Animal Poison Control Emergency Treatment 24-Hour Hotlines:
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
1-888-4-ANI-HELP or 1-888-426-4435
Well-balanced dog food and treats
Be careful when feeding your dog human food
Realize that certain human foods can hurt or kill a dog.
Dog’s bodies can’t always metabolize foods like we can.
Don’t give your dog:
These are all toxic to dogs.
Keeping Your Puppy Healthy
Being heavy can shorten a dog’s life span by 2 years.
Heavy dogs are at risk for:
Urinary Bladder Stones
Talk with a vet about the ideal weight for your dog and feed him accordingly.
Low Calorie Treats like:
Canned Green Beans (rinsed)
Small Slices Of Cooked Sweet Potatoes
Clean the water bowl with dish soap and water. Rinse and dry the container before refilling with fresh water.
Bacteria and algae can grow in the bowl, especially during warm weather. In freezing temperatures, you’ll need to keep the bowl from freezing.
Grooming Your Dog
Groom your dog regularly. Brush your dog’s coat to keep it shiny and healthy. This will also encourage good circulation. Note any new lumps, bumps, or cysts on the skin and bring them to your veterinarian’s attention. Scabs, redness, or itchy skin should also be addressed by a veterinarian.
Grooming is also a good time to check for skin conditions like fleas, ticks, and mites.
Clip your dog’s nails. While it may take a little time for you dog to get used to, clipping the nails can become a routine part of grooming. Just be careful not to trim the “quick,” the part of the nail that contains sensitive blood vessels and nerves.
If you aren’t sure how to clip the nails, have your veterinarian technician show you how to clip your dog’s nails
Or go to our page on clipping dog’s nails.
Check your dog’s ears. The ears shouldn’t smell or have any discharge. The inner part of the ear should be a whitish color; but some dark colored dogs may have dark colored inner ears. Flip the ear over to inspect it. It should be clear of dirt, debris, or parasites like ticks. Plant material can sometimes work their way into the ear. These should be carefully removed.
If your dog has floppy type ears, they should be checked daily, otherwise check them regularly.
Clean your dog’s ears. Use a product specifically made to clean dog’s ears or use a solution of half white vinegar and half rubbing alcohol. Saturate a cotton ball with the fluid and gently wipe out the dog’s ear. If blood appears on the cotton ball stop cleaning and consult your veterinarian.
Shaking the head excessively, scratching or pawing at the ear, odor, or discharge (waxy, fluid, or brown) is not normal. If you think your dog has an ear infection or other ear problem, take him to the vet.
Caring For Your Dog
Your dog shelter. Most people with pet dogs chose to keep them in the house with the family. If you do keep your dog outside, provide an insulated dog house, warm bedding for cold climates, shade for warm climates, food, and water (that won’t freeze or stagnate). Never chain your dog, since this could cause leg or neck injuries.
Don’t keep your dog outside if he hasn’t acclimated to weather extremes. It is considered negligence to keep a dog outside without proper shelter. If you can’t shelter your dog correctly, keep him inside or don’t get a dog in the first place.
Plenty Of Exercise. Depending on your dog’s breed, this could be anything from a 10-15 minute walk per day to a good hour romp in the park. A fun game of fetch or Frisbee can also be physically challenging to very active dogs. Playing or walking is a great chance for you to bond with your dog.
Exercise and playing can cut back on bad behavior, like tearing things up around the house, inappropriate chewing, and aggression. It will also keep your dog’s weight down and his body healthy.
Socialize your dog. Once he’s gotten all his important first vaccinations, socialize him. This means carefully introducing him to people, other animals and dogs, and situations outside the immediate home environment. Getting used to riding in the car, walking around the neighborhood and dog parks are great ways to introduce him to people and other dogs.
As long as the dog isn’t scared or threatened he will get used to these situations. The more unique social situations you expose your dog to when he’s young, the better.
Take your dog to the veterinarian. Schedule yearly examinations so you dog can get important tests and vaccinations done. Your vet will also get to know your dog and will be able to tell if something’s wrong with his health. Regular check-ups can prevent many treatable diseases.
If you have a puppy, take it to the vet around 6 weeks old. The puppy will be checked for hernias, heart, lung, eye, and ear problems. The puppy will also be put on a preventative de-worming schedule and given important early shots and boosters
Get your dog vaccinated. The rabies vaccination should be given around 12 weeks and is required in many areas. You might be severely penalized if you haven’t vaccinated your dog and he nips or bites a person or another pet. Consider vaccinating your dog against Lyme disease. This disease causes joint pain, swelling, fever, and possibly fatal kidney disease.
Dogs that spend a lot of time outside, live on farms, or hunt are at increased risk of getting this tick-borne disease.
Consider spaying or neutering your dog. Spaying or neutering your dog can reduce some behavioral problems and decrease the chance of certain tumors and infections. If you spay or neuter your dog, you won’t need to worry about caring for or placing unwanted puppies.
Is also encouraged in case your dog ever becomes lost.
Monitor and prevent fleas. Watch for signs of fleas on your dog: dark specks in the fur, lots of licking and scratching, or scabs on the skin. Once you’ve found fleas on your dog, you have several options. See your vet for an oral medication, wash your dog with flea shampoo, and put a flea collar on your dog.
Flea collars and monthly skin treatments are good ways to prevent fleas in the first place. Talk with your vet about a regular flea prevention routine
Have your dog tested for heartworm. A yearly blood test is needed to check for this widespread disease. Heartworm is spread by mosquito bites so it’s hard to prevent. Instead, a monthly tablet or a shot which lasts for up to 6 months is used to kill any organisms present in the blood stream.
If your dog does get heartworm disease, there is a treatment but it is hard on him, expensive, and can take months to combat.
Healthy eyes. Mucus and watery tears are normal but should be minimal and clear. The pink lining of the eyelids should not be inflamed, swollen, or have a yellow discharge. Sometimes you can see your dog’s third eyelid, a light membrane, at the inside corner of an eye. It may slowly come up to cover his eye as he goes to sleep. The whites of your dog’s eyes should not be yellowish. Eyelashes should not rub the eyeball.
Healthy skin is flexible and smooth, without scabs, growths, white flakes, or red areas. It ranges in color from pale pink to brown or black depending on the breed. Spotted skin is normal, whether the dog has a spotted or solid coat. Check your dog for fleas, ticks, lice, or other external parasites. To do this, blow gently on your dog’s stomach or brush hair backward in a few places to see if any small specks scurry away or if ticks are clinging to the skin. Black “dirt” on your dog’s skin or bedding may be a sign of flea droppings.
A healthy coat, whether short or long, is glossy and pliable, without dandruff, bald spots, or excessive oiliness.
The skin inside your dog’s ears should be light pink and clean.
There should be some yellow or brownish wax, but a large amount of wax or crust is abnormal. There should be no redness or swelling inside the ear, and your dog shouldn’t scratch his ears or shake his head frequently. Dogs with long ears that hang down may need extra attention to keep the ears dry and clean inside and out.
A dog’s nose is usually cool and moist. It can be black, pink, or self-colored (the same color as the coat), depending on the breed. Nasal discharge should be clear, never yellowish, thick, bubbly, or foul smelling. A cool, wet nose does not necessarily mean the dog is healthy, and a dry, warm nose doesn’t necessarily mean he’s sick. Taking his temperature is a better indication of illness.
A dog’s normal temperature is 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celcius). To take your dog’s temperature, you’ll need a rectal thermometer. Put some petroleum jelly on the bulb of the thermometer. Ask someone to hold your dog’s head while you lift his tail and insert the thermometer about an inch or so into the rectum. Do not let go of the thermometer. Hold it in until the temperature is read (about 3 minutes for a mercury thermometer), and then remove gently.
Providing Routine Health Care
First Aid Kit.
Cotton swabs, balls, and rolls
Forceps or tweezers
Kwik Stop powder
Sterile gauze, both rolls and pads
Syringe with the needle removed (for giving liquid medication)
Syrup of Ipecac
Triple antibiotic cream or ointment
Alert your veterinarian
If these symptoms, arise:
Loss of balance
Straining To Urinate
Persistent Scratching At Eyes
Persistent Scratching At Ears
Thick Discharge From Eyes
Thick Discharge From Ears
Thick Discharge From Nose
Thick Discharge From Sores
Whining For No Apparent Reason
Loss Of Appetite For 24 Hours Or More
Dramatic Increase In Appetite For 24 Hours Or More
Unusual Lack Of Activity
Protecting Part Of The Body
Excessive Drinking Of Water
When The Dogs Gums Are White