Most pet parents spoil their pets in their own way, whether with paw pedicures, extra cuddles or extra treats. And having a spoiled dog isn't necessarily a bad thing — it's a sign that you love your pet. It only becomes a problem if it starts to affect their health, their behavior or your wallet.
Let's take a look at five signs your dog is spoiled and creative alternatives to express your love.
1. You're Quick to Carry Them When They're Tired
What happens when your dog gets tired on long walks? If you tend to carry them or push them in a stroller, you may have a spoiled pooch on your hands. Granted, if your dog frequently seems overworked from light exercise, it may be time to take them to the veterinarian to ensure that they don't have any underlying health issues.
But if your pup is in good health, try rewarding them on a long walk with a treat or cool water, for instance. Or, if they tire easily, try playing closer to home, either indoors or at a nearby park or field.
2. You Know Your Local Pet Spa Owner by Name
Have you received a text from your local pet masseuse checking in to see if your dog is feeling calmer after their most recent spa date? If your answer is yes, you might have a spoiled dog — albeit a refreshed one.
Dog spas offer amazing services, from massages and baths to tougher grooming tasks like ear cleaning and nail trimming. But you don't necessarily need a grooming professional to meet your dog's hygiene and massage needs. With the right tools and tips, you can handle most of those things right at home, and bond with your dog in the process.
3. They Have Their Own Side of the Bed
Picture this: It's 2 a.m. and you're awakened by the gentle push of a paw against your back. Out of the corner of your eye, you see your dog sprawling themselves across your bed, taking up more space than you ever thought one dog could. Do you:
- Gently wake your dog and request they get down from the bed
- Move your dog to the end of the bed, creating more space for yourself
- Slide to the edge of the bed, allowing your dog to sleep soundly
If you chose B. or C., your dog might be a little too spoiled. While nearly half of pet parents share their beds with their pets, according to the American Kennel Club, sharing your sleep space can become an issue under certain circumstances. If your dog starts displaying behavior issues, including signs of aggression, having them in your bed might not be the best choice. Instead, it may be time to create a separate sleeping space for your dog and to reach out to your vet or a behavior consultant.
If you find you need to have your dog sleep outside of your bed or bedroom, you can still make bedtime special by devoting a few minutes to cuddling and playing at their bedside before they go to sleep.
4. They Have an Outfit for Every Occasion
It's one thing to have outerwear for your dog to ensure they're comfortable in cold temperatures and wet conditions, and to protect their paws from hot pavement and salt. But if your dog has more outfits than you have for yourself, it might be time to reassess. To avoid spending more, tap into your creative side and make DIY dog outfits. (DIY Projects has a ton of great ideas.) You can even make use of your own clothes that you don't want anymore.
5. You Like to Show Your Love With Food
If your dog is a good boy or good girl, you probably are like most people and like to show them that by feeding them treats or scraps from the table. The problem is if this is your way of spoiling your dog, then you're likely affecting their health too. Extra treats or human foods are a good way to pack on extra pounds in dogs that can lead to your dog being overweight, which comes with a number of other health risks.
It's important to know that treats should only account for ten percent of your dog's total daily caloric intake. You should also avoid feeding them any human food without your veterinarian's recommendation, as human food tends to impact dogs much greater than it does humans. For instance, a single hot dog is equal to four hot dogs to our four-legged friends.
If you've noticed signs your dog is spoiled, it likely just means you want them to feel as loved, safe and cared for as possible — and that's great. Just remember that when it comes to making your dog happy, nothing beats quality time with you.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.