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Puppy and Dog Care

FEEDING:

Feed your puppy 3 times daily and your adult dog 1-2 times daily.  Feed only commercial brand-name dog food formulated for your pet’s age.  The nutritional quality of the food will directly affect your dog’s health, behavior, and lifespan.  Your veterinarian can assist you in the proper diet for your pet.  No table scraps, cat food, meat bones, milk (causes diarrhea which causes dehydration) or generic dog food (can be harmful to your pet’s health).  Fresh water should be available at all times.

HOUSETRAINING:

The best way to housetrain your puppy is to take it out often, especially in the morning, after each meal and before bed.  Establish a routine that is consistent day after day.  Punishing a puppy has no affect—it is similar to punishing a baby for soiling its diapers.  Patience, consistency and praise is the most effective course for getting you and your puppy through this stage of development.  If you have housetraining difficulties, call a dog trainer for help.  Don’t wait until your puppy is an adult.

WALKS:

A puppy needs frequent, short walks during housetraining.  An adult dog should be walked at least twice a day.  (Some breeds require more extensive exercise periods than others.)  Your puppy or adult dog should always be walked on a leash and not allowed to roam alone.  This is for both the safety of your dog and the people in your neighborhood.  City ordinance requires dogs to be on a leash at all times unless confined on the owner’s property.  Some parks have certain areas designated where you are allowed to have your dog off leash as long as you have control of the animal.  Also, it is the law to clean up after your puppy or dog.  Carry a ziplock bag along on your walk for this purpose.  Turn it inside out, and put your hand inside to pick up the feces.  Then turn it right side out, zip up and throw in the trash.  In addition to obeying the law, you will be acting as a good neighbor.

GROOMING:

♥ Coat:  Frequent and regular brushing will help to remove loose hair and keep your pet’s coat glassy.  In the summer, it also gives you the opportunity to check your dog’s coat for fleas, ticks or other skin problems.  ♥Nails:  Trim nails as necessary to keep them from getting too long.  Ask your veterinarian to show you how to do this and advise when it is needed.  ♥ Teeth:  Wipe your pet’s teeth every couple of weeks with cotton, gauze or a child’s toothbrush soaked in baking soda.  This will prevent a buildup of tartar.  ♥ Baths:  Dogs need baths only when they are excessively dirty or to control fleas, no more than once a month.  Too many baths can cause dry and itchy skin.  Some dogs require professional grooming for cutting and trimming the hair.

FLEAS:

Fleas are common and continuous problem for dogs, especially during the summer months.  Numerous commercial products are available to control fleas, including a variety of organic solutions.  Flea control often requires that you bathe and dip your dog, spray the yard, and spray your house all at one time.  Consult your vet or pet supply store for advice on which product to use.

SAFE TOYS:

Hard rubber balls and squeaky toys (large enough so your pet cannot swallow them) are safe.  Also, rawhide, biscuit and nylon bones are safe and will satisfy your puppy’s need to chew.  Do not give your puppy old socks or shoes—it can’t tell the difference between the “old” ones and the “new” ones.  Providing your puppy with its own safe toys will keep it away from your slippers, shoes or other off-limit items.

BED:

Provide your puppy or adult dog with its own bed away from heavy traffic areas (like the kitchen).  Puppies, especially, need sleep during the day as well as at night.

SUPERVISION & COMPANIONSHIP:

A puppy needs almost constant supervision for its safety, for ease of housetraining, and for proper socialization to humans.  An adult dog requires less supervision, but should still receive plenty of human companionship.  Dogs are pack animals by nature.  They need to be around other animals, and especially humans, for their emotional well being.  They will repay you with love, devotion and loyalty.

COLLAR AND I.D. TAG:

Protect your puppy or dog with a current identification tag and collar.  The I.D. tag should have the pet’s name, address and phone number.  If your animal gets lost, this is the best insurance that it will be returned to you.  City ordinance requires all dogs within the City of Georgetown to be registered annually and to wear the city license tag.  The tag can be purchased through a vet or directly from Georgetown Animal Shelter.  Your pet’s collar should not be too loose or too tight (you should be able to slip two fingers under the collar while your pet is wearing it) and change it as the puppy grows.

OBEDIENCE TRAINING:

All dogs, puppy or adult, need to be taught the rules of how to behave.  Obedience training courses are simple and fun, and will teach you and your pet how to communicate, which will lead to a more pleasurable relationship for both of you.   There are also numerous books available on dog training.

VETERINARY CARE:

A puppy needs to visit the veterinarian several times in the first year for the necessary vaccinations that will protect it from common canine diseases.  An adult dog needs to visit the veterinarian once a year for vaccinations, a physical examination, and for testing and preventative medication for heartworms.  In addition, puppies and dogs should be checked annually for internal parasites (such as worms).  All dogs, by law, over 4 months of age must be vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEUTERING:  Females should be spayed (removal of ovaries and uterus) and males neutered (removal of testicles) by 6 months of age.  Spaying before maturity significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer, a common and frequently fatal disease of older female dogs.  Spaying also eliminates the risk of pyometra (an infected uterus), a very serious problem in older females that requires surgery and intensive medical care.  And spaying protects your female pet from having unwanted litters.  Neutering males prevents testicular and prostate diseases, some hernias and certain types of aggression (which differ from protectiveness, which this surgery won’t affect).

 

VACCINATIONS:  Vaccines protect animals and people from specific viral and bacterial infections.  They are not a treatment.  If your pet gets sick because he is not properly vaccinated, the vaccination should be given after your pet animal recovers.

 

Puppies should be vaccinated with a combination vaccine (called 5 in 1) at two, three and four months of age and then once annually.  This vaccine protects the puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parovirus, and parainfluenza.  A puppy’s vaccination program cannot be finished before four months of age.  Rottweillers, Doberman Pinchers and American Staffordshire terriers/pit bulls should be vaccinated until five months of age.  If you have an unvaccinated dog older than four or five months old, the dog needs a series of two vaccinations given 2-3 weeks apart, followed by a yearly vaccination.  Do not walk your puppy or your unvaccinated dog outside or put her on the floor of an animal hospital until several days after her final vaccinations.  Other vaccines for dogs are appropriate in certain situations.  Your dog’s veterinarian can tell you about these vaccines.

 

Rabies vaccinations should be given by 3 months of age and no later than 4 months.  Rabies is a viral disease and can affect al mammals, including people.  Rabies is transmitted by the saliva of an infected animal.  Even when no injury is apparent, you should report your pet’s contact with an unfamiliar or wild animal to your veterinarian.  Recommendations may include repeating your pet’s rabies vaccine and close observation

 

WORMS: It is common for dogs, even in urban areas, to be exposed to worms and possible infestation.  Microscopic eggs produced by intestinal worms in infected dogs and passed in their feces provide a source of infection for other dogs.  There are several types of worms and a few microscopic parasites that commonly affect dogs.  Because most of these cannot be seen in feces, a microscopic fecal evaluation is the only satisfactory way to have your puppy or dog checked for intestinal worms and other parasites.  Most puppies, even from healthy mothers in good homes, carry roundworms or hookworms.  All puppies should be dewormed by a veterinarian regardless of fecal evaluations.

 

PROBLEMS:  Always see your veterinarian first to see if the problem is a physical one.  If it is a behavioral one, seek the advice of your veterinarian, a professional dog trainer, or books.

 

Rev. 9/13/12