimize potential issues?
How do I keep my dog healthy?
There is so much information out there; however, it can be difficult to know what advice to follow.
With this in mind, we've created this helpful list of 15 ways to keep your dog safe and healthy, so that you can cut down the research time and focus on taking care of your best friend.
Depending on your location, your dog may be legally required to wear a collar. There are a number of reasons for this, and all of them are important:
Some breeds are more sensitive to the heat than others, but if any dog cannot regulate its temperature it can become disorientated and even pass out. If the weather is particularly hot, ensure that your dog gets plenty of shade and water.
If he or she seems to be panting badly, take him/her into the shade to catch their breath. There are also pet sun blocks available on the market which can protect against sunburn, as a dog's coat will not reflect all harmless rays from the sun.
This is a no brainer, and while it might cost a little, having your dog chipped will keep them safe and give you real piece of mind. It's a fairly simple process and one which is relatively painless for the animal.
With a tiny microchip placed under the skin, anyone who finds your dog can have him/her scanned by a vet, and your contact details will then be presented. Proof of ownership is an important thing, even more so when a beautiful dog is a prime target for a thief.
We've already mentioned that your dog can overheat easily, and this is especially true when it comes to being left in a car unattended. Even on cooler days, a car can act as a greenhouse as the sun's rays pierce the windows heating up anything inside. If you must leave your dog unattended in your car, you have to leave a window open, but ideally you shouldn't leave your dog in a car at all.
Leash control is a key component of dog ownership. This doesn't mean that your dog should always be on a leash, but it is about choosing the right time to keep them on their leash.
More than this, it's a way to keep your dog safe and show him or her that you are in charge – dogs are amazing animals, but if they believe they're the boss, you could be in for a difficult battles of wills.
Some dogs have better road sense than others, but even those which are trained to stick to a pavement can randomly walk onto a busy street and be hit by a car.
A leash minimizes this issue, and will also allow you to keep your dog away from broken glass on the ground or from other dogs who are less than friendly.
Sure, some breeds such as retrievers love the water and have even been bred to be good swimmers, complete with webbed toes! But no matter how strong a swimmer your dog is, you still need to be vigilant. Fast moving water is a definite no-go.
A river can sweep away even the strongest – dog or human. But even when the water is still, there can be reeds or underwater currents which can pull an animal down into the depths. Try to use good judgement.
If other dogs are happily playing and the water isn't too deep, then it could be okay, but always keep in mind how dangerous such things can be. Respect the water, and it will respect you.
By training your dog with voice commands, you can better control him/her, especially in difficult situations.
Some dogs are prone to wander away when they are off their leashes, but by training them to return to their owners via a command, they can be kept safe by being warded away from dangerous or difficult circumstances.
If your dog does ever wander out of sight, by shouting a command your pet should come running back to you if properly trained.
Check out FernDogTraining for great information on training your dog.
Your dog will be susceptible to parasites and other nasty bugs such as fleas. These can make your pet's and your life miserable. In the worst case scenario they can seriously affect the health of your dog, so keeping bugs at bay should be a priority.
Your first port of call should be a vet. He or she will identify any issues and provide various solutions. Second of all, you should take preventative steps. Ensuring your animal is clean and bathed regularly will help, and purchasing pet-friendly insect repellant will also contribute to warding off these tiny critters.
Look at those big brown (or blue) eyes. It's hard to resist your dog when he or she is sitting at your feet as you eat your dinner, but human food is not fit for dogs! In fact, by giving in and feeding your pet inappropriate foods, you can seriously impact their health.
Human food can cause obesity which increases the chances of your dog developing a range of debilitating illnesses including heart disease, joint pain, diabetes and pancreatitis.
Keep your pet healthy by feeding him or her food specifically formulated for canines.
Dogs are expert jumpers, diggers, and all round escape artists. It's great if you have a garden for your dog to play in, but you still have to take precautions that they don't do a Steve McQueen and commit a great escape.
To stop this from happening ensure that your garden is fenced off correctly and that your dog cannot easily jump out of the garden or over a gate.
Speaking of gardens, there are a number of common plants which are actually toxic to dogs, so ensure that your garden doesn't contain them. Lilies and Azaleas can be especially dangerous if ingested by your pet and should be removed if present.
Whenever you add a new plant to your garden, always research its toxicity with regards to pets, just to be on the safe side.
Just like children, dogs are curious and smart enough to get into all sorts of places – this includes garages and under sinks where you store harmful cleaning products. Ensure that all cleaning products, chemicals and weed killers are securely stored.
Put them somewhere high up out of reach so that your dog doesn't decide to eat them should he or she find their way into that part of your home. Furthermore, don't leave polish or other dangerous products lying around when cleaning, all it takes is one second and it can be wolfed down, if you pardon the pun.
Dogs are thinking, feeling creatures and have many of the same psychological frailties humans do. No one likes being startled, it makes us nervous and perhaps even defensive.
The same is true for dogs. Always be wary of anything which could startle or shock your pet. Ensure that your dog is aware of the people and animals nearby.
A fright can easily cause a bite reflex even with a usually docile dog. Also, loud noises such as fireworks can cause a dog to run for safety, so be sure that you are aware of this and have your canine pal on their leash in such situations.
Ensure that your dog gets regular visits to a vet and has had all his/her shots. This will decrease the chance of he/she falling ill, protecting their health in both the short and long terms.
More than anything, you need to know your dog. As its owner you should learn what your pet likes and dislikes, what makes it nervous and what makes it happy.
By knowing your dog you can take it into situations it is comfortable with, while monitoring its behavior for any signs of health or psychological problems. In the end the ultimate responsibility for your dogs health and behavior lies with you – as does its safety!