ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS   Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
puppy and kitten
Basic Dog Care

The annual cost of a small dog—including food, veterinary care, toys and license—is
$420. Make that $620 for a medium dog and $780 for a large pooch. This figure
doesn’t include capital expenses for spay/neuter surgery, collar and leash, carrier
and crate.

Note: Make sure you have all your supplies (see checklist in side bar) before you
bring your dog home.

Basic Care

- Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day.
- Feed puppies three to six months old three meals a day.
- Feed puppies six months to one year two meals a day.
- When your dog reaches his first birthday, one meal a day is usually enough.
- For some dogs, including larger canines or those prone to bloat, it's better to feed
two smaller meals.

Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet for adult dogs and may be
mixed with water, broth or canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked
egg, fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than ten
percent of his daily food intake.

Puppies should be fed a high-quality puppy food. Clean, fresh water should be
available at all times, and be sure to wash food and water dishes frequently. Read
the article:
Feeding Puppies and Kittens

Dogs need exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds, and keep healthy.
Exercise also tends to help dogs avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive
behaviors. Supervised fun and games will satisfy many of your pet's instinctual urges
to dig, herd, chew, retrieve and chase.

Individual exercise needs vary based on breed or breed mix, sex, age and level of
health—but a couple of walks around the block every day and ten minutes in the
backyard probably won’t cut it. If your dog is a 6- to 18-month adolescent, or if she is
an active breed or mixed-breed from the sporting, herding, hound or terrier groups,
her requirements will be relatively high.

You can help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding with frequent brushing.
Check for fleas and ticks daily during warm weather. Most dogs don't need to be
bathed more than a few times a year. Before bathing, comb or cut out all mats from
the coat. Carefully rinse all soap out of the coat, or the dirt will stick to soap residue.

Small dogs (lap dogs) are the easiest to handle. To carry a puppy or small dog, place
one hand under the dog's chest, with either your forearm or other hand supporting
the hind legs and rump. Never attempt to lift or grab your puppy or small dog by the
forelegs, tail or back of the neck. If you do have to lift a large dog, lift from the
underside, supporting his chest with one arm and his rear end with the other.

Your pet needs a warm, quiet place to rest, away from all drafts and off the floor. A
training crate is ideal. You may wish to buy a dog bed, or make one out of a wooden
box. Place a clean blanket or pillow inside the bed. Wash the dog's bedding often. If
your dog will be spending a lot of time outdoors, be sure she has access to shade
and plenty of cool water in hot weather, and a warm, dry, covered shelter when it's

Licensing and Identification
Follow your community’s licensing regulations. Be sure to attach the license to your
dog’s collar. This, along with an ID tag and implanted microchip or tattoo, can help
secure your dog’s return should he become lost.

Behavior Information

A well-behaved companion canine is a joy. But left untrained, your dog can cause
nothing but trouble. Teaching your dog the basics—"Sit," "Stay," "Come," "Down,"
"Heel," "Off" and "Leave it"—will improve your relationship with both your dog and
your neighbors. If you have a puppy, start teaching him his manners as soon as
possible! Use little bits of food as a lure and reward. Puppies can be enrolled in
obedience courses when they have been adequately vaccinated. Contact your local
humane society or SPCA for training class recommendations.

You should always keep your puppy or dog on a leash in public. Just be sure your
pet will come to you at all times whenever you say the word. A dog who is
disobedient or aggressive is not ready to play with others.

Your dog should see the veterinarian for a full check-up, shots and a heartworm
blood test every year, and immediately if he is sick or injured.

Dental Health
After a professional cleaning, the teeth and gums may be maintained in a healthy
state by brushing the teeth regularly, feeding a specially formulated dental diet and
treats, and avoiding table scraps. Your veterinarian can give you more tips on
minimizing dental disease and bad breath.

You can clean your canine’s teeth with a dog toothpaste or a baking-soda-and-water
paste once or twice a week. Use a child's soft toothbrush, a gauze pad or a piece of
nylon pantyhose stretched over your finger.

Some dogs are prone to periodontal disease, a pocket of infection between the
tooth and the gum. This painful condition can result in tooth loss and spread
infection to the rest of the body. Veterinarians can clean the teeth as a regular part
of your dog's health program.

Bad Breath
Bad breath is most commonly an indication that your dog is in need of a dental check
up. Dental plaque caused by bacteria results in a foul smell that requires
professional treatment. While bad breath caused by dental disease may not be too
serious if caught early enough, some odors may be indicative of fairly serious, chronic
problems. Liver or intestinal diseases may cause foul breath, whereas a sweet, fruity
smell may be indicative of diabetes. If your dog’s breath smells like ammonia or
urine, kidney disease is a possibility. Any time you notice your pet has bad breath
accompanied by other signs of ill health, such as loss of appetite, vomiting, weight
loss, depression, excessive drinking or urinating, schedule a visit to the veterinarian.

Fleas and Ticks
Daily inspections of your dog for fleas and ticks during the warm seasons are
important. Use a flea comb to find and remove fleas. There are several new methods
of flea and
tick control. Speak to your veterinarian about these and other options.

This parasite lives in the heart and is passed from dog to dog by mosquitoes.
Heartworm infections can be fatal. Your dog should have a blood test for heartworm
every spring—this is crucial for detecting infections from the previous year. A once-a-
month pill given during mosquito season will protect your dog. If you travel south
with your pet during the winter, your dog should be on the preventive medicine
during the trip. In some warmer regions, veterinarians recommend preventive
heartworm medication throughout the year.

Medicines and Poisons
Never give your dog medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. For
example, did you know that one regular-strength ibuprofen tablet can cause
stomach ulcers in a ten-pound dog? Keep rat poison and other rodenticides away
from your pet.
If you suspect that your animal has ingested a poisonous substance,
call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for 24-hour animal
poison information at (888) 426-4435.

Spaying and Neutering
Females should be spayed—the removal of the ovaries and uterus—and males
neutered—removal of the testicles—by six months of age. Spaying before maturity
significantly reduces the risk of breast cancer, a common and frequently fatal disease
of older female dogs. Spaying also eliminates the risk of an infected uterus, a very
serious problem in older females that requires surgery and intensive medical care.
Neutering males prevents testicular and prostate diseases, some hernias and
certain types of aggression.

- Puppies should be vaccinated with a combination vaccine (called a “5-in-1”) at two,
three and four months of age, and then once annually. This vaccine protects the
puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. A
puppy's vaccination program cannot be finished before four months of age.
- If you have an unvaccinated dog older than four or five months, he will need a
series of two vaccinations given two to three weeks apart, followed by a yearly
- Puppy vaccination and socialization should go together. Many veterinarians
recommend that new owners take their puppies to socialization classes, beginning
at 8 to 9 weeks of age. At this age, they should have received at least their first
series of vaccines. Learn more about the importance of puppy socialization.

Since laws vary, contact a local veterinarian for information on rabies vaccination.
There are a variety of vaccines that may or may not be appropriate for your pet. Your
veterinarian can tell you about them.

Dogs are commonly exposed to worms and possible infestation—even in urban
areas. Microscopic eggs produced by intestinal worms are passed in an infected dog’
s feces. Most puppies, even from healthy mothers in good homes, carry roundworms
or hookworms.

The key to treatment is correct diagnosis. This will ensure that the medication is
effective against the parasite your pet has. A dewormer that eliminates roundworms,
for example, will not kill tapeworms. Your veterinarian can best determine the
culprit—and prescribe the appropriate medication.
Dog Supply Checklist
- Premium-quality dog food
and treats
- Food dish
- Water bowl
- Toys, toys and more
toys, including safe chew
- Brush & comb for
grooming, including flea
- Collar with license and ID
- Leash
- Carrier (for smaller dogs)
- Training crate
- Dog bed or box with
warm blanket or towel
- Dog toothbrush
Dog Facts
- The nose knows! Your
dog can detect odors
about a billion times better
than you can.
- The average lifespan of a
dog varies from 8 to 16
years, depending on breed
type, size, genetics and
Stoop and Scoop

If your dog defecates on a
neighbor's lawn, the sidewalk
or any other public place,
please clean it up.
Dog waste is a public health
hazard, takes the pleasure
out of outdoor activities
and pollutes the
communities now have strict
"stoop and scoop"