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1. Forgetting to microchip your pup

1. Forgetting to microchip your pup
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Priority number one after getting a new dog, whether puppy or rescue, should be making sure they can find their way back home if he or she ever gets lost.

Millions of pets are lost every year around the world and it happens to even the most responsible dog owners!

The best way to protect your pup is to get it microchipped, says Aimee Gilbreath, executive director at the US-based Michelson Found Animals Foundation.

These small chips that are implanted in the folds of the skin in your pup’s shoulders hold a unique ID number that connects with your contact info (i.e. your phone number) that you supply online.

It’s not a GPS tracker. Many shelters will offer inexpensive microchips or you can ask your vet about microchipping options, she says.

The last thing you would want is your new pet wandering off in search of adventure. (Is your dog one of the Best Breeds in the World? Find out here.)

2. Not registering the microchip

2. Not registering the microchip
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Microchipping your dog is only half the battle – many owners don’t realise you have to also register the microchip with your name and current contact information for it to work.

Many registries charge a yearly fee.

Make sure your information is current every year, she adds.

This may be one of those little things that pet shops forget to tell you to do. From hidden costs to hidden diseases, there are some things that shouldn’t be assumed when purchasing a pet. Here’s advice from the horse’s mouth.

3. Dropping the leash and telling your dog to “make friends”

3. Dropping the leash and telling your dog to “make friends”
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Some dogs are immediately comfortable with other animals but many are not, and throwing your dog into a situation with another dog to “make friends” is a recipe for disaster, Gilbreath says.

Start by making a careful introduction, looking for signs of distress in both animals.

“Never force an interaction and have a place for each dog to go if they feel threatened – you can slowly bring them back together after they’ve had time to calm down,” she explains.

Wondering why your dog’s been chewing the furniture, barking, or going potty in the house recently? Take a look at the 7 unexpected reasons your dog might have anxiety.

4. Expecting all your pets to get along from day one

4. Expecting all your pets to get along from day one
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Introducing a new dog to your existing pets requires planning and patience, Gilbreath says.

Make the first introduction on neutral ground (as in, not your home), keep both dogs leashed at first to maintain control, and have plenty of treats on hand to reinforce good behaviour, she recommends.

Just like humans, animals have their own unique personalities. Take a look at the pet combinations that are most likely to hate each other.

5. Feeding your dog off your plate

5. Feeding your dog off your plate
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It can be hard to resist Fido’s pleading eyes at the dinner table but letting him eat human food is a risky endeavour, Gilbreath says.

“While most fruits and veggies are good for dogs, many aren’t,” she says. “The biggest no-nos are grapes, nuts, onions and garlic.”

There are also a lot of hidden dangers outside the house. Take a look at the 10 shockingly common dog dangers in your own backyard.

6. Putting a vase of flowers on a low table

6. Putting a vase of flowers on a low table
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Lilies, chrysanthemums and tulips are all beautiful blooms but they are also toxic to dogs, Gilbreath says.

Many of nature’s beauties have ugly side effects that range from stomach issues to death,” she says.

“You’d think your pup would be smart enough to not eat your floral arrangement but vets see plenty of these cases every year.”

Sadly, bacon is another food that can be hazardous to your dog. Take a look at the other foods you didn’t know could kill your dog.

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7. Decorating with poinsettias

7. Decorating with poinsettias
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Every year you see warnings about not allowing your pets near poinsettias.

The hype is a little overblown – they won’t kill your pup – but it’s still good advice as the festive red plant contains a sap that may cause irritation to your dog’s mouth and stomach and may cause vomiting, Gilbreath says.

Making your garden pet friendly isn’t as tricky as you think. Here’s 5 easy ways to make your garden a great home for your pets.

8. Not properly vetting your dog sitter

8. Not properly vetting your dog sitter
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Just because someone is a loving pet owner doesn’t mean they’re qualified to be a pet sitter, says Beth Stultz-Hairston, vice president of Pet Sitters International.

People see it as an easy way to earn some quick cash but there’s a lot more that goes into taking care of a pet than just feeding and walking them, she says.

Not sure what to look for? Trust is a big factor in hiring a sitter, both for you and your dog. Here’s how to tell if your dog trusts you.

9. Neglecting daily walks

9. Neglecting daily walks
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Daily outdoor walks are as good for you as they are for your dog, yet when we get busy they are often one of the first things to go.

This is a huge mistake, says Anthony Newman, certified canine behavior consultant, founder of Calm Energy Dog Training NYC.

“No matter how smart, eager, and loving your dog is, he’s unlikely to be able to learn or remain well behaved if he hasn’t recently purged his mental, physical, and social energies outside,” he says.

Make daily walks a must-do; your dog and your waistline will thank you!

Not going for a regular walk could well be one of the 14 things you do that your dog actually hates.

10. Never letting your pup run off-leash

10. Never letting your pup run off-leash
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Yes, walks are great but to be truly happy and healthy, dogs require some off-leash time, Newman says.

Ideally, you take them to play in a dog park with other dogs. It’s not as simple as letting go of the leash, however.

“This requires training in itself, to do safely and effectively, and not all dogs are capable of peaceful socialising; but most dogs are capable if shown the way, and if you can do it it’s worth the extra work,” he says.

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