FAQ: Your Dog
Here are the answers to just a few of the questions most commonly posed by dog owners.
1. What supplies do I need to have on hand before I bring my new puppy home?
The first thing you’ll need is a travel crate for your dog’s trip home. You’ll also need to buy some high quality puppy food and bowls for food and water. Your vet, breeder or shelter personnel can tell you which brands of food are the best. Other items you’ll need to get in advance of the new puppy’s arrival are: an adjustable collar, a leash, toys and bedding. Don’t forget to make an appointment with your veterinarian for your puppy’s first check-up!
2. What is crate training and how do I do it?
Crate training is a method by which your dog is taught to stay in a crate within your house for prolonged periods of time. This is an especially useful technique for dogs that would otherwise tear up the house when left alone. The best time to start crate training is when your dog is still a puppy. Leave him in the open crate for brief periods of time at first and then begin closing the door behind him. Make sure that your puppy’s crate experience is always positive by giving him treats and rewards whenever he enters the crate. Once he is comfortable, you can leave him in the crate for increasing periods of time - give him his meals there as well. Never use the crate as punishment. You want your dog to feel that his crate is a safe refuge, not a prison. Furthermore, the crate is a place where your dog can go to feel safe and secure while you and your family are away from home for a few hours. When you’re home, your dog should be out of his crate and socializing with his human family.
3. How do microchips work?
A microchip is a very tiny device that is injected underneath the dog’s skin, usually at the neck. If your dog is lost, then any veterinarian or shelter can use a scanner to read the information on the microchip and then return the dog to you. Do you need to microchip your dog? If you are always with your dog, then a microchip might not be necessary. However, given that the implantation procedure is such a safe and simple one, you really should consider it. Even the most closely guarded dogs can get away from their owners.
4. How can I tell if my dog has worms?
Some of the most common worms that a dog can potentially have are: heartworms, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms and whipworms. All can cause internal irritation and damage to your dog, but heartworms can be fatal. So, it is very important that your veterinarian routinely test your dog for these. Your vet will take a stool sample from your dog and look for worms under a microscope. Of course, if you see what you think are worms or worm pieces in your dog’s stool, get him to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.
5. Why should I get my dog fixed?
Unless you plan to professionally breed your dog, you should get him or her neutered or spayed (fixed). Pet overpopulation is an extremely serious problem in the United States. There are just not enough homes for all of the puppies and kittens born each year; and, as a result, over 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually. Don’t let your dog contribute to the overpopulation problem – have it fixed! Spaying and neutering procedures are routine and pose very few health risks for your dog. If there are no complications, your dog can usually come home on the same day.
In addition to its being an effective pet population control measure, spaying and neutering can also benefit your dog’s health. If you have your dog neutered or spayed before it reaches 6 months of age, then its risk of developing certain types of cancers and infections will be cut in half.
6. Why should I take my dog to obedience school?
Every dog should go through some form of obedience training. Obedience training not only allows you to get your pet to do what he’s commanded to do, it teaches you to communicate effectively with your pet and get the best out of him all the time. Obedience training also helps socialize your pet, as he is taught to remain calm in a room full of unfamiliar people and dogs.