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Tips On Bringing Your Puppy Home

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Tips on Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Before you bring that adorable new puppy into your life, it's important to make sure that your home will be a safe place for him or her to live and grow. Like young children, puppies are very curious about the world around them. If allowed to, they're likely to get into whatever mischief they can -- just for the sheer fun of discovering something new. Your puppy probably can't wait to investigate everything within his reach. Most puppy owners can share amusing stories of their puppies' exploits. "On the morning after we brought Lacy home, I realized that I hadn't been watching her for a while, and things were awfully quiet," says Donna Beck, owner of a 12-week-old Sheltie. "I looked everywhere for her. Then I stepped into the bedroom, and it was a wonderland of white -- she had found the tissue roll in the bathroom, and dragged the entire roll's worth all out into the bedroom, trampling and winding it all around. There she was, her tongue hanging out, happily in the middle of the pile. All I could do was laugh!" But sometimes puppies get into mischief that's more risky than amusing, and this adventuresome spirit can spell danger. That's why AKC Family Dog magazine, published by the American Kennel Club, recommends that you "puppy-proof" your home and yard -- ideally before your new bundle of joy moves in -- by making sure that all potential poisons and dangers are out of reach. One way to do this is by walking through your house and thinking about everything from the puppy's point of view. (It helps if you actually get down on your hands and knees to check things out!) Look for things on the floor, on low tables, or otherwise within reach. Inspect cabinets and closets that the puppy can get into. Try to prevent as many emergencies as possible. Keep in mind that whereas a human child uses hands and fingers to investigate, a puppy's natural instinct is to use its mouth and teeth to explore new things. He'll be tempted to bite and chew on any object he can get into his mouth, and maybe even swallow it. Your puppy doesn't know any better, so he's not being naughty -- he's just doing what comes naturally. Here are a few of the hazards you should be particularly aware of, according to the AKC: _Electrical cords. Tuck all cords where your puppy can't get to them. Perhaps you can use duct tape to secure them out of harm's way. A shock can be fatal, so keep a watchful eye lest your pup should have the urge to chew. _Swallow able objects. Pick up and put away any objects your puppy can reach that are small enough for him to swallow. It obviously could be bad for your puppy to get a hold of and swallow any object with sharp parts, such as a pin or razor blade. Such things could cause serious injury to his digestive tract. But even an object that is smooth, soft or made of non-toxic material -- such as a ping-pong ball -- can be harmful if swallowed, because it can get stuck in the intestines and cause blockage.

Garbage. ..Household garbage is one of the most common sources of things that can make a puppy sick. Spoiled food, sharp lids and discarded toxic materials are just a few of the risks that can lurk inside. And with its tempting smell of food scraps, the kitchen waste can is sure to be of interest. Use one with a lid that closes securely, or put the can in an inaccessible place when you're not home and "on guard." Remember that your puppy will be eager to investigate wastebaskets in other rooms of the house as well.

Medicines... Make sure that all medicines are stored high above your puppy's reach, and never leave individual pills or containers on low, accessible surfaces, even for a moment. They can be swallowed in an instant. Even gobbling down too many vitamins can make a puppy sick.

Poisons and household chemicals. ...See that no containers of cleansers, polishes, poisons or other dangerous chemicals have been left in puppy-level, easy-to-open cabinets. (Child-safety latches can help.) Some to look for are oven cleaners, floor products and waxes, bathroom cleansers, makeup items, paint removers, plant fertilizers or sprays, laundry products, insect traps or sprays and rodent poisons. Cigarettes and felt-tip pens can be toxic, too.

Poisonous plants. ..Not all plants are pet-friendly. Many can be harmful to your dog. Toxic indoor plants include cactus, dumbcane, mistletoe, philodendron and poinsettia. Outdoors, keep your pup away from plants such as azalea, boxwood, cherry seeds, daffodil blooms, honeysuckle, horse chestnut, holly, lily of the valley, morning glory, rhododendron, rhubarb, skunk cabbage, tulip bulbs and wild mushroom.


Once you've thoroughly puppy-proofed your home, the final key to ensuring that your puppy stays safe and sound is to have a watchful eye over him. Just as you wouldn't let a toddler wander through the house unsupervised, keep tabs on your young puppy. Consider setting up a "safe room" for him where he can't get into trouble during those times while you're not watching him, rather than leaving him to roam the entire house. By preparing your home ahead of time for that inquisitive, adventurous new family member, and keeping careful watch over him once he arrives, you'll help ensure that he'll grow up to be your happy, healthy companion for years to come. For more tips on raising your puppy, visit the American Kennel Club's Web site,

Bringing Your Puppy Home

Use the information in this section to prepare your home and family for life with your new puppy. The Supplies You Need Before you bring your puppy home, be sure you have the following supplies: Premium pet food to get your new puppy off to a good start. We use Ol' Roy Puppy Performance. Any brand you choose just make sure to read the label you don't want anything that has by product meal in it. (Example: chicken by product meal vs chicken meal) Stainless steel, non-tip food and water bowls. Identification tags with your puppy's name, your name, phone number and your veterinarian's name and phone number. A collar and a leather or nylon 6-foot leash that's 1/2 - 3/4 inches wide (consider using a "breakaway" collar with plastic clips that will unsnap in case your puppy gets hung up on something). A home and travel crate that's airline approved and will accommodate your puppy's adult size. This crate will serve as your puppy's new "den" at home, when traveling or riding to the veterinarian's office. His scent in the crate will provide comfort and a sense of security during these stressful times. Stain remover for accidental soilings. We use "Nature's Miracle" available at most pet stores. Brushes and combs suited to your puppy's coat; ask your veterinarian or breeder about an appropriate brush or comb for your dog. Dog shampoo, toothbrush and paste. High-quality, safe chew toys to ease teething. Flea, tick and parasite controls. Nail clippers. Helpful Hints Use stainless steel, non-tip food bowls, which won't break or absorb odors. Toys with parts that squeak or whistle can be dangerous if swallowed. For a comfortable collar fit, allow for two-fingers of space between the collar and your dog's neck; consider using an an adjustable collar. Making a Home Safe To make your home safe for your new puppy, eliminate potential hazards around the house and pay attention to the following items: Keep breakable objects out of reach. Deny access to electrical cords by hiding or covering them; make outlets safe with plastic outlet plugs. Safely store household chemicals. Keep the following house and garden plants out of reach: poinsettias, azaleas, rhododendrons, dumb cane, Japanese yew, oleander and English ivy among others. In the garage, be sure engine lubricants and other poisonous chemicals (especially antifreeze) are safely stored. If you own a pool or hot tub, check the cover or the surrounding fence to be sure they're in good condition. If you provide your puppy with an outdoor kennel, place it in an area that provides sun and shelter in the pen; be sure the kennel is large enough to comfortably accommodate your puppy's adult size. The First Days at Home The ideal time to bring home a new puppy is when the house is quiet. Discourage friends from stopping by and don't allow overnight guests. First establish a daily routine and follow these steps: Step 1: Before bringing him in the house, take him to the area in your yard that will serve as his "bathroom" and spend a few minutes there. If he goes, praise him. If not, proceed into the house but be sure to take him to this spot each time he needs to use the bathroom. Step 2: Take him to the room that accommodates your crate—this restricted area will serve as his new "den" for several days. Put bedding and chew toys in the crate, leave the door open and line the area outside of the crate with newspaper, in case of an accident. Let him investigate the crate and the room. If he chews or urinates on his bedding, permanently remove it from the crate. Step 3: Observe and interact with your puppy while he's acclimating to his new den. This will help forge a sense of pack and establish you as the pack leader. Special Puppy Concerns Don't treat a puppy as young as 8 to 12-weeks old like an adult dog. Treat him the same way you would your own infant: with patience, constant supervision and a gentle touch. The way you interact with your puppy at this age is critical to his socialization. Use these tips: Don't bring home a puppy while you're on vacation so you can spend a lot of time with him. Instead, acclimate him to your normal, daily routine. Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly. Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he has to go to the bathroom, then take him outside immediately. A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, he will need to relieve himself at least every three hours. Don't punish an accident. Never push his nose in the waste or scold him. He won't understand, and may learn to go to the bathroom when you're out of sight. Praise your puppy every time he goes to the bathroom outside. Feed your puppy a formula designed for puppies. Like a baby, he needs nutritious, highly digestible food. Meeting Resident Pets Keep resident pets separated from your new puppy for a few days. After your new puppy is used to his new den area, put an expandable pet gate in the doorway or put your puppy in his crate. Give your resident pet access to the area. Let pets smell and touch each other through the crate or pet gate. Do this several times over the next few days. After that, give the resident pet access to the den area with your new puppy out of his crate. Supervise their meeting and go back to through-the-gate/crate meetings if trouble arises.

We also provide our adults & puppies  
NuVet Plus®  daily insuring they have the best start in life! I highly recommend NuVet Plus®  to keep your pet on the path to continued health!

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Lucky Labs/ Melissa Laro
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