Puppies are members of the family. Just as
we do our best to look out for our children, we need to practice
safety precautions for our faithful, fun-loving dogs. Here
are tips to reduce the risk of harm to your puppy.
- Treat your puppy like a toddler. Both are
naturally curious and need your guidance to keep them out
of harm's way.
- Demonstrate just how much you love your
puppy by enrolling in a pet first-aid class. Contact your
local humane society or ASPCA shelter for a class in your
- Resist the temptation to share chocolate
chip cookies and milk with your puppy. Chocolate contains
theobromine, a stimulant related to caffeine that can create
a dangerous reaction in your dog. (Carob is a safe treat.)
As for milk, shy away from serving it, especially to puppies.
Their immature digestive systems cannot always properly
break down the ingredients.
- Provide your puppy with an expandable collar
so it doesn't cut into his skin as he grows. Harnesses can
be a better choice for small-necked dogs.
- Memorize this number: (900) 680-0000. It's
the hot line for the National Animal Poison Control Center.
You will be billed per call directly to your phone number,
but there is no time limit, or dial (888) 426-4435 to charge
the fee to a major credit card. Whichever phone option you
choose, rest assured that this hot line is open 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. Call (888) PETS-911 toll free
to contact the national pet emergency hot line, which is
staffed by trained professionals.
- Keep poisonous houseplants safely out of
your dog's reach. Poisonous household plants include azalea,
geraniums, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe,
and philodendron, among others. For a complete list of plants
poisonous to pets, check the Web
site of the Humane Society of the United States.
- Elevate your shampoo, conditioner, soap,
and razor out of paw and nose reach in your shower.
- Keep the lid down to prevent your puppy
from using the toilet as a drinking bowl. The water may
look clean, but it can harbor disease-causing bacteria.
- Use safety electrical cords that prevent
shocks or sparks if gnawed on.
- Wipe up and flush away any automotive spills
immediately. Keep your puppy indoors when you are changing
antifreeze or oil. Bring used antifreeze and oil to recycling
centers for proper disposal. Make sure your car has no coolant
leaks as the sweet smell and taste may attract your puppy.
- Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such
as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and
fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.
- Insect control products, such as the insecticides
used in many over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, may
be toxic. Prescription flea and tick control products are
much safer and more effective. Pet owners should never use
any product without first consulting a veterinarian.
- Human medications such as pain killers
(including aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen), cold
medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins,
and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medication
containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets
who could chew through them, and be vigilant about finding
and disposing of any dropped pills.
- Leftovers such as chicken bones easily
shatter and can choke your dog. Other human foods to avoid
include onions and onion powder, alcoholic beverages, yeast
dough, coffee grounds and beans, salt, macadamia nuts, leaves
and stems from tomatos, potatoes, and rhubarb. Anything
with mold growing on it should never be given to your puppy.
- Rawhide doggie chews may be contaminated
with Salmonella, which can infect pets and humans who come
in contact with the chews. These kinds of chews should be
offered to a pet only with supervision, as they can pose
a choking hazard as well.
- String, yarn, rubber bands, and even dental
floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages
- Toys with removable partslike squeaky
toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyescan pose
a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with
pets as you would with a small child.
- Traveling - If you decide to take your
puppy with you, you'll need to have all of the supplies
necessary to keep your puppy comfortable while he's away
from home, and you'll need to familiarize yourself with
any pet-related restrictions or requirements imposed by
airlines, destination countries or states, hotels, etc.
If a friend or relative is going to take care of your puppy,
be sure that your pet is comfortable with the temporary
caretaker, not to mention any pets that person has.
If you choose to board your pet, get references and inspect
the kennel. Your veterinarian or local shelter can help
you select a facility.
If you are hiring a pet sitter, interview the candidates
and check their references.
Be sure to provide the caretaker with the telephone number
where you can be reached, the name and telephone number
of your veterinarian, and your puppy's medical or dietary