Unexpected Ways You Could Be Hurting Your Dog or Cat

You love your pets and go above and beyond to spoil them. You may, however, be inadvertently doing more harm than good depending on your chosen methods. Do any of the following apply to you?

Are You Hurting Your Pet? - Nashville TN - 5 Points

  • You feed your pet from the table
  • You’re using the wrong collar or the wrong size collar
  • You don’t take care of your pet’s teeth
  • You leave food out all of the time
  • You let your pet be a couch potato
  • You feed your pet a vegan diet
  • You don’t take your pet to the vet for annual exams
  • You don’t secure your pet when you’re in the car
  • You feed your pet real bones
  • You yell at your pet when he or she does something wrong

If you answered yes to any of the above-listed scenarios, it’s not the end of the world. Your pet, more likely than not, hasn’t been irreparably harmed by it. However, if you continue on this path knowing that you’re harming your pet, things can worsen quickly and you could be at the point of no return in no time.

It’s Time to Eat

Feeding your pets from the table can lead to severe health problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis. There are several people foods—raisins, grapes, onions, cooked bones, chocolate, etc.—that are highly toxic to our pets as well. Pets that are fed table scraps may also start refusing to eat their regular food.

Just as feeding your pets table scraps can be harmful, so too can feeding them a vegan diet. This is especially true in cats, as they are what are referred to as obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat to survive. This is because the protein in animal tissue has a complete amino acid profile; amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Plant proteins don’t contain all the amino acids critical for the health of obligate carnivores. They cannot digest plant-based foods efficiently, nor do plant-based foods provide the nutrients felines require.

Leaving food out all of the time—commonly referred to as free-feeding—can do a tremendous disservice to your pets. This might be what is easiest for your schedule; however, it is the worst for your pet’s health. Pets that are free fed are at high risk for becoming overweight. Who hasn’t snacked when bored, even if you’re not hungry at all? Our pets will do the same thing! Leaving food out all of the time isn’t very sanitary either. The food becomes an invitation for insects, rodents, bacteria, and who knows what else to come into your home.

The Pet Nutrition Alliance is a great resource for learning about what to feed your pet.

Treat Your Pets Right

Allowing your pets to become couch potatoes is along the lines of leaving food out all the time. You’re inviting them to become overweight. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to future health problems for your pets and increased vet bills for you.

Using the wrong collar or the wrong size collar can hurt your dog’s throat. The best way to avoid injury, as far as many breeds are concerned, is to opt for a harness rather than a collar, as it takes some of the pressure off of the dog’s trachea and more evenly distributes the force exerted as a result of your dog pulling too hard or too abruptly.

Not securing your pet while in the vehicle can be dangerous for you and for them. If you were to get into an accident, your pet could be injured very easily. If your pet is loose in the car, they could get excited and distract you in various ways, thereby leading to an accident that could injure both of you.

Yelling at your pet when they do something wrong can be emotionally scarring for them. This can cause irreparable damage to as far as his or her overall health is concerned and can lead to atypical behaviors that could lead to an increased chance of injury.

Not taking care of your pet’s teeth and/or not taking him or her to the vet on an annual basis could greatly increase the chances of illness. This can also result in small issues becoming larger ones due to them not being treated in a timely manner. You wouldn’t skip going to the doctor or brushing your children’s teeth, so why would you avoid these activities for your pets? Visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council for more information about dental health for your pet.

Pet owners mean well. We love our animals as if they were members of our families. We go out of our way—some more so than others—to spoil them when we feel it’s necessary. Unfortunately, the road to ruin is paved with good intentions. We encourage you to avoid these common behaviors, and, instead, spoil your pets with love and attention. Spoil them with annual visits to see us so we can love on them, too. Either way, they’ll be much better off!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Unexpected Ways You Could Be Hurting Your Dog or Cat

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