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Consumer Watch: Risky dog care mistakes

Even the most well meaning pet owners could make costly and dangerous mistakes when it comes to their dog's health. (KOKH)

Dog owners might think they are helping their pup, or maybe it's about the expense, but these common dog care moves are major mistakes.

Problems can start with something as simple as focusing on the wrong food. You might even be spending a little extra to make sure your dog has a gluten-free diet. Veterinarian Leonardo Baez with Midtown Vets says most pet owners focus on the wrong thing when it comes to food.

“Grain free doesn't really mean much. Most dogs have allergies to the animal protein part, “says Baez.

Another major and life-threatening mistake pet owner mistake is giving Fido human meds without consulting a vet.

“If you give an aspirin to a dog, it could actually give him an ulcer and even a perforating ulcer which could cause a very expensive surgical procedure,” says Baez.

Next major mistake is not being weather aware for your dog. In the Oklahoma summer heat, you get to wear shoes. The pups-- not so much. Ripped pads are painful, and mean limited walking and no running for a while.

“You put your hand on the concrete, if it’s too hot for your hand, then it is going to burn your kids pads, so either run in the morning or run at night,” says Baez, who adds that running in a grassy area during the day could be another safe option.

‘All natural’ sounds healthier but it could just cause problems. Some dog owners want to avoid putting harsh chemicals on their pups, but using dish soap or garlic to keep ticks away is not going to do the job.

“Really, we get dogs with tick borne diseases because the garlic really is not going to take care of the ticks,” say Baez, who adds that some more natural alternatives can be used in conjunction with medication, but should be verified by your vet.

Heartworm-- very preventable, still Midtown Vets says they see at least one case a week. Tests and prevention is a hundred to two hundred bucks a year, while recover is much more serious.

“It is very difficult for some people to comprehend that a mosquito is going to cause such a big damage, “says Baez.

Recovering from heartworm is much more difficult because medication is tough on the dog, it takes time, and can cost thousands of dollars.

Midtown Vets says all the minimal medical care is important to budget if you are a responsible dog owner, but building a true bond with your dog and making them feel loved, and that can help them live longer.

Preventative care for dogs is also on the rise. As dogs age, a yearly blood test can help prevent diseases that can end their lives, much like with people.

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