5 Mistakes Dog Owners Often Make

When we take on a dog, we make it our life mission to keep them healthy and happy; but this isn’t always easy.  In an age of information, it can get confusing what to do for the best, so here at My Pet Nutritionist, we thought we’d pop together the top 5 mistakes dog owners can make which compromises health.

1) Over-Vaccinating

There is no doubt that vaccination has been progressive in public health concerns, for both humans and pets, but they were never meant to make the host sick.  For a number of reasons, the current vaccinations schedule for our pets, is.

There is increasing evidence that over-vaccination is associated with the development or aggravation of immune-mediated disorders and chronic diseases in individual pets that are genetically predisposed.

This is where titre testing can be useful.

A titre is a simple blood test which establishes the levels of existing antibodies in the blood.  Antibodies are produced when an antigen provokes a response from the immune system.  This response can be from natural exposure or a previous vaccination.

A positive test indicates that the patient does have protective levels of antibodies.

A negative test indicates that the patient does not have protective levels of circulating antibody.  However, it is worth noting here that a negative test result does not indicate susceptibility to disease.

On the whole, test correlation with protection is fair to good.

Canine adenovirus, distemper virus and parvovirus all correlate well.

Feline calicivirus is fair to good, whereas herpesvirus is fair.  Feline parvovirus correlates well.

Findings Here

Titre tests are routinely used to establish the efficacy of rabies vaccination for pet travel schemes.

Findings Here

These outcomes particularly shine when you compare them to the suspected adverse reactions for vaccination in small animals.

Findings Here

Titre testing is like checking your fuel gauge before you leave home.  You want to make sure you have enough fuel to get to where you need to go.  Why not check your dog needs a vaccine before you actually give it?

Vaccinosis: Damage Vaccinations Can Cause Your Pet

 2) Not Feeding A Fresh Food Diet

Dogs are facultative carnivores.  This means they thrive on a meat-based diet.

Every cell in the body requires energy to carry out its role.  Without getting caught up in biology 101, there are a number of cycles that occur in the body to produce energy.  Dogs have this nifty ability to use this process known as gluconeogenesis – this produces glucose from non-carbohydrate sources.  Dogs have a great capacity for using fat for energy.

Not only do they reap the energy rewards from nutrients, but meat in it’s whole-food form contains a number of micronutrients which support body function.

Why Does My Dog Need Minerals

The issue with over-processed food is that it often becomes nutrient deplete during the process, and so, synthetic nutrients are added back in – makes a little more sense to offer them in their whole-food form in the first place doesn’t it?

In addition, food is only as useful as its constituents; it all needs to be digested.  Dogs have evolved on a whole-food diet for thousands of years, so their digestive system has figured out how to deal with it.  It also makes sense to feed the system something it knows how to work its magic on doesn’t it?

Why Dry Food Is Not Good For Your Pets

What Is The Best Kind Of Pet Food

3) Using Toxic Chemicals in Your Home and Garden

Every day, ours and our pet’s bodies are exposed to toxins.  They are produced internally in the body, like lactic acid, and consist of waste products from gut microbes, hormones, and neurotransmitters.  But the largest threat is possibly those external toxins, like air pollution, chemicals from cleaning products and volatile organic compounds from the plug-in air diffuser in your lounge.

It is thought that in the 25 years between 1970 and 1995, the volume of synthetic organic chemicals produced tripled from about 50 million tonnes to approximately 150 million tons, and this number has grown year on year since.

Findings Here

Data way back in 2008 reported that dogs have perfluorochemicals in their systems 2.4 times higher than humans, and cats have fire retardant particles in their systems 23.4 times higher than humans.  We can only imagine how this has panned out over recent years.

The Environmental Working Group found that dogs and cats are contaminated with 48 out of 70 industrial chemicals found in plastics, food packaging, heavy metals, fire retardants and stain-proofing chemicals.

In dogs, the findings established:

  • Contamination with 11 carcinogens
  • Contamination with 31 chemicals toxic to reproductive health
  • Contamination with 23 neurotoxins

Exposure included:

  • Dog food bag coatings
  • House dust
  • Stain-proofed furniture
  • Medications/pesticides
  • Dog beds
  • Carpets
  • Plastic toys
  • Shampoos

Findings Here

Check out our other blogs on how to avoid this and also ways to help!

Does My Pet Need To Detox

Is Your Toxic Home Affecting Your Pet

4) Overuse of Medications

Whilst medications are lifesaving, there are often cases of overuse.

Antibiotics are commonly inappropriately prescribed which can have long lasting effects on the health of your dog’s gut.  Broad-spectrum antibiotics are exactly that – they take all the bugs (both the bad and the good).
There is also the increasing concern around antibiotic resistance; this is when a microbe becomes more or fully resistant to antimicrobials which could previously treat it.  For this reason, the EMA “is promoting the prudent use of antimicrobials in animals.”

NSAIDs are also increasingly overused.

During the inflammatory response, certain enzymes catalyse the production of compounds which cause pain, redness, and heat.  NSAIDs work by blocking the activity of these enzymes and so inhibit the response.

But these same enzymes, like many in the body don’t just carry out that role.  They are also protective of the stomach mucosa for example, which means when you take out that enzyme, you also take out a layer of mucosal protection!  This is why chronic use of NSAIDs often leads to gastrointestinal bleeding.

Of course, NSAIDs are absolutely necessary in many instances, but the overuse should be a consideration; especially if there are alternative ways to modulate inflammation.

Dogs In Pain

5) Inappropriate use of Pesticides

The BVA has recently changed its stance on the use of preventative parasiticides.  They now encourage that vets should take a proportionate, targeted and responsible approach to the use of small animal parasiticides, and carefully weigh up all risks before prescribing or recommending treatment.

This includes avoiding blanket treatment and instead ensure they risk assess each case, and that clear, independent guidance should be made available to assist vets in making decisions about treatment.


This is largely driven by the increased resistance demonstrated by pets, but in addition, concerns were raised around the environmental impact of pesticide use.

For more natural approaches to pesticide control and management please check out our other blogs:

Natural Flea and Worming Treatments

Natural Worming Options For Pets

Why We Don’t Advocate Spot Ons

Parasites and What You Really Need To Know

If you are looking for support with your dog’s health, then please check out our services to see if we may be able to help.

Thanks for reading,

MPN Team  

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