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Have you puppy-proofed your home? Make sure that you remove, hide or cover anything and everything that can be of danger. Important things to look for include: shoes, electrical cords, laundry detergent, bleach, antifreeze and cleaning fluids. Certain houseplants are also dangerous: lilies, philodendrons, poinsettias and dieffenbachia are poisonous for puppies. And lastly, make sure your puppy has a safe place to play outside where he is never left unattended!

Regular puppy grooming helps your dog look great and makes him easier for your veterinarian to handle. Daily brushing helps remove dead hair, dirt and parasites that collect in your puppy's hair. Wipe away dried tear stains which are not only unsightly, but can also be a hot bed for dirt and bacteria that are potentially harmful to your pet's eyes. Two products which can be purchased from pet stores are Eye Pads and Eye Solution. These products can also be used in grimy and inflamed lip folds by the mouth. Nail trimming every 2-3 weeks makes your dog more comfortable and helps protect your belongings, too. Many vets recommend regular home dental care to help prevent periodontal disease. Bathe your puppy about every 2 weeks, unless they get dirty or smelly. Over bathing can cause dry skin. Use a shampoo made for puppies. Always protect your pet's eyes prior to bathing, dipping, grooming, and tear stain removal or when placing flea and tick products on your pet. Sterile Petrolatum protective ointment, found in pet stores, is also good for dogs suffering from dry eye syndrome. So, start grooming your puppy right at the beginning, making each session enjoyable by using treats, toys, and lots and lots of praise and affection.

When watching your puppy play, it's hard to believe that such a little animal can have so much energy. That is why puppies have special nutritional needs. Not only do they need fuel for fun, they also need fuel to grow for up to 24 months, depending on the breed. Once fed only by their mother's milk, your puppy now depends on you to provide the quality nutrition he needs to thrive.

Your puppy requires the same basic ingredients as an adult dog, but due to his rapid growth, he'll need these nutrients in large quantities. They have to be concentrated and specially formulated, since his stomach is still developing and can't digest the nutrients as efficiently as an older dog.

Select the best quality puppy food you can find and stick with it. Many of the low-end foods contain non-nutritious fillers that are safe but increase the number of daily eliminations. Sudden changes in diet should also be avoided.

House Training
Punishing a puppy for having an "accident" doesn't work. Did you know that dogs have a natural instinct to relieve themselves away from their living quarters? That's good to know, because no facet of dog ownership makes dog owners more nervous or is more misunderstood than house training. Correct elimination is a behavior, just like lying down, rolling over or sitting. The same rules that apply to tricks and obedience behaviors apply to house training. Positive reinforcement for correct behavior is the best way to develop and control your pup's education.

The 12 Golden Rules of Responsible Dog Ownership

  1. Love, admire and respect your dog as your companion and as an individual. Your dog is a wonderful, beautiful and intelligent member of the canine species. Be patient with him. Don't hurt, abandon or ignore him.

  2. Consult your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your dog if you know you will not breed him. Neutering helps to control the severe pet population problem and also has health benefits for both male and female dogs.

  3. Provide regular veterinary care for your dog. Annual vaccinations, checkups and dental exams are essential to good health.

  4. Obtain a license and place identification on your dog. Rabies vaccination and licensing are required by law in most states. In addition, you should identify your dog with a name tag, tattoo or computer chip in case he gets lost.

  5. Feed your dog a balanced diet and provide fresh water at all times.

  6. Train your dog to have good manners.

  7. Keep your dog clean and groomed. Regular grooming keeps your dog looking his best and helps to detect and control skin parasites that could be passed to people.

  8. Play with your dog at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. Avoid chase games, tug of war and wrestling.

  9. Exercise your dog at least 30 minutes daily.

  10. Provide your dog with a chance to socialize with people and other dogs. Do not leave him cooped up in the house or yard -- it leads to barking and aggressive behavior.

  11. Know and obey local leash laws.

  12. Always clean up after your dog in public places.


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