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You and your new pet

This handy guide will help you and your new dog get acquainted. It also 
suggests several things to do in making your home, yard and neighborhood 
a safe and healthy place for your dog: 

.1. The all-important ID. 

It is imperative that you get an identification tag for your dog as soon as 
possible. Tags are readily available at pet stores or through offers made by pet
food manufacturers. Include the pet's name, your phone number, and address 
(if room permits). The results of not getting a sturdy collar and tag can be tragic.
If your pet should somehow become lost it may never be recovered without a
proper ID. 

.2. The Safety Check. 

Be sure to safety check your home, yard and neighborhood so that your dog 
will have a safe and healthy environment. If you have a dog, make sure that 
your yard is fenced and gated to prevent it from escaping. Too many dogs are
killed by running into the street and getting hit by a car.  When it comes to 
your home, keep in mind that puppies are especially curious. Puppies like to
chew on things and  get into things. 

This checklist should be helpful in making your home a safe place for
your pet:

a.   don't leave open garbage cans 
b.   check to be sure doors to washing machines, dryers, freezers, ovens, and
      refrigerators are securely closed (before and immediately after use). 
c.   make sure medicines and household cleaners are locked up. 
d.   watch that hot irons or other heavy objects are not precariously placed so 
      they might easily fall on your pet 
e.   some innocently looking plants are toxic to cats and dogs. They should not
      have access to: Philodendrons, Dieffenbachias, True Ivies, Elephant's Ears,
      Poinsettias, False Jerusalem Cherry, Oleanders, Rhododendrons, azaleas,
      Cherry Laurels, Mistletoe. 
f.    don't give your dog medications not prescribed by a vet. 
g.   Watch out for exposed fireplace flames. 
h.   rubber band and small soft rubber objects could cause your dog to choke. 
i.    exposed hot stove surfaces should not be left unattended. 
j.    don't' let your dog chew on electrical cords. 
k.    large plastic bags, food wrapper (especially meat wrappers) should not be 
       left out. 
l.     don't allow your dog to have access to anti-freeze contaminated water in
       your garage, i.e., a puddle under your car.
m.  don't leave sharp objects such as knives and razors out.

3.Selecting a Vet/Immunizations. 

It is important to take your new dog to a veterinarian on a regular basis.
Make sure you keep your dog current on shots and immunizations. Seriously
consider having your pet spayed or neutered. There are already hundreds of
thousands (perhaps millions) of homeless pets. Adding more would just 
deepen the tragedy. 

 Additional Resources -

4.Common Ailment/Emergencies. 

Fleas, worms, and bites & scratches, are common problems. Your vet will 
advise treatment. But you should be prepared for emergencies. It would be 
wise to visit your nearby bookstore and pick up a book on dog care. Also at 
your vet, you'll probably find several handy brochures provided by pet food

5.Feeding Your Dog. 

Your dog will probably do better eating commercial pet foot. It is well-balanced
and nutritious. A mixed diet of canned and dry food is suggested. A trial and 
error method will tell you what types and brands your dog enjoys most. Treats
and table snacks are OK on an occasional basis but in the long run they are 
not well suited for your dog. Chocolate is particularly bad. Always make sure
your dog have plenty of fresh water available. 

6.Traveling With Your Dog. 

As a rule, dogs love going in cars. Make sure your dog is on a leach when you
leave your car. Use special seat belts made for dogs. A sudden noise could
scare your dog and cause it to bold, perhaps running into traffic with tragic
consequences. When parked, be sure your car is not in a sunny, hot place. 
And keep your windows down at least several inches for ventilation. Remember
your dog can quickly and easily overheat in a locked car. And allowing this to
happen is a criminal offense. Your vet will advise on preparing your pet for air
travel. Double check with your airline to be sure the cargo pit is pressurized 
and heated. 

7.Kennels & Pet-Sitters. 

Most of the time when people take a vacation or are away from home on
business, etc. they don't take their pets. This is probably harder on a dog than 
on a cat because dogs crave almost constant attention from their owners and
they are slavishly devoted. Dogs can become depressed over a separation. It is
common to have a friend or relative stop by on a daily basis to feed and check 
on a dog, but people are very busy as a rule and cant spend much time doing
this. It is recommended that you consider choosing either a pet-sitter or a kennel.
A professional pet-sitter will spend considerable time with your dog in your home,
playing with it and feeding it. The charge is usually quite reasonable. The other
alternative is a kennel. Today's modern kennel isn't just a maze of cramped
cages. The facility should offer vet care, spacious enclosures, and have a
qualified staff that genuinely likes pets. Kennels should be clean, should not
smell, and should welcome your inspection. Again, charges are usually very

8.Adjustment Time/Play Time. 

A key to having a happy relationship with your dog is to give it time to adjust 
to its entirely new world. Mistakes and accidents are bound to happen so be
patient in your training. If you have a dog, it might be wise to have a professional
trainer help you. Take your dog outside on a regular basis to relieve itself, don't
make it painfully wait for too long a period. A word about disciplining your pet. 
Do it with your voice, not with your hand or other objects. Your pet does not 
need to be beaten into submission. That is just plain cruel. With regard to play,
some owners just can't be bothered. But it is important to spend some time 
each day playing, loving, and interacting with your dog. 

9.Introducing A New Dog To Other Pets You Already Have. 

First of all, you are to be congratulated on taking another pet into your home. 
The proper way of introducing the new member is to take it to the pet(s) you
already have, not the other way around. Those you already have need to feel
secure that they are not being pre-empted by the newcomer. The first meeting
will probably be awkward and a little hostile. Give the situation time. Read your
pet books or get your vet's advice on the situation. 


Be sure to groom your dog on a regular basis, especially if your dog has long
hair. It will look forward to being brushed and combed. It is also a good way to
pick out fleas, ticks, etc. and allows you time to inspect your pet for any health

11.Final Notes. 

Get a rescue sticker for your home or apartment. You can obtain one from a pet
store or in some cases, a fire station. In case of a fire or other emergency when
you are not at home, police or firefighters will be able to tell that you have pet(s)
at home that need rescuing. On another matter, if you should die before your pet
does, make sure provisions for care are left in a will. Consult an attorney. 

Good luck with your new dog. Thanks for remembering that pets need love, and 
a home too. 

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