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Caring for your new dog or puppy

Congratulations on the addition of your new dog or puppy! Here’s what you need to know to take good care of your pet, according to Wendy Hauser, DVM, of the Coal Creek Veterinary Hospital, Centennial, Colo.

Dog or Puppy Care Sheet (pdf)

  • Premium quality dog food and treats for the right breed and size
  • Food and water bowls – ceramic and metal bowls clean up better
  • Safe toys – make sure there’s no lead paint or breakable parts
  • Dog brush and comb
  • Dog shampoo
  • Pooper scooper and biodegradable poop bags
  • Collar with license and ID tag
  • Leash 
  • Dog nail clippers
  • Carrier or crate
  • Dog bed
  • Dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste
  • Outdoor dog house
  • Make sure you have shaded areas outdoors
  • When you get your dog, take it to a veterinarian for a preventive care exam
  • Your dog should see a veterinarian at least once a year and when you think it might be sick
  • Ask your veterinarian for a dog food recommendation of what you should be feeding given your dog's lifestyle and lifestage
  • Ask your veterinarian for a regular heartworm preventive medication
  • Ask your veterinarian to microchip your dog so that your dog has a better chance of making back home if it gets lost
  • If your dog seems to be acting strangely, call your veterinarian right away
  • Never give your dog medicine unless it’s recommended by a veterinarian. Keep all poisons, like rat poison, away from your pet. If you think your pet has been poisoned, call your veterinarian.
  • To prevent health problems, females should be spayed and males should be neutered 6 months of age - dogs that are spayed/neutered don’t run away or fight as much
What to feed your puppy or dog
  • Adult dogs should eat premium-quality dry food. If you want, you can mix the dry food with water, low-salt broth or canned food
  • Dogs can eat fruits and vegetables – but never more than 10% of their daily diet. See below for a list of foods that shouldn’t be given to dogs.
  • Puppies need a high-quality puppy food
  • Avoid "people food” for all dogs and puppies
  • Dogs and puppies need clean, fresh water available at all times
When to feed
  • Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old: 3 meals a day
  • Puppies 3 to 6 months old: 2 meals a day
  • Puppies 6 months to 1 year: 2 meals a day
  • Dogs, 1 year or older: 2 meals a day
  • Large dogs: may need 3 meals a day
Dangers! Never give your dog....
  • Anything harder than your pet’s teeth. This includes cow bones, nylon bones and real bones. These can break a dog’s teeth.
  • House plants
  • T-shirts or knotted socks. If accidentally chewed apart and ingested, they can become “foreign bodies”, causing your pet to become very ill. 
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Moldy or spoiled food
  • Onions, garlic or chives
  • Poultry bones
  • Salty foods or salt
  • Tomato leaves or stems
  • Unripe fruit
  • Yeast dough
  • Nuts
  • Different dogs need different amounts of exercise. Some dogs need a lot. Some dogs get hurt if they exercise too much. Ask your veterinarian what’s best for your pet.
  • When walking your pet, be careful of ice or snow, deicer salt, or hot pavement
  • A trained dog is a happy dog! Contact your local humane society or veterinarian to find a training class, which is a good way to exercise and socialize your dog, while also providing mental stimulation!
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