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I’ve adopted a dog! Now what?

By Lynn Weisberg

You’ve fallen in love with a dog and now you’re taking him home. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Food and water: For the first few days, mix some of the dog’s SPA food with his new food. Feed a very young puppy three to four times per day; adults, preferably twice daily, but once daily is satisfactory. Water should always be available.

2. Sleeping: Have a crate for the puppy to sleep in or use a box with a door cut out for easy access. Place a towel or blanket inside. An adult dog likes a crate too, or a dog bed.

3. Safety-indoors: Securely close all areas containing cleaning liquids, powders, poisons, and medications. Note dangerous items in your house and prevent dog access.

4. Safety-outdoors: When your dog is outside by himself, make sure he is protected from the elements, his environment is secure, and that he has shade and water. He should always wear a nametag with your information on it. Walk on leash only.

5. Housetraining: Take your dog outside after eating and upon awakening (every one to two hours for puppies). You can also use newspaper and crate training methods. Reward him with praise, treats, and lots of love.

6. Be patient! Give your dog time to adjust. Use your voice and words for discipline – no hitting!

7. Health: When you leave the SPA, you will be given an appointment to bring your new pet in for a free follow-up visit. Keep track of all vaccination requirements. Use flea and heartworm preventative medication monthly. See the vet for any health concerns.

8. Play and bonding time: Spend time with your new pet! Pet him! Talk to him! Play with him! Enjoy him! Take him for regular walks. Meet others with possible playmates.

9. Additional puppy issues: A puppy may cry because he’s lonesome. Reassure him, but ignore the crying. It will soon stop. Have chew toys for your puppy. An old shirt with a knot is a good idea. They need to play. Try tug of war or throwing balls. Remind children to be gentle with the puppy. Puppies should not be left outside by themselves.

10. Other resources: has helpful dog-related videos. Search the Internet and library.

A Spanish version and longer English version of this checklist are available at the SPA. Una versión en español de esta lista está disponible en el SPA.


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