6 mistakes new dog owners make

Getting a new furry friend is very exciting, but the responsibility that comes with it can be overwhelming. Provide your pooch with the best care possible by steering clear of these common mistakes according to PetSmart's learning centre.

Assuming all dogs eat the same food or feeding them human food. Just like people, certain dogs need certain foods to maintain optimum health. It is important to do research on what your dog's specific breed needs in their diet and if they have any sensitivities. Also, popular human food like grapes and chocolate can be extremely harmful for dogs, so make sure to only feed them vet-approved foods.

Not paying attention to their coat for signs of health. A dog's coat is the first sign of good or poor health — so pay attention. Diet, exercise and regular grooming play important roles in maintaining overall health.

Not brushing their teeth or taking them for dental hygiene appointments. Regular brushing at home, about once a week, helps ward off plaque and tartar build-up as well as bad doggy breath. Regular appointments to your vet for dental check-ups are a vital preventative measure.

Assuming dogs cannot have allergies. If your pup is sneezing or scratching a lot they could be allergic to certain odours or even suffer from hay fever, depending on the season. Just like humans, dogs can also have certain intolerances or allergies to foods like dairy, corn, soy or wheat products.

Not checking which household plants are poisonous to dogs. A lot of household plants are toxic for dogs if they ingest them. Be sure to research the plants you currently have in your home. Varieties like lilies are toxic to a dog, so make sure you put them out of reach.   

Not socializing them with people or other dogs. Although we want to protect our pups from any possible harm, keeping them away from other dogs and humans can lead to behavioural issues down the road.