There is nothing more rewarding than adopting a dog. But just like a child, having a pet comes with a large set of responsibilities. It's your job to keep your dog safe, but we don't always know what that looks like.
Here are several things that can provide your dog with a safe, long, healthy life.
- Keep Clear Of Outdoor Water Sources
While water may be a fun activity for dogs, it's important to protect your dog if you live near a water source. Pond aerators and filtration systems may offer a way to promote healthy aquatic life, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's safe for dogs.
Blue-green algae and other harmful pathogens can be microscopic, unable to be seen by the common eye. Other water sources such as lakes or rivers could also be harmful depending on the wildlife nearby.
Talk to your veterinarian about vaccination against leptospirosis which can be suitable for anyone who lets their dog roam outdoors.
- Know What Foods Dogs Can't Eat
Many people like to reward their dog with a treat from the kitchen table. However, several foods can be incredibly dangerous, if not deadly, for dogs to ingest.
Make a list of the foods for your canine to avoid and keep it on your refrigerator. These types of foods include, but are not limited to:
- Macadamia nuts
- Don't Forget Grain
There is a big debate as to whether you should feed your dog food grain. While there are some benefits of dog food without wheat or soy, grain is a necessary part of a balanced doggy diet.
Dogs need to have a form of carbohydrates for energy. But many grain-free alternatives end up having alternative carbohydrates that can cause unnecessary weight gain.
It's important to speak with your vet about their dietary needs first.
- Heartworm, Flea, and Tick Monthly Care
Three of the main parasites that vets recommend treating regularly with preventative medication for dogs are heartworms, fleas, and ticks.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos who transfer the heartworms from one infected dog to one that is noninfected. It can be incredibly dangerous, leading to severe heart and lung issues.
Aside from being obnoxious, fleas and ticks can cause various infections and other illnesses including Lyme disease. There are prescription medications you can get from your veterinarian. It's also important to do a thorough check of your dog's fur after they've been outside.
- Get Socializing
Sometimes keeping your dog safe means looking out for the safety of others. Dogs need to learn how to socialize with other dogs and people.
If they become too frightened or don't have experience with other dogs, it can lead to aggressive behavior and may result in biting. Signs of aggression might mean it could be worth taking them to a training class to help them adapt.
- Register Your Dog's Microchip
According to the American Humane Society, more than 10 million dogs get lost every single year. This is why it's important to make sure your dog is microchipped.
Many rescue dogs will already have a microchip when you adopt them. However, most people don't remember to register the microchip once they've brought them home.
In the case that your dog becomes lost, a registered microchip will help to locate your dog if someone finds them.
- Pay Attention To The Weather
Dogs are susceptible to extreme temperatures just like humans. You never want to leave them in the car on a hot day or keep them outside when it's far too cold.
As a dog owner, it's important to pay attention to the weather. Avoid bringing your dog to extremely warm places for an extended period of time.
The important thing to remember with dogs is that they don't sweat. To regulate their body temperature, they do it through urinating or drooling. However, if their body can't keep up, it can lead to potential heat strokes.
- Have Safe Trash Cans In The House
When dogs get bored, they tend to act out. One of the first places they tend to stick their noses is in trash cans. The smell of old coffee grinds or the temptation of playing with plastic pieces can be incredibly dangerous for a dog.
Make sure to buy trash cans that have sealed lids. These can be the type with a foot pedal or a motion sensor near the lid that requires it to open. You can find these types in various sizes for the bathroom, office, kitchen, or any other room of the house.
- Keep Electric Cords In A Safe Location
New puppies love to chew on everything. Books, shoes, and even electrical cords. You may not realize it, but a puppy that chews on an electric cord could result in electrocution. A great way to avoid this is to hide the cords.
String them underneath furniture or use tape to adhere them to the wall. Cords that hang behind a computer desk can easily be lifted from the ground with the use of a cable management box. These are screwed underneath the desk so they're hidden from your dog.
- Always Wear A Collar
A lot of dog owners allow their dogs to roam around the house without a collar on. But then the unfortunate event comes around that the dog escapes due to the back door being left open or they sneak through the gate.
Your dog should wear a collar at all times. If they're lost without a collar, they're considered homeless. Your dog may be turned into animal control or sent to a shelter. While a microchip can be helpful, it can only be read when taken to a shelter or vet.
Include the dog's name and your phone number. This way, anyone who finds them will be able to immediately get in contact with you before having to get in touch with authorities.
Keeping your dog safe isn't just about keeping their noses out of the garbage, although that's incredibly important, too. It's also knowing what could be considered hazardous to your dog such as water sources, routine medications, and even teaching good socialization skills.
If you're still worried about knowing the proper ways to keep your dog safe, talk to your vet or work with a professional dog trainer to help.