Thanks to Bright Side, and their informative video, we are counting down the 12 most common mistakes you may be making, some unknowingly, that can be harmful to your dog.

Since we know you love your dog more than life itself, we know you want them to live the best life possible. Here are things to avoid, and be aware of, so you can ensure that your doggo lives a well-adjusted, healthy, happy life.

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#12 Picking The Wrong Collar

If you walk into any pet store, you’ll see there are a plethora of collar styles to choose from. There are breakaway collars, flat collars, collars that light up, spiky leather collars, decorative collars with pretty designs and flashy jewels– I can go on, the point is, there are so many collars and choosing the wrong one for your dog can actually be harmful.

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Breakaway collars serve their purpose. If they get caught on something, they will open up and prevent a life-threatening choking episode. These types of collars are an excellent choice for dogs who are left alone in a fenced in yard, unsupervised for extended periods of time.

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A harness is a perfect type of collar (or un-collar?) to use so that if your dog pulls while on a leash, he doesn’t feel pressure around his neck. Even the best-behaved dogs can pull, especially when they spot something they can’t wait to get to. Having your dog wear a harness ensures that Fido isn’t uncomfortable when he’s doing something that should be all about fun: walking with his fave human while exploring the world and getting exercise.

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Most important, your dog’s collar should be the right size. If it’s too big, your dog can slip out and if it’s too small, your dog will be uncomfortable. The rule of thumb is you should be able to slip two fingers easily beneath the collar. Also, be sure to check your dog’s collar continuously. Your dog can put on weight, lose weight, her fur can grow out thicker, etc.

#11 Leaving Your Dog Unattended In A Car

The temperature inside a car that is not running with the air on can be 10+ degrees warmer than the outside temperature. This is true even if the car is parked in the shade.

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If you’ve taken your dog out with you and need to run a quick errand on a 70-degree day and can’t bring your dog inside with you … DON’T RUN THAT ERRAND!

Leaving your dog in the car is a terrible idea, and can prove fatal. Dog lovers will agree it’s best to run errands when your dog is comfortably at home.

#10 Neglecting Your Pup’s Chompers

Cleaning your dog’s teeth is just as important as cleaning your own. It’s best to start as early as possible, while your dog is still a puppy, so she gets used to having her teeth cleaned (and doesn’t run away from her toothbrush like mine does!)

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Daily care is essential and dog chews that say they’re just as good as actual teeth-cleaning are giving false promises. Unless your vet says that specific chews are just as good, then they’re not. Also, remember not to use toothpaste and toothbrushes that are meant for humans. That’s not safe!

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#9 Giving Your Dog People Food

Most foods we eat are no good for Fido. They often contain too much salt and too much fat. People food can also be toxic to your dog, like certain nuts and fruits.

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Some human food can also contain xylitol which can be extremely toxic to your pet. Xylitol is hidden in a lot of human foods, including peanut butter. And we all know how much dogs love peanut butter. You should always check the food’s ingredients thoroughly before introducing it into your dog’s diet.

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#8 Bringing Your Puppy To A Dog Park

Your young pup, while totally adorable, lacks proper manners. Adult dogs don’t always respond well to a puppy’s playful personality and can lash out. This can instill permanent fear in your puppy that he or she may never grow out of.

An adult dog can also accidentally hurt your puppy just by playing. Puppies are smaller and not (yet) as strong as an adult dog. You wouldn’t want your baby to get hurt, right?

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Additionally, adult dogs can be carriers of certain diseases. Many pups are not finished being vaccinated, so they haven’t developed the appropriate antibodies yet. Being exposed to what healthy adult dogs may commonly carry can cause serious illness.

It’s best to wait until your puppy is older before bringing her to a dog park.

#7 Physically Punishing Your Pooch

Teaching your pup not to potty in the house by smacking him with a rolled-up newspaper is an absolute NO-NO! Using any type of physical punishment is cruel and abusive.

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Dogs learn best using the reward method. They need positive reinforcement and gentle guidance. Why would you want your dog to be afraid of you?

Training your pup is the best way for your dog to learn how to behave. This can be accomplished in a healthy way by registering your dog in obedience school or having a trainer come to your home. Many training programs are actually affordable, people just assume that they’re not.

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#6 Not Providing Enough Stimulation

Just like humans, dogs crave mental and physical stimulation. Dogs need regular exercise and playtime. Before adopting a dog, make sure you have the time to spend with him. If you’re not sure, then you are not ready for a dog.

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Regular walks are essential. They provide much-needed exercise as well as mental stimulation. Walking your dog exposes your pup to sights and smells, which teaches him a lot about his world. Sensory stimulation feeds their brain the good stuff.

A bored dog will often act out and misbehave by stimulating themselves. A dog that is not stimulated will often chew things he shouldn’t, bark excessively, or potty where he shouldn’t.

#5 Not Securing Your Dog Properly In The Car

Just like people, dogs need to be properly secured while riding in a car. This is for obvious reasons. If you get into an accident or even stop short, your dog can be seriously injured.

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In fact, many major auto accidents involving unsecured dogs have ended in death. You have many options to choose from: seatbelt harnesses, booster seats, secured carriers. Your dog relies on you to make good decisions for her and proper safety is always a good decision.

#4 Yelling At Your Dog

Yelling is never a good way to discipline your dog. Similar to physical punishment, yelling can be harmful. It can instill fear in your dog having lifelong consequences. How can you teach your dog to do something if she’s too busy being afraid of you?

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Yelling as a form of punishment or training is just as counterproductive as using physical punishment. Your dog can become so fearful that he urinates himself or hides.

Teach the kids in your household that yelling is unacceptable too! They don’t like being yelled at so why would their dog?

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#3 Skipping Flea/Tick/De-W0rming Treatment

Keeping up with your dog’s health always includes keeping up with flea/tick/de-worming treatment. Tick bites can cause a host of serious problems and diseases for your pup. Flea bites can lead to anemia amongst other things and heartworm can be fatal!

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Also, keeping up with this treatment in the wintertime is imperative unless your veterinarian says otherwise!

#2 Leaving Objects Around That Can Hurt Your Dog

Your home should be dog-proofed. It’s unlikely you can keep an eye on your dog every second, so leaving things around that can harm them is just NOT OKAY! Things like exposed wiring, small objects they can choke on, food that can be toxic, medications etc. is a giant NO-NO!

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Your home is also your dog’s home and should always be a safe place, no matter what! If you are unsure if your dog will be safe, consider using a crate or gating them in a specific room. This is only for a temporary amount of time and should never be used as punishment.

#1 Neglecting Health Issues That Are Breed Specific

This can include routine grooming if your dog has hair that grows quickly and needs to be brushed and/or cut regularly. Breed-specific issues can also include health issues.

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Certain breeds can be prone to things like dental problems, certain types of cancers, and hip dysplasia. Make sure your dog is regularly screened by his veterinarian for these issues. This will ensure a longer, healthier life for your dog.