Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun adventure, but you must not forget about your puppies safety. From toxic foods to deadly viruses, we believe it's extremely important that puppy owners know this information so they can protect their puppy after it leaves our care. The following paragraphs cover some important safety tips that puppy owners should implement.
Your puppy will not be protected against deadly viruses like Parvo or Distemper until they receive their full course of vaccinations (around 16-20 weeks of age). Viruses like Parvo are both very serious and widespread in dogs. Signs include severe vomiting and diarrhea with blood, result from the virus damaging the gastrointestinal tract. Death in as early as 48 to 72 hours can occur in some dogs. It is particularly deadly in young puppies with up to an 80% fatality rate. This virus is very resistant in the environment and is easily carried around on people's shoes and other objects, leading to virus transfer. Proper vaccination is the most effective protective strategy for all dogs, young and old. Even some fully vaccinated dogs can still contract these deadly viruses. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, you must take serious precautions to protect them from deadly viruses. Please avoid any public spaces and quarantine your puppy to your own home, private properties, or homes with vaccinated animals. Although it may seem fun to take your puppy shopping with you or out for a walk on a public street, you are putting their life at risk. Many people want to take their puppy out in public to experience the sounds, smells, and sights, so the best way to do this safety with an unvaccinated puppy is to get a puppy stroller or to carry your puppy. Remember to keep all four paws off the floor at all times! Even when your puppy is fully vaccinated and they are able to get out in the public, it's a good idea to train your puppy to wear doggy boots, so they aren't tracking home potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites on their paws. Another important tip is to make sure your puppy doesn't have access to sniff or lick your outdoor shoes. You can also purchase a virucide spray to wipe down anything your puppy might be in contact with from the store. A virucidal cleaner that we like is the pink Virkon. It comes in a powder or tablet form that you dissolve in water, just make sure you get the regular pink Virkon and you don't get the yellow Virkon S, as it is a much harsher agriculture level cleaner. Regular Virkon is an extremely safe cleaner that has the ability to kill viruses like Parvo, and the icing on the cake is that is smells like pink lemonade. You can find this cleaner at your local Peavey Mart in the livestock section. Another option we use for sanitizing is to get a steam cleaner. Hand held steam cleaners work great for cleaning things like fabric toys, dog beds, etc.
ALWAYS KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH IN PUBLIC SPACES
Even if your dog is well trained and well behaved, always keep him or her on a leash in public spaces. Dogs may get distracted by unexpected noises or activities and may be drawn to something further away from you. Just imagine what could happen if your dog darts across a busy street. Never approach another dog with your dog unless you ask the owner if it's okay and if their dog is friendly. Not every dog is approachable, and it is your responsibility to make sure that both you and the other owner have a mutual understanding before approaching one another.
BEWARE OF POISONOUS PLANTS
Be careful when choosing house plants or landscaping your yard that the plants are pet friendly. Even when bringing bouquets of flowers into your home, make sure they are pet friendly. Flowers such as Daffodils, Tulips, Poinsettias, Hydrangeas, Chrysanthemums, Baby's Breath, and Peonies are toxic to dogs.
BEWARE OF PARASITES
Even if your dog is fully vaccinated, they can still pick up stuff on walks or at a dog park, etc. Dog parks are full of parasites and dangerous viruses, so beware and take precautions if you plan to take your puppy out in public. Your puppy's vaccinations won't protect them against every contagious canine virus. Your puppy can also pick up parasites by sniffing or licking poop, or even just drinking water from a contaminated water source such as a puddle, pond, or lake. Giardia and Coccidia are parasites that attack the intestinal lining. Coccidia and Giardia can cause a puppy to get severely sick with symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and bloating. Because puppies have undeveloped immune systems, Coccidia and Giardia can be especially dangerous to them and can cause them to need supportive care such as fluid therapy and anti-parasitic medication at a vet clinic, which can mean a very expensive vet bill. Take precautions by stopping your puppy from sniffing other dog's poop on walks, and brining clean water with you. Also be very careful as to not let your dog drink from water sources with blue-green algae, such as lakes or ponds, as blooms of blue-green algae can be toxic to canines and most often fatal.
BEWARE OF TOXIC FOODS
We recommend not feeding your dog table scraps, but many pet owners can't resist a puppy dog face, so it's a good idea to make sure the food is safe for a dog to ingest. Some of the most dangerous human foods for dogs are chocolate, avocados, coffee, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes/raisins, onions/chives, cooked bones, some nuts, marijuana, rhubarb, mushrooms, and gum. Please do a google search to check if a food is dog safe before feeding table scraps. Be careful of Nicotine as even cigarette butts can be deadly to your dog. Also, DO NOT let your dog chew on cooked bones. They might seem like a tasty treat for your pet, but cooked bones can splinter and wreak havoc on your dog's intestinal tract, which can lead to a very expensive surgery and could even be fatal.
PUPPY PROOF YOUR HOME
Puppies love to get into trouble, so make sure your house is puppy proofed. Make sure your puppy cannot chew on electrical chords or other dangerous hazards around your home. Keep cleaning supplies in high cabinets, put all medications away, and keep toilet lids closed. Keep all small or sharp objects out of your puppies reach. Puppies are attracted to the smell of your trashcan, which may upset their stomach. They could ingest something toxic if they can get access to your garbage. Many puppies have died being suffocate by something as simple as an empty chip bag because they get their head stuck while playing with it. Move poisonous house plants so your dog can't get at them. Sometimes baby gates and room dividers can be useful as containing your puppy to part of your house. Unless your puppy is in a secure play pen or their crate, they need to be supervised by someone, because trust me, they can get into more trouble than you can imagine, lol.
TRAVELLING WITH YOUR DOG
Travelling with your dog can be a fun adventure, but make sure they are travelling safely in your vehicle. A loose dog can be ejected from a car during an accident or sudden stop. Dogs can become 'catapults' that get thrown through the windshield, or over the seat and collide with the driver or passengers. This can cause serious injury or death to the dog or the humans. There are several options for keeping your dog restrained while in a vehicle. Travel crates are arguably the safest option and can be secured in your vehicle. They keep your dog contained and prevent them from running around the vehicle and distracting the driver. Dog seat belts are another convenient way to secure your dog in your vehicle. Never use a dog seat belt with a collar, only use a seatbelt with a properly fitted harness. Some people will purchase a dog barrier to keep their dog contained to the back of their vehicle. Please follow safety guidelines when driving with your dog.
FIRST AID KIT
It's a good idea to buy a first aid kit for your dog or make one yourself. Although you should always take your dog to the vet for emergency care, it is useful to know how to respond and have the equipment to treat your dog in an emergency prior to getting to the vet. Having a pet first aid kit on hand is always a good idea for any pet owner.
A little google search can be very useful for all pet owners. Wether it be a new dog toy for your pet or a bouquet of flowers you put on your kitchen table, knowing what is dangerous can save you heartache and money. And remember, just because a product is sold in a pet store does not mean it's necessarily pet-friendly.