This story originally appeared at LittleThings.
We love our dogs. There’s no other sensation like coming home to the world’s best dog, and he’s over-the-moon to see you! But in exchange for a lifetime of unconditional love and tail wagging, your pup needs some savvy care.
As smart as dogs are, they don’t always know when something could hurt them. So their human pals need to take their care seriously and watch out for them. Some things are completely harmless to humans, even human children, but could cause serious problems for our dogs.
Everyone makes mistakes, and no creature is as forgiving as a dog, but knowing what to watch out for will help us keep from making mistakes that could cause permanent harm. Here are 10 things that you should never do to your dog:
1. Leave your dog in the car alone
Your dog is at risk alone in the car at any time of year. A dog might be stolen from a car, and a dog can overheat in a car even if temperatures don’t seem that hot, and even if you leave the windows cracked! If your dog can’t join you on your errands, leave him safely at home.
2. Give affection at the wrong times
It’s hard to resist showing affection to that adorable little mug, even when she’s committed a serious doggy crime. But even if a dog looks remorseful, it’s important to not reward bad behavior. Not praising bad behavior will set both of you up for long-term happiness and human-canine harmony.
3. Give them too much food
Fido just loves his treats, but too many could lead to health problems for the same reasons that overeating hurts humans. Special treats should be just that—special. When you’re training and you need to give lots of treats, look for healthy options and consider scaling back your dog’s regular food to keep overall calories about the same.
4. Ignore their teeth
Dogs should have their teeth brushed daily, and poor dental hygiene can lead to diseases and tooth infections. At the minimum, make sure your pup’s teeth are inspected when he gets checkups at the vet.
5. Use the wrong collar
You certainly wouldn’t want to wear something uncomfortable or dangerous around your neck all day, and your dog doesn’t want to either. Dogs with shorter snouts, like pugs, could be injured by collars that only go around the neck, and they should wear a harness for walking on a leash. Check with your vet about which type of collar is safest for your dog.