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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Following a list of pet care basics is important, but sometimes, knowing what not to do is even more useful. Here's a list of useful "don'ts" that can potentially save you money, and improve your dog's health in the long run.

1. Don't allow your dog to be fat - The pain of arthritis starts earlier and is more severe in overweight dogs. If you keep your dog's weight at or slightly below ideal, he may not arthritis meds for years. This will help your dog live a happier and more active life.

2. Don't take your dog for a ride in the car without securing him - A loose dog can be a dangerous distraction to a driver. A crate is the safest option for canine travel. Choose one made of hard, high-impact plastic.

3. Do not let your dog off leash in open areas - While it's possible to teach a dog to come when called under nearly any circumstances, it's unlikely that most dog owners will do so. If your dog won't walk on leash without pulling, get a trainer's help. It's better than having them get hit by a car.

4. Don't let your dog play with young children without proper supervision - Really, simple supervision isn't enough. In order to prevent an injury, you must actively prevent your child from mauling, riding and pulling on your dog, even if he's been very tolerant in the past.

5. Don't give "people meds" to your dog without checking with your vet first - Even if you've used an over-the-counter med on your pet before - there may be drug interactions you're not fully aware of. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

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