When you have a dog, you want to make sure to do everything you can so that he has a long, healthy and happy life. Making sure your dog has the best food is part of keeping him healthy. There’s often a debate on whether dog food or human food is good for your best friend. There are human foods that are not good for your dog. But some are. According to the article, “12 Healthiest Human Foods for Dogs,” at Cosmic Pet, “many human foods are perfectly safe and even healthy for dogs to eat as an occasional treat.” It’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian first. According to the article, some of these foods are: • Peanut butter in moderation • Carrots, both raw and cooked • Cheese, as long as your dog is not lactose intolerant • Plain yogurt without artificial sweeteners and added flavors • Blueberries • Plain chicken • Salmon, but not raw According to the article, “Nutrition – General Feeding Guidelines for Dogs” at VCA Animal Hospitals, “Because of the dietary needs of dogs, both their tooth structure and intestinal tract have become adapted to an omnivorous diet.” Dogs can have a diet that is a mix of plant and animal foods. “The source of the proteins and fats is less important than the quality and digestibility of these essential components of the dog’s diet,” the VCA Animal Hospitals article said. As part of a dog’s diet, there are certain requirements including six basic nutrients that are “water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins,” the article said. Regarding dog food, make sure it’s the highest quality food that you can find and afford. Also, speak with your veterinarian for advice about good dog food. A good food should include “real, recognizable, whole-food ingredients,” the VCA Animal Hospitals article said.
Many people use retractable leashes on their dogs, but there is some controversy over them. Some people believe their dogs have more freedom with a retractable leash and that the leash offers convenience, but there can be a lot of dangerous issues as well. Many dog trainers refuse to have them in training classes, according to the article, “Are Retractable Leashes Good or Bad?” at Preventive Vet. “Retractable leashes are not ideal for safe and effective leash handling by the human,” the article said. “And leash handling skills are crucial for safety, effective loose leash walking training, or other issues like leash reactivity.” Retractable leashes are bulky in the handle and area for the cord. The leashes can also cause injuries, the article said. Injuries include: • Cuts and burns on fingers and legs • Amputation of fingers on humans • Facial and eye injuries • Shoulder or neck injuries to dogs There are some serious dangers that retractable leashes can cause dogs. According to the article, “Retractable Leashes: Dangerous And Deadly For Dogs And Humans” at DogTime, “When the leash runs out of line, there is a sudden jerk on the animal’s neck that may cause neck wounds or burns, lacerated tacheas, or spinal injury.” There have also been instances where dogs have been hit by cars when running off but still attached to their leash. “There have been cases of dogs getting twisted in the cord and having a tail or leg amputated by the deep cut made when the cord retracts,” the DogTime article said. The retractable leash will teach a dog to pull. Dogs learn fast “that pulling extends the lead,” the DogTime article said. “Dogs should learn to walk politely on a regular leash and stay close enough to their humans to be safe.”
People take their dogs to dog parks and let them run free with other dogs, many of whom are strangers. While parks can be great for dogs, it’s the dog park that can be negative. According to the article, “The pros and cons of dog parks: Are they safe?” at Vetster, there are good and bad to dog parks. The pros include: • Your dog can learn and practice social skills • Great exercise for your dogs • Mental stimulation The cons include: • Spread of disease or parasites • Dog fights • Injuries When it comes to cons and the spread of disease, it can happen anywhere but especially when dogs come together in an open setting. Some of the contagious diseases that can spread at a dog park and are spread from dog to dog through air or feces include: • Canine distemper • Kennel cough • Canine influenza • Parvovirus Additionally, there are internal and external parasites that can spread including worms, giardia, fleas, and ticks. A monthly treatment plan can prevent many of these parasites. While fights and injuries can happen at your local dog park, there are concerns that a large dog will play rough with a small dog. If your dog is one who doesn’t like being around multiple others, a dog park is most likely not for your dog. According to the article, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Parks” at Pet Health Network, start by ensuring “your dog is at least 4 months old and current on all vaccinations.” Other important do’s and don’ts include: • See the other dogs before you enter. • Watch your dog at all times. • Your dog should be under your voice control so that he comes when called. • Read your dog’s body language. • It’s best to leave if you see people who don’t have their dog under control.