Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bringing Your Puppy Home

If you've decided to bring our Chow Chow home, that's not enough. You need to get your house ready for him. You're going to have things to do around the house. After all pups are so much like babies, what with wanting to explore all parts of your house.

But how do you know your house is safe and ready for your chow Chow. Check for these:

Clear your house of poisonous items: Have you cleared your house of all poisonous items and taken them out of your pup's reach? If you haven't, now's the time to put away cleaners, laundry detergents, bleach, disinfectants, insecticides, cleaning fluid, fertilizers, mothballs and antifreeze in cabinets or high up on shelves. Of course, as he grows, and if he has an adventurous streak, he's sure to jump high on to your shelves to find out what's where.

Uproot all life-threatening plants: Do you have life-threatening plants at home? Even apricot pits, spinach and tomato vines are dangerous to your pup. You can also ask your vet for more such plants that could affect your pet's health and life. Or if you're not sure if the plant your pup has eaten is poisonous or not, visit http://vet.purdue.edu/depts/addl/toxic/cover1.htm or a detailed listing of poisonous houseplants. Or if he has already been poisoned with the wrong plant, contact the Animal Poison Control Center 888-4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435). For $45, the center can save your puppy, so it's well worth trying.

Put away dangerous objects: Are electrical cords hanging or loose nails lying around? If there are such dangerous objects lying around, pick them up and put them away.

Supervise him: Don't let your pup be by himself unsupervised whether inside or outside the house. Also, remember to keep him away from balconies, upper porches and high decks or he may just slip through the openings and fall.

Keep our toilet covered: Puppies sometimes like to play in the toilet bowl water. This is harmful for him as he may swallow the toilet cleanser.

Get sharp objects out of the way: Put away all sharp objects such as sharp twine, sewing needles and pins far away from your puppy's reach, because if he swallows these objects, he can harm his mouth and internal organs.

Don't tie ribbons round his neck: Or he may chew it and this can lead to digestive problems or choke himself if the ribbon gets caught in something.

If he's a plant nibbler: If he tends to nibble on grass, don't worry, this is natural. But if he takes this habit forward and nibbles on certain other plants, he may just grow sick or die.

Dog supplies to buy before your pet arrives: Have you bought a few musts for your pup? He's going to need the following supplies:

Food and water bowls: Select solid and stable bowls that won't tip over when he eats or drinks out of it. Are they easy to clean? Buy one each for food and water. Initially, buy small bowls and then as he grows older, buy him larger ones. If you do this he won't overeat for his age nor will he fall into his water bowl whenever he goes over to drink.

Collar: True, there is a large variety of lightweight collars available for your puppy. No matter which one you choose, attach an identification tag with your puppy’s name, your address and phone number.

Let his first collar be of lightweight nylon or leather. To measure his neck correctly, measure his neck size and add two inches to it. To be sure that the collar fits properly, slide two fingers between his collar and your pup's neck. If it’s a snug fit, the size is right. But if there’s room left over, you need a smaller size, and if your fingers don’t fit comfortably, the collar size is way too small. Your pup may take a little while adjusting to his collar, so give him this time to get used to it.

Leash: Leashes too come in many lengths and styles, such as leather, nylon and retractable. If you buy a six-foot leash it would serve both as a leash for training and walking.

Always keep your puppy on a leash unless he is in your fenced-in yard. In many parts of the U.S., leash laws prevail, making it mandatory to keep your puppy on his leash at all times. If he’s unleashed, he may be fined or if he dirties a park by soiling, you will be expected to clean up after him.

Grooming supplies: Grooming him means investing in a number of tools but this will depend on the breed you buy and his coat length. For shorthaired breeds, buy a brush with natural bristles, rubber currycomb or a hand mitt, sturdy wide-toothed metal comb, flea comb and a mat splitter are needed for longhaired breeds.

Toys: To exercise your pup, buy him a few toys, as this will help him exercise and get over their chewing cravings. Choose toys specifically designed for pups—ones that can’t be splintered, torn or swallowed. What’s fun and safe to have are rawhide chips, nylon chews and hard rubber balls. And, if they don’t fit comfortably in his mouth, it’s not right for him.

Puppy food: Give him his essential nutritive foods and get him used to a feeding schedule.

Crate or sleeping bed: Fix his sleeping area in a warm and comfortable place. A crate serves very well as a den in your absence from the house. A crate may either a portable and enclosed in plastic or a wire crate. It should be large enough for him to stand up and turn around in and lie down too and should be airy.

When you buy an adult-sized crate, also buy partitions or place a cardboard box in the back to serve as a cozy space for him. Apart from the crate, set up a sleeping area for him for the time you are at home. Buy a puppy-sized bed instead of an adult-sized bed, so that he is safe and snug.

Stain remover and scent: To take the odor away from his nose, buy a stain and scent remover.

Book on puppy care: This is most important for you in your pup’s growing days.

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