People have a lot of different ideas about how to raise a dog, but many of those ideas may be outdated or inappropriate. To prevent the negative consequences of dog parenting mistakes, it’s important to understand the basics of how care for, train and emotionally support (or rehabilitate) a puppy or an older dog. Otherwise, you may run into both health and behavior issues.
Here are the top six parenting mistakes according to veterinarian Andrea Tu, a veternarian and the medical director of Behavior Vets in New York City.
1. Consulting with someone who is not a vet for medical advice
If your dog is acting strange or experiencing a medical problem, many dog parents will turn to Google. “But anybody can write something on Google and tell you they’re an expert,” says Dr. Tu. Even breeders, she notes, have been known to get their “expertise” through Google.
We’ve all probably done it, but there’s a difference between Googling a symptom at 3:00 am when you’re trying not to completely freak out and Googling a symptom and deciding that you don’t need to run the issue by your veterinarian.
Not only do veterinarians spend a minimum of eight years learning and training, your dog’s vet knows your specific and unique dog; a symptom in one dog may mean something entirely different in another dog. “Something that worked for your neighbor’s fluffy may not work for your dog,” says Tu. “If you have questions about medical issues, you should always consult with your vet.”