8 Ways You Might Be Endangering Your Dog Without Realizing It

iStock/stock_colors
iStock/stock_colors

As a dog parent, you want to make sure you're doing everything right when it comes to the care and well-being of your four-legged companion. Whether it's choosing the right dog food or buying them all the best toys, you just want to give your dog a happy and healthy life.

However, according to Bright Side, there are some potentially dangerous things you may be doing as often as everyday without even realizing it could harm your dog. Here are eight ways you may be unknowingly endangering your dog.

1. LEAVING THEM ALONE IN THE CAR

This one is fairly common knowledge at this point, but we wanted to include it because it's so important to never leave your dog alone in a car! According to Bright Side, ​internal car temperatures go up by 20 degrees in 10 minutes, regardless of whether you're parked directly in the sun or not. Dogs don't sweat like us, so overheating is extremely easy, and it's hard to tell when they're getting too hot.

2. CHOOSING THE WRONG COLLAR SIZE

Puppy wearing a super large studded collar
iStock/Maximilian100

Choosing the correct size of collar is important for both the safety and comfort of your pup. You don't want it to be so loose that they can slip out of it, nor do you want it so tight that they're constricted. The general rule is that if you can fit a finger between the collar and dog for small and medium sizes, and two fingers for big dogs, you should be set.

3. TAKING A PUPPY TO A DOG PARK

There have been stories of puppies being attacked at dog parks, and it can easily be due to the fact that larger dogs who are playing or roughhousing with one another can easily scare and/or attack your small puppy. Better to keep their play area in a controlled setting until they're bigger.

4. YELLING AT THEM WHEN THEY'VE DONE SOMETHING WRONG

Businessman in a suit takes his dog for a walk
iStock/Spiderplay

Just as yelling at another person when they do something you think is wrong rarely improves a situation, yelling at your dog is even less productive. If you're yelling at your dog for something that happened a while ago—for example, if you come home to a mess that could've happened hours ago—not only are they just going to be scared, but they'll also be confused. It won't seem like punishment for what they did wrong, they'll just see you as the enemy.

5. PHYSICALLY PUNISHING THEM WHEN THEY DO SOMETHING WRONG

Bright Side emphasizes that physical punishment only assures one thing: your dog will be afraid of you. Using a reward-based system to train your dog is the key to a much happier, and well-behaved, pup.

6. NEGLECTING BREED-SPECIFIC HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

Small dog with a large underbite
iStock/Rolf_52

From grooming needs to health issues, every breed of dog has its own specific requirements. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific needs of your dog's breed, as well as any potential warning signs associated with specific health issues they may be prone to, in order to give your dog the best care.

7. NOT BRUSHING THEIR TEETH

Your dog's teeth should be brushed almost as often as yours. It's recommended to start getting them used to the routine when they're puppies, so that you can avoid a mini-wrestling match with them every time you try to brush as they get older. Supplemental chewing sticks aren't nearly as effective as actual brushing, because if you're doing the brushing you can assure every tooth is reached. Be sure to use dog-specific toothpaste as well.

8. NOT KEEPING THEM MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY STIMULATED

Bad dog sits on chewed up couch
iStock/stephanie phillips

Dogs basically need as much mental and physical activity as people. You should be regularly walking your dog and making sure they're exposed to a mix-up in their routine every so often (e.g. Bright Side recommends exposing them to different sounds and smells to increase brain activity). If your dog gets bored, they'll find a way to entertain themselves—which usually means destroying some of your personal belongings.

These Rugged Steel-Toe Boots Look and Feel Like Summer Sneakers

Indestructible Shoes
Indestructible Shoes

Thanks to new, high-tech materials, our favorite shoes are lighter and more comfortable than ever. Unfortunately, one thing most sneakers are not is durable. They can’t protect your feet from the rain, let alone heavy objects. Luckily, as their name implies, Indestructible Shoes has come up with a line of steel-toe boots that look and feel like regular sneakers.

Made to be incredibly strong but still lightweight, every pair of Indestructible Shoes has steel toes, skid-proof grips, and shock-absorption technology. But they don't look clunky or bulky, which makes them suitable whether you're going to work, the gym, or a family gathering.

The Hummer is Indestructible Shoes’s most well-rounded model. It features European steel toes to protect your feet, while the durable "flymesh" material wicks moisture to keep your feet feeling fresh. The insole features 3D arch support and extra padding in the heel cup. And the outsole features additional padding that distributes weight and helps your body withstand strain.

Indestructible Shoes Hummer.
The Hummer from Indestructible Shoes.
Indestructible Shoes

There’s also the Xciter, Indestructible Shoes’s latest design. The company prioritized comfort for this model, with the same steel toes as the Hummer, but with additional extra-large, no-slip outsoles capable of gripping even smooth, slippery surfaces—like, say, a boat deck. The upper is made of breathable moisture-wicking flymesh to help keep your feet dry in the rain or if you're wearing them on the water.

If you want a more breathable shoe for the peak summer months, there's the Ryder. This shoe is designed to be a stylish solution to the problem of sweaty feet, thanks to a breathable mesh that maximizes airflow and minimizes sweat and odor. Meanwhile, extra padding in the midsole will keep your feet protected.

You can get 44 percent off all styles if you order today.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Reason Your Dog Follows You Everywhere

Crew, Unsplash
Crew, Unsplash

Depending on your mood, a dog that follows you everywhere can be annoying or adorable. The behavior is also confusing if you're not an expert on pet behavior. So what is it about the canine companions in our lives that makes them stick by our sides at all times?

Most experts agree on a few different reasons why some dogs are clingy around their owners. One is their pack mentality. Dogs may have been domesticated thousands of years ago, but they still consider themselves to be part of a group like their wild ancestors. When there are no other dogs around, their human family becomes their pack. According to Reader's Digest, this genetic instinct is also what motivates dogs to watch you closely and seek out your physical touch.

The second reason for the behavior has to do with the bond between you and your pet. As veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack told the American Kennel Club, puppies as old as 6 months can imprint on their human owners like they would their own mothers. Even older dogs will bond with the humans in their lives who show them care and affection. In these cases, a dog will shadow its owner because it sees them as an object of trust and security.

The last possible explanation for why your dog follows you has more to do with your treatment of them than their natural instincts. A popular training tactic is positive reinforcement—i.e. rewarding a dog with treats, pets, and praise when they perform positive behaviors. The point is to help your dog associate good behaviors with rewards, but after a while, they may start to associate your presence with rewards as well. That means if your dog is following you, they may be looking for treats or attention.

A clingy dog may be annoying, but it usually isn't a sign of a larger problem. If anything, it means your dog sees you in a positive light. So enjoy the extra companionship, and don't be afraid to close the door behind when you need some alone time.