Harmful Things You Do to Your Dog Without Realizing

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harmful things for dogs

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Are you aware that a lack of routine is super detrimental to dogs? The same goes for negative reinforcement, keeping them in inappropriate living conditions, irregular feeding times, and not pup-proofing your home. Nobody wants to harm their dog, but we all make mistakes without realizing it sometimes. 

Here are a few that you might have made that are actually harmful to your dog…

1: Total Isolation

harmful things for dogs - isolation

If you leave your dog completely alone for long periods of time, you’re harming them. Dogs don’t cope well in isolation. They’re highly sociable creatures, which means they need company in order to thrive. It’s just as important as food, water, bedding, toys, and other creature comforts you might offer your furry friend. 

If you work all day, consider having friends, family members, and dog-sitters or walkers drop in on your pet and make sure their needs are attended to. You could also consider a camera to watch your dog, too. Many models offer two-way audio, treat dispensing, and even laser toys, all of which you can use to amuse and entertain your pooch from afar. 


2: Not Monitoring for Symptoms

If you’re not on the ball when it comes to your pet’s care, there’s a good chance you’ll miss early symptoms of common (or not) canine medical conditions. These symptoms include: 

  • Excessive scratching
  • Licking or biting at skin or fur
  • Not eating or drinking as usual
  • Being more fatigued than usual

You, as a pup-parent, should know what’s ‘normal’ for your pet, such as how much they eat, exercise, run around like a little furry maniac, etc. Monitoring your pet with technology such as cameras, regulated food dispensers, and GPS tech will ensure you catch any problems before they become really problematic. [irp posts=”44124″ ]


3: Too Little Enrichment and Stimulation

If someone took away your phone, laptop, tablet, games consoles, PC, and board games, leaving you with just one book, how long do you think it would take before you went a little bonkers? 

Can you imagine how your dog feels, left alone all day with just a window, a chew toy, and a deflated tennis ball for enrichment? 

Dogs are much more intelligent than humans believe. In fact, the American Psychological Association says that dogs have a similar level of intelligence as a toddler aged 2 to 2.5 years of age. Imagine leaving a toddler all day with just a window, a chew toy, and a deflated tennis ball for enrichment… 

Spoiler alert: It ends with utter devastation. 


4: Skipping Annual Vet Checks

annual vet check for dogs

Annual vet checks are just that: checks. Your vet will check if your pampered pooch is healthy, not suffering from any medical conditions, and is appropriately protected against parasites, fleas, ticks, mites, worms, etc. 

Vets use physical body examinations, blood tests, and weight-height measurements to ensure your pet isn’t under or overweight. According to vet Dr. Carol Osborne speaking to American Kennel Club, a dog’s life expectancy reduces by one-third if they’re just ten percent overweight. 


5: Not Giving Enough Walk Time

Different breeds need different walking regimes, but it’s important to provide the recommended amount of walking and/or exercise for your pet. According to The Spruce Pets, athletic and medium-to-large breeds require one to two hours of walking per day, split into morning and afternoon/evening. 

Skipping the walk leads to overweight, unhappy, and bored four-legged friends. And, as everyone knows, bored pooches are destructive and snappy ones. [irp posts=”15003″ ]


6: Stopping Them Barking

Dogs are dogs. They bark. If you get a dog, you should expect them to bark from time to time. You can’t wish for your pet to guard your home and then act surprised when they bark at the doorbell. 

You should train your dog not to bark excessively, but you can’t expect them to stay silent forever. If you’re thinking of getting a dog but don’t want to deal with a normal aspect of dog ownership, you should probably rethink. 

It is cruel and unrealistic to expect a dog not to bark. 


7: Feeding Dogs Human Treats

stop feeding dogs human treats

Would you eat dog food? I’m guessing the answer is no, right? Dog food isn’t for human consumption, and human food isn’t for canine consumption, either. 

The odd little treat is okay from time to time, providing the treat isn’t toxic (such as chocolate), but dogs need a complete dog food type. At the very least, they should eat dog-safe foods. 

Many human foods are deadly to dogs, including chocolate, avocado, onions, Xylitol, macadamia nuts, and more. Eating just a small amount can induce a pet emergency. At times, human food is fatal for canines. [irp posts=”45654″ ]


8: Spraying Perfume Around Dogs

Strong smells are a big no-no when it comes to dogs. Experts believe that our canine companions can smell up to 10,000 times more than we can, so what’s strong-smelling for us is mind-blowingly strong to them. 

Dogs use their sense of smell for everything – learning about the world around them, determining friends from foes, working out what to eat and where it is, and much more. Spraying perfumes, strong cleaning products, and air freshener sprays overpower poor pups. It can disorientate them, cause nausea and vomiting, and even cause behavioral problems. 



We all want to be the best pet parents, but please don’t berate yourself too much if you’ve made some of these common canine mistakes. We can’t know everything about everything, and pet ownership is a learning process all its own. 

Every day is a learning day, after all – for us and for our furry friends! 

  • Valeria Litovchenko

    Valeria is a pet lover, dog parent, and marketing manager at the Petcube company. She is responsible for the website's online promotion and communication. She likes horse riding, learning languages, and traveling.

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