10 Ways You Could Be Inadvertently Hurting Your Dog

People hurt their dogs all of the time.  Most often it is unintentionally.  And, what knowledge most of us dog owners take for granted may not be common knowledge for all dog owners!

So I’ve complied 10 distinct ways in no particular order that you or someone you know might be inadvertently hurting your dog.

1.  No exercise

Dogs need exercise.  It doesn’t matter if they are 2 pounds or 250 pounds or if they are puppies, adults, or geriatric dogs; all dogs need exercise.

Exercise is crucial to mental well-being was well-being.

Exercise is also crucial to us humans!

So get out there and exercise your dog as much as he needs!

For more on exercise click on this link THIS is what I mean by exercise!

2.  No nail trims

People think they are doing their dog a service by ignoring the long growth of his nails.

He may scream and pitch a fit or even try to bite, but the truth is unless you have one of those rare dogs who’s foot conformation wears down his nails your dog will need regular nail trims.

I know I have mentioned it and shown it before (because I really think it is important) nails that are allowed to grow too long, and nails that curl under can not only cut into the pad but they can also cause arthritis and pain in the toes and feet.

Imagine never clipping your nails, pretty soon your toe nails would be causing you pain and the added length makes them more susceptible to being ripped completely off.

If you can’t trim them yourself, take your dog to your vet and pay them to do it for you!

They need to be trimmed every 2 weeks!

Click here for help and the second greatest doggy tip ever. 

3.  Wrong equipment

Equipment that doesn’t fit or causes pain can do damage to your dog.

I see several people who use no pull harnesses and head halters that are way, way, way too loose.  The loose nylon then rubs hair off the face, from under the arm pits, across the chest and in other areas.

Although most equipment shouldn’t be TIGHT (although gentle leaders and other head halters will seem tight to some) it also shouldn’t be loose enough to rub.

Think shoes, people!  When your shoes are too big you get blisters, when your shoes fit they feel good.

And, corrective devices such as choke chains (metal or nylon) and pinch or prong collars can get caught and strangle dogs.  It is best not to use these tools at all, but if you do, use them only when your dog is monitored.

And flexi leashes can be seriously dangerous, for more on that click here.

4.  Table scraps

Weight Leads to Numerous Health Problems in Dogs too

Weight Leads to Numerous Health Problems in Dogs too

Table scraps can kill your dog.

I used to work in a veterinary clinic, and after every major holiday we would have numerous dogs hospitalized because they ate too many “goodies” with their owners.

Dogs don’t metabolize fat like we humans metabolize fat.

And, they don’t commonly eat a lot of fat (usually) in their normal diet.

You may think that you are spoiling your dog with a yummy greasy piece of bacon, but his pancreas may not be able to metabolize it and it may cause it to get inflamed and your dog to be severely sick.

In severe cases, dogs die from pancreatitis.

Unless it is low fat, and low salt (like boiled chicken breast), avoid giving it to your dog.

And, if you are giving your dogs’ yummy low fat low salt treats make sure to take those calories into account when the next meal come around.

5.  Medications

Owners unwittingly poison their dogs with human medication all of the time.

If the dog hurts himself or coughs, many owners will administer human pain medication and human cough medication.

Dogs can’t metabolize human medications.  There are very few drugs that can safely cross species.

Even prescription medications are not the same nor administered in the same dosage.

Would it surprise you to know that dogs with thyroid disorders take a much higher dose than an adult human with the same problem?

I remember being on an anti-depressant for my migraines while working at a vet clinic.  The very same medication is also used to help stop cats from urinating in their homes.  I was on less than a cat’s dose.

Just because you think a medication is used on animals, call poison control or check with your vet prior to administration.

6.  Old Medication

This goes hand in hand with the previous discussion, but having worked at a vet I have seen owners administer old medications for what they think is the same problem which can cause deafness and/or death.

Ear medication is a perfect example.

People get used to taking their dog to the vet for chronic ear infections.  And, ear infections and getting rid of them can be problematic.

So owners think, the next time their dog shakes his head, scratches his ears, or has that notorious yeasty ear smell, that they can use medication that they have left over from the last round of drops and antibiotics.

BUT if the dog’s ear drum is ruptured this time, and only a vet looking down the dog’s ear canal with an otoscope can see the ear drum, the medication can cause permanent deafness.

Medication that is safe for an intact ear drum will cause permanent damage to a ruptured ear drum!  It just isn’t worth the risk, is it?

Even things like antibiotics and pain medications go out of date.

If your dog seems to be suffering from the same medical problem just speak to your vet before you give any kind of prescription or over the counter medication.

Your vet may not even want to give your dog an exam or a full exam, but he does want to make sure your dog is not being injured by old medications.

7.  No TrainingView of the street from the dog's perspective

Dogs don’t pop from the womb knowing what we humans expect.

And this may shock you, but I want a different dog than you want, than your neighbor wants, than the person down the street wants.

We all desire different levels of obedience and different attributes.

But one thing is 100% the same across the board.

People want a dog that is potty trained.

And, people want a dog with basic manners.

Manners don’t always equate into “obedience” but you also can’t have obedience without manners.

So do your dog a favor and commit to making sure he or she is potty trained.

Potty training isn’t hard if you realize it is all about you for more on that click here and make a sincere commitment.

Potty training is just like weight loss or anything else that is difficult but worth it, if you devote the time to it, you will see results.

If you expect miracles or continue down a path where the dog is having consistent accidents then you are not going to be successful.

And, dogs that go to shelters who are not potty trained have much less of a chance of making it out alive.  And, if they are adopted they run a much higher risk of being physically abused and neglected.

You can say much of the same for basic manners.

Teaching your dog not to jump on people, and to have some basic obedience skills will not only make him more enduring to you, it lessens the chance he will ever end up in a shelter or staying there and not making it out alive.  For more help with obedience click here for our products that can help!

8.  Wrong Foodsteal food

Feeding your dog the wrong thing can also be harmful.

Very low end dog food, like ‘Ol Roy don’t have the quality nutrition that most dogs need.  Very cheap, low end food is full of fillers and things that aren’t good for your dog in high quantities.

I am not going to turn this into a raw food diet vs. dog food; I am only going to say be careful and do your research.

Many “do it yourself” foods lack in vitamins and nutrients that dogs need.  Some also put your dog at risk for higher PH’d urine which can cause bladder and kidney stones.

Even something as simple as broccoli can change the delicate PH of your dog’s urine which can cause significant health problems and require future surgery.

There are also human food like grapes that can cause renal failure, and spices like nutmeg that can cause seizures and death.

If you don’t know that it is safe for your dog, don’t feed it to him!

9.  Baths

Dogs need baths.

I know this comes as a shock to you, but dogs get stinky and the dirt and accumulated oils need to be cleaned from their fur on occasion.

I do try to keep from bathing my dogs all of the time.

When I had a dog with allergies, I had to wash him first every other day, and then about once a week for maintenance.

If you are using the right kind of shampoo and you are rinsing your dog’s fur well, he can be washed often.

But, most of us don’t want to have to wash our dogs too often!

Once a month is a good goal, to keep his skin clean and conditioned.

Just like washing our skin is good for us (provided we aren’t using harsh cleaners) it is also helpful for your dog’s skin.

Want the coolest and fastest way to bathe your dog and never have a soap buildup?  Click here  seriously this could change your life!

10.  You Never Brush His Teeth

mixed breed dog with a toothbrush and toothpaste. isolated on whHow often do you brush your teeth?

I am hoping you are going to say twice a day or at least daily.

Now how often do you brush your dog’s teeth?

If you don’t say daily, then you are ignoring a huge part of your dog’s health.

Tartar and bacteria can build up on teeth, then irritates the gums, and that bacteria makes its way into the blood system and to the heart.

Not brushing our dog’s teeth actually shortens their lives.

Think of old dogs that you have lost in your life.

If someone told you, you could have several more months or years with those dogs would you do whatever it takes to accomplish that?

I would!!!!

Brushing their teeth can add months or years to their lives!

So go to your vet and purchase some CET toothpaste (prescription toothpaste that has an enzyme to break down your dog’s tartar.  Human toothpaste can kill dogs) and put his toothbrush next to yours on the sink.

I have my dog’s toothbrushes sitting next to mine and as I step out of the shower I see fuzzy faces surrounding me because they know it is “Tooth Time!”.

To make sure they love it even more I give them a treat after they let me brush them, so for them it is like a double treat! For more help with tooth brushing click here .

Read and share this article with your friends so that they know how to extend the lives of their dogs!

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  1. Harley says:

    Excellent advice, I especially agree with making sure your dog is trained. It is a sad fact that most people do not train their dogs, and even less train to any kind of standard for behavior. It is one thing to train your dog to lay down on command but will he stay there for 5 minutes. Thanks


  2. Jean says:

    Well I am going to give myself a pat on the back as my two dogs always get bathed, teeth cleaned. They eat the correct food and I watch their weight seriously and no one in the family is allowed to feed them tid bits. They get regular exercise and nails are checked regularly. I don’t know how much stuff I have bought them to make sure they are comfortable when going out for walks etc. They are still ‘in training’ and we are getting there, thanks to you.


  3. Sun~Rose says:

    Just adding to watch out for genetically-modified food in dog food, and the synthetic vitamin K (3 and 4) menadione.


  4. Ron Smith says:

    Never too old to learn. I will get the canine toothpaste and start a daily brushing. Our little crossbreed 9wire haired fox (terrier/ chiwawa?) gets chicken breast or steak (not raw) on a daily rotational basis. Plus my wife cooks carrots, green beans and rice which is given with the chicken or steak


  5. Lynn says:



  6. Helz nz says:

    I must say I do all but brush there teeth, I had a rottwieller I never brushed his teeth he lived to 15 but had substitute cleaners. But yes part of being a good owner is common sense and they get odd treats not in big quantities. Otherwise I know a few people that dont follow those things then wonders why the dog runs away every chance she gets lol.


  7. Kittie K says:

    I find it very difficult to brush the teeth of my dogs. I know that your suppose to start when they are really young. Having multiple dogs can make that very difficult.


    Minette Reply:

    I’ve brushed more than 5 dogs in the mornings. Put their toothbrushes with yours and make a point to do it.

    If you don’t, you will pay for it somehow later; either financially because your dog will have to be knocked out to have his/her teeth cleaned or because the infection from the mouth will cause other health conditions.

    It is such a simple task that makes such a huge impact.


  8. Donna says:

    This is a GREAT article; however, many of the links here (such as the link to potty training) do not work. It is very frustrating to see that I need more info on a particular subject and find those links just don’t work.


    Minette Reply:

    There should be many here and there is a search bar on the right hand side of the page about 1/4 way down http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/?s=potty+training


  9. Augustine Chiezugo says:

    I love what you do here… Am greatful! I wish to come study at your school soon.. Thank you


  10. DON BARTELS says:



    Judy Reply:

    I never wash my dogs’ faces with soap. I go as far as the top of the head and outside ears. The rest is done with a wet washcloth with just water.


    Minette Reply:

    Not everyone has appropriate eye lube. And, it must be in date and specifically made for the eye, and not contaminated.

    I would rather a stray bubble get in (most shampoos are mild and take this into account) than people put things into their dogs eyes that could cause blindness or serious damage.


  11. Donna Sacra says:

    I raise a rare type of long haired Siamese, which are low shedding and hypoallergenic. When I place kittens for adoption, I tell my clients, “Do not be afraid to let your kitty have table scrapes. Give them a well balanced diet of commercial foods, cooked vegetables and raw meats, along with a bit of dairy products such as yogurt.” When people follow my dietary advice, their Balinese kittens usually live to be more than 20 years old! But some vets are saying we should never give our pets table scraps. Would you agree, or disagree with their advice?

    I also have 4 dogs. But the article, which I am responding to, advises NOT to give dogs table scrapes. So I’m asking, “Why Not?”


    Minette Reply:

    Some human foods kill our pets. Avocado, Macadamia Nuts, Nutmeg (found in baked goods), grapes, can all kill our pets.

    Even things that are just high in fat can kill our pets because their systems are not set up to handle all of that fat.

    And, most pets are lactose intolerant.

    There is no reason not to use a small amount of safe human foods for treats. But never while you are eating


  12. Dogs need baths:
    I have a big (96 lbs.)beautiful Black Lab. I don’t recall ever having given him a bath probably because he would not tolerate it. I was from the old school of training but not any more. Sport and I take at least a quarter mile walk each morning that weather and my health will allow. We are a long block from the White River and we go down to the river where he enjoys swimming. Does that count as a bath? I sure hope so. He is cleaner afterwards. Once I took the flea shampoo with me and tried to suds him up after he had one trip in the water. I realize the shampoo was probably not the best thing for the river water, but I was desperate to get all three dogs(at that time) shampoo for fleas. After the shampoo, it is easy to get him to go back in deep for a swim. Your thoughts?


    Minette Reply:

    Use the trick in the article and use a miracle grow container with shampoo


  13. I have Yorkiepoo. Housebroken well until I leave her. No matter how little, she will
    Have accidents. Others can leave, but always when I leave her alone.


    Minette Reply:

    Use a small crate when you are gone. Clearly she can hold it if it is only when you leave, so we don’t have to worry that she can’t, she needs to be given a reason to hold it and a crate will do that, since she will learn that laying in pee isn’t the greatest thing.


  14. Annette Barnard says:

    I am guilty, had many dogs through my life, (77years) and never brushed their teeth, gave them scraps from the table and all extra fat were mixed into their food….even poured old oil over the dry food …..O my….to late now so I can only try to improve even though my dog, a Boerbull is already 13 years old and have already lost all his bottom teeth by picking up wallnuts and eating it after he opens it by himself


    Minette Reply:

    Never too late to make a change! And, that change that you make on your older dog will carry over to a new pet 🙂


  15. monte says:

    I have a springer spaniel and most people know that you have to exercise the heck out of this breed. That is why i have one,she is my service dog to keep me busy!i buy the best food that i can afford.i am not rich but she eats well.no table food,and i bath her and brush her teeth.She stays up to date on shots and sees the vet all the time my wife is a vet tech.training is on going and should be!there should never be a time when you say “all trained “.we owe it to them them the best life possible we also owe it to our neighbors and friends that have to put up with us and our pets spay&nuter is just comon sense ther is enough unwanted & un needed pets out there puppies are cute but we do not all have to be breeders..


  16. Asma says:

    Are dental sticks not a substitute for tooth brushing


    Minette Reply:

    NO! Just like chewing on something would not be good dental hygiene for us, it also is not as good for dogs.

    There is no substitute for brushing


  17. amone says:

    Yes training always make a different we must train our dogs for the betterment of our lifes and others.
    Greet everyones down there
    Love you all.


  18. Tricia says:

    Thanks for the wonderful article! I always enjoy reading these and end up learning something new about dog care and training. I have a white 11 month old maltipoo named Stu and he loves to play. I almost always have him on a leash when he goes out with me but even then he does like to roll. I know pups will be pups, but i end up needing to wash him every other week to keep his hair white. I use a moisturizer/whitening shampoo meant for keeping dogs white but is there anything i can use to keep his fur cleaner longer? Thanks so much; i really appreciate it!


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