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Tips for a New Dog Owner

By Lynn Weisberg

You’ve fallen in love with a dog (like Simba or Apollo), adopted him, 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 3–4 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 he has shade and water. Walk on-leash only. He should always wear a name tag with your information on it. Better yet, for 50 pesos (no renewal fee or expiration), enroll him in the Green Paws Registration Program at the SPA which sets up a vehicle whereby lost animals can be reunited with their owners.

5. Housetraining: Take your dog outside after eating and upon awakening (every 1–2 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 in your new pet 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. The crying will soon stop. Have chew toys for your puppy. An old shirt with a knot works. 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, Los Pinos 7 and here: Una versión en español de esta lista está disponible en el SPA. If you have any problems or questions, please call us (152 6124) and we’ll be happy to help!


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