Here are some helpful tips on bringing your new dog home, dog socialization, training tips, dog body language and etiquette, dog and family safety and dog safety. Please use these tips as guidelines only, if you have any questions regarding your dogs health or behavior, please consult a veterinary, professional trainer or dog behaviorist.

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Getting a new dog is an extremely rewarding experience, but just like bringing any pet home there’s going to be an adjustment period. And like us our dogs love having a routine, so being consistent during the first few will be an important part of helping your dog adjust.

Whether you just got a new puppy or adopted an older dog you can expect them to take a few days to settle in. These tips will help make that transition easier on your dog. Here’s how to help your new dog adjust to your home.

How to Help Your New Dog Adjust to Your Home

These tips will help your new dog settle into their new home, and they’ll increase the bond you form with your new dog. It might take a day or two, or it might take months — each dog comes with their own personality and experiences. Going from the shelter environment to a home is a big transition, so don’t be discouraged if your dog takes awhile to get comfortable in your home.

To ease the transition here’s 10 tips to help your new dog adjust to your home.

1. Give Your Dog Time to Decompress By Starting Slowly

You can help your new dog adjust to your home by taking it slow. He’ll appreciate some one on one time getting to know his new family and surroundings. Let him explore the house and yard at his own pace.

Some dogs take awhile to adjust to new settings, and sometimes that can be exhausting for them. If you adopted your dog from a shelter realize that he just came from a noisy and stressful environment; your quiet and cozy home is likely the first place he’s gotten a good sleep in awhile.

Don’t over stimulate your dog during the first couple days. If your dog is a bit standoffish just let them check things out for themselves. If they come up to you for attention by all means be as affectionate as they seem comfortable with.

Not all dogs bond immediately with a new owner – don’t take it personally. They’re in a brand new environment getting used to new sights, smells, and sounds. It can be a stressful time for your new dog so try to make them as comfortable as possible by keeping things calm and positive.

2. Give Your Dog His Own Space

One way you can help make your new dog more comfortable is by providing him with his own comfy bed or safe spot where he can retreat to when he’s tired or overwhelmed. Some dogs need a little extra time to just chill out every once in a while, especially with all the stress of being in a completely new environment.

10 Tips to Help Your New Dog Adjust to Your Home

When bringing home your new dog it’s important to give him his own dedicated space. Somewhere safe that he can go to if he starts to feel stressed out, tired, or overwhelmed.

3. Be Prepared For Stomach Issues When Changing Diets

Diarrhea is common among newly adopted dogs, either from stress or sudden dietary changes. You can ask the shelter or rescue which food your dog has been eating to help prevent an upset stomach from a sudden change in diet. If you’re not a fan of the brand they’ve been feeding you can switch but you may want to consider slowly transitioning them over to a new food by mixing some of the old in with the new.

Stress from moving into a new environment can cause diarrhea in newly adopted dogs. Ease their stress by taking things slowly the first week and giving them time to adapt. If your dog has diarrhea for more than a few days consult your veterinarian.

4. Dogs May Lose Their Appetite in New Surroundings

The stress from being in a new environment can cause dogs to lose their appetite. If you’ve adopted a shy dog they might need a few days before they’re comfortable enough to eat a normal meal. A new diet or change in food can also cause a dog to refuse to eat. A dog won’t starve himself; as long as your dog is healthy he’ll learn to adapt to his new diet.

If you’re concerned about your dogs appetite offer them a piece of high value food such as chicken or ham. If they’ll readily eat high value food they’re likely just going through an adjustment period. If your dog won’t take high value food after a day or two it’s time to check with your veterinarian.

5. Make It Easier In The Long Run By Keeping Your Routine

Dog’s thrive on routine, and the sooner your new dog learns how your home functions the more comfortable he’ll be. You can help your new dog adjust to your home by:

  • Feeding at the same time every day
  • Going outside for potty breaks consistently
  • Going for your daily walk at the same time
  • Going to bed around the same time each night

This also includes exercise time, cuddle time or any other daily games or activities he’ll be involved with. He’ll feel more secure once he starts learning your routine and what is expected of him at any given time.

I know many owners want to spend as much time as possible with their new dog, and that’s wonderful. But try to incorporate at least some of your normal activities into the day during those first few weeks to help your dog adjust to what will become his normal routine.

How to Help a Dog Adjust to Their New Home

Keeping a consistent routine can help your dog adjust to a new home.

If your dog is already crate trained you might want to consider leaving him crated while you go to work, and this is especially true if your have other animals at home. Some dogs can become destructive or overly anxious when left alone.

If you’re not sure how your new dog will react when left alone crating is a good way to have some peace of mind while you’re at work. Just remember to introduce your dog to their crate slowly, and make it a positive experience for them. When introduced properly a crate becomes a relaxing place for your dog.

7. You May Have a Few House Training Issues

Puppies will need to be house trained, but you can also expect a few house training issues with newly adopted dogs as well.

You and your newly adopted dog aren’t automatically going to be on the same schedule, so be prepared for a few accidents during the first couple of weeks. Your new dog might be getting fed more than usual and he very well might be drinking a lot more. Make sure you take him out regularly to decrease the likelihood of any accidents.

8. Beware of Escape Attempts

When going outdoors keep your new dog on a leash at all times. When in a new environment some dogs will have a tendency to try and run away or escape. Don’t leave your new dog unsupervised in a fenced yard since dogs can dig under or jump over fences. Until you know your dog is comfortable with you and will come back when called it’s best to keep them leashed at all times when outdoors.

10 Tips for Helping Your New Dog Adjust to Your Home

Be sure to supervise your new dog when outside until you’re confident they won’t try to escape. Many dogs are able to jump 6 foot fences, and a lot more can dig under them. When dogs enter a new environment they can become stressed out & fearful, and that can lead to escape attempts.

9. Don’t Overwhelm Them if They’re Anxious

I know it’s tempting to introduce your new dog to all of your friends & family right away by inviting everyone over, but make sure your dog is comfortable in your home first. Some dogs can get overstimulated and excited by all that excitement, and some are extremely nervous around strangers. If your dog shows any signs of discomfort take it slow. Make sure they have access to their own safe space or area that they can retreat to if they get overwhelmed.

The same goes for trips to the park or store. Until your dog is comfortable around you take it easy when introducing them to new areas.

10. Be Patient With Your New Dog

Imagine yourself in your dogs shoes (or paws) for a moment – surrounded by strangers in a new place where everything is unknown. It’s a bit scary to say the least. Your dog might adjust within days, or it may take weeks. Each dog is an individual with a history all their own. Some dogs came from a nice loving home and might find it easier to adapt – others have been waiting for years at a shelter.

Take it slow and make it easier on them by giving them space when needed. Give them some time to settle in and get comfortable with their new surroundings. It may seem like a slow process, but it won’t take long until your adopted dog becomes your new best friend.

Don’t Get Discouraged if it Takes Awhile

Please don’t be discouraged if your new dog doesn’t warm up to you on his first night home. Just like us dogs have their own personalities, and some of them are much more reserved and cautious than others.

Each dog is different, they come with their own experiences and personalities. Your dog might adjust to his new home in an hour, or it might take months. Give your new dog some patience, a steady schedule, and his own space and he’ll start to feel settled in his new environment. Your new dog will be your best friend before you know it.


Dog Supply Checklist

  • Food and water bowls.
  • Food appropriate for your dog’s age and health requirements. Slowly transition to new brand of food when possible to prevent stomach upset.
  • Adjustable collar.
  • Harness for walking.
  • Four to six-foot leash (we do NOT recommend retractable leashes).
  • ID tag with your phone number.
  • Hard plastic carrier or foldable metal crate. When picking out a crate for puppy, look for one with a moveable divider. The crate space should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lay down. If puppy goes potty in their crate, it may be too big.
  • Dog bed or blankets. You may want to use old towels at first if your puppy is being potty trained or likes to chew apart dog beds.
  • Doggy shampoo and conditioner, these are specially formulated to be safe on your dog’s skin and coat.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Canine toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Brush or comb (depends on your pet’s coat length and type). Talk to a groomer about starting proper care techniques early if your dog will require regular grooming.
  • Super-absorbent paper towels for cleaning messes.
  • Enzymatic odor neutralizer/cleaner. We like Nature’s Miracle products.
  • Poop baggies (biodegradable ones are best) and/or pooper scooper.
  • Absorbent house-training pads. Some puppies will just shred these, so don’t go overboard on buying these until you know!
  • Variety of toys (a ball, rope, chew toy and puzzle toy are good starts).
  • Variety of treats (such as small soft training treats, crunchy treats, larger chewies such as bully sticks, etc.)
  • Treat bag that clips on to your waist- great for training!
  • First-aid kit.
  • Baby gate(s) for blocking off areas. Gates are helpful when first bringing your dog home, regardless of age.
  • Medications from your vet- such as flea & tick and heartworm prevention.



Dog Introductions brought to you by Wisconsin Humane Society

Introducing Your New Dog to Your Resident Dog

Adding another dog to your household can bring you and your current dog more fun and companionship. However, it’s important to realize that your current dog might feel similar to how you might feel if your parents picked your friends and then told you to share your toys with them. In the long run, things will probably work out fabulously, but in the beginning it’s a very smart idea to take a few extra steps to make everyone feel good about the new arrangement. This handout provides some guidelines for smooth and safe introductions and ensuring that your dogs’ relationship gets off to a great start.

Maximizing the potential for a great relationship between your new dog and your current dog is a two-step process. It involves the actual introduction process and then management of the new dog in your home.  If you have more than one resident dog in your household, it may be best to introduce the resident dogs to the new dog one at a time. Two or more resident dogs may have a tendency to “gang up” on the newcomer.


Introduction Techniques:

Choose a Neutral Location: Introduce the dogs in a neutral location so that your resident dog is less likely to view the newcomer as a territorial intruder. Each dog should be handled by a separate person. With both dogs on a leash, take them to an area with which neither is familiar, such as a park or a neighbor’s yard. If you frequently walk your resident dog in a park near your house, she may view that park as her territory, so choose another site that’s unfamiliar to her. We recommend bringing your resident dog with you to the shelter and introducing the dogs before adopting the new dog.

Use Positive Reinforcement: From the first meeting, you want both dogs to expect “good things” to happen when they’re in each other’s presence. Let them sniff each other, which is normal canine greeting behavior. While they are sniffing it is important to keep the leash loose so there is slack.  Tension in the leash could cause unwanted tension in the greeting.  As they sniff, talk to them in a happy, friendly tone of voice- never use a threatening tone of voice. Keep the initial greeting short, only a few seconds and then separate, standing 10-20 feet apart.  Don’t allow them to investigate and sniff each other for a prolonged time, as this may escalate to an aggressive response. Once separated you can give treats for calm behavior or in return for following a cue such as “sit” or “shake.” If your dog is unable to offer a basic cue or is not taking his normally favorite treats, those are signs that your dog’s stress level has risen.  Give yourself some additional space before attempting another greeting.  If bodies are loose and no signs of aggression are seen, take the dogs for a walk and let them sniff and investigate each other at intervals. Continue with the “happy talk,” food rewards and simple cues.

Be Aware of Body Postures: One body posture that indicates things are going well is a “playbow.”  One dog will crouch with her front legs on the ground and her hind end in the air. This is an invitation to play that usually elicits friendly behavior from the other dog. Watch carefully for body postures that indicate an aggressive response, including a tall and stiff legged gait, a prolonged stare, teeth-baring or deep growls.  If you see such postures, interrupt the interaction immediately by calmly and positively getting each dog interested in something else. For example, both handlers can call their dogs to them, have them sit or lie down and reward each with a treat. The dogs will become interested in the treats which will prevent the situation from escalating into aggression. Try letting the dogs interact again, but this time for a shorter time period and/or at a greater distance from each other.

Taking the Dogs Home: When the dogs seem to be tolerating each other’s presence without fearful or aggressive responses and the investigative greeting behaviors have tapered off, you can take them home. Whether you choose to take them in the same, or different vehicles, will depend on their size, how well they ride in the car, how trouble-free the initial introduction has been and how many dogs are involved. However, the dogs will need to be kept separated by a physical barrier such as a crate.

Introducing Puppies to Adult Dogs: Puppies usually pester adult dogs unmercifully. Before the age of four months, puppies may not recognize subtle body postures from adult dogs signaling that they’ve had enough. Well socialized adult dogs with good temperaments may set limits with puppies with a growl or snarl. These behaviors are normal and should be allowed. Adult dogs that aren’t well socialized, or that have a history of fighting with other dogs, may attempt to set limits with more aggressive behaviors, such as biting, which could harm the puppy. For this reason, a puppy shouldn’t be left alone with an adult dog until you’re confident the puppy isn’t in any danger. Be sure to give the adult dog some quiet time away from the puppy, and some individual attention.

The First Couple of Weeks at Home

  • It’s crucial to avoid squabbles during the early stages of your dogs’ new relationship. Pick up all toys, chews, food bowls and your current dog’s favorite items. When dogs are first forming a relationship, these things can cause rivalry. These items can be reintroduced after a couple of weeks, once the dogs have started to develop a good relationship.
  • Give each dog his own water and food bowls, bed and toys. For the first few weeks, only give the dogs toys or chews when they’re separated in their crates or confinement areas.
  • Feed the dogs in completely separate areas. Pick up bowls when feeding time is over. (Some dogs will compete over bowls that recently contained food.)
  • Keep the dogs’ playtime and interactions brief to avoid overstimulation and over arousal, which can lead to fighting.
  • Confine the dogs in separate areas of your home whenever you’re away or can’t supervise their interactions.
  • Give your new dog his own confinement area. When the dogs are separated, it might be a good idea to let them get to know each other through a barrier, like a baby gate. Your new dog should be gated in his confinement area, and your current dog should be free to move around and visit when he wants to.
  • When the dogs are interacting, interrupt any growling or bullying behavior with a phrase like “Too bad,” and then quickly separate them for several minutes. Then allow them to be together again. Be sure to sincerely praise your dogs when they are interacting nicely.
  • Spend time individually with each dog. Give each of them training time with you and playtime with other dogs outside your home.
  • If your dogs are very different in age or energy level, be sure to give the older or less energetic one his own private space where he can enjoy rest and down time. In addition you will want to give the younger or more energetic dog increased physical and mental exercise.

Dog Socialization


How Social is My Dog?

Just like people, dogs have different levels of tolerance for other dogs. As a dog matures, he or she will often naturally become less social and tolerant. There are many developmental changes that happen, between sexual and social maturity, and most dogs will continue to display these changes until two or three years of age. Proper facilitation of dog-dog introductions and friendships can change your dog’s sociability for the better over time. Bad experiences can quickly make things worse. Good leadership and direction is important to set your dog up for success.

Dog Social
I generally LOVE all dogs, even the ones that get in my face and do rude annoying stuff. I am either a puppy or a very social adult dog.

Dog Tolerant
I get along with most dogs. I am generally tolerant of rude behavior, and I stay pretty calm on leash. I am cool and relaxed, and have good communication skills.

Dog Selective
I have dog friends but I am picky about new dogs. Seeing unfamiliar dogs when I am on leash is really stressful. I don’t cope well with some types of dogs or styles of interaction. I need human supervision, positive guidance, and proper introductions.

Dog Aggressive
NOPE. Not into other dogs. If I have to select 1 or 2 other dogs, I am super sensitive around them too, and may act like a jerk when triggered. I need extra management and patience from my humans, whom I love more than other dogs!

Socializing Your Dog

Socializing refers to providing your dog with POSITIVE experiences with NEW THINGS. The best way to make sure your dog has great experience is to include things he loves- like food or toys.

New People

  • Let your dog approach at his own pace, if and when he wants to.
  • Associate new people with wonderful things (think bacon!)
  • Make sure puppies are gently and positively exposed to different people. Examples include babies, children, seniors, men with beards, people carrying and wearing different things, people of different ethnicities, people in wheelchairs and with strollers.

Other Animals

  • Always check that the other animal is friendly and tolerant of other dogs before you let your dog approach.
  • Teach your dog how to act politely around other animals by rewarding him for good behavior. Redirect him if he is too pushy or excited.
  • If your adult dog doesn’t want to play with other dogs, that’s okay. Adult people don’t want to hang out with every other person we meet either!

New Things & Environments

  • To prevent noise phobia (fear of thunder etc.) feed your dog a high value treat every time the noise happens.
  • Introduce young dogs to lots of different surfaces. Try gravel, carpet, tile floors, concrete, bridges, plastic, rubber, snow, sand, grass etc.
  • Take rides in a boat, train, car or elevator.
  • Visit the vet and groomer just for treats and petting to associate these places with good things!
  • Teach your dog to enjoy wearing a muzzle by making it a treat basket.
  • Avoid truly scary situations such as fireworks.

Remember, exposure alone isn’t socialization! If your dog isn’t having a great time, you could be doing more harm than good. Dogs don’t just “get over” issues by themselves, so if your dog is shy, worried, or overly excited, leave the situation and work with a professional who can help both of you. If your dog is having a blast and is happy and comfortable- you are doing a great job of socializing him!



Puppy Socialization Checklist
From Perfect Puppy in 7 Days by Dr. Sophia Yin

The goal of socializing is that the puppy has positive experiences, not neutral or bad ones.

It’s important to watch the puppy’s response and note what it is and to also give treats to help ensure the exposure is a success. Here’s a checklist that can help you. Download the checklist and print  so you can keep track of your puppy’s progress.

Download Checklist

The checklist includes specific examples in the following categories:

  • Handling
  • Unfamiliar People
  • Unfamiliar Dogs
  • Other Animal Species
  • New Surfaces
  • Scary Sounds
  • Objects with Wheels
  • Man-Made Objects
  • New Environments

Training Tips


The Do’s and Don’t’s of Dog Training

  • Use rewards like treats to train your dog so your dog will enjoy training. Do not use force or punishment when working with your dog or your dog will not think training is fun and may become fearful of you.
  • Use comfortable, dog friendly equipment so that your dog feels relaxed and happy. Don’t use averse equipment like choke collars, prong collars or shock collars, which make training painful and scary for your dog.
  • Have your dog work for valued resources like meals, walks and toys so your dog looks to you for guidance. Do not use confrontational methods that may frighten your dog or worse- cause your dog to react aggressively.
  • Build a cooperative relationship based on mutual respect, communication and trust so both you and your dog enjoy being with one another. Do not use methods or equipment that are uncomfortable, painful, forceful, scary or intimidating for your dog.
  • Positive reinforcement training is more effective… and fun for both dog and owner!


Simple Tips for Potty Training Your Puppy
Brought to you by

The First Week of Potty Training Your Puppy

The first week of potty training a puppy is extremely tiring, but I promise it gets easier. You might find yourself questioning why you decided on a puppy to begin with — trust me, we’ve all been there. But after the first week you’ll be able to relax a bit more, and you’ll start to see how well your consistency pays off.

The first week is where you’re going to be watching your pup like a hawk, making sure you intervene before any accidents happen. During the first week you’re going to need to be aware where your pup is at all times.

1. Pay Attention to Your Puppy At All Times

A quiet puppy is trouble, or so the saying goes. Whether he’s getting into the garbage, eating your new shoes or pooping over in the corner — a quiet puppy signals trouble.

If you want to prevent accidents before they happen you’re going to need to watch your pup at all times, including every time they wander off. It only takes one accident to set your training back. Now I know that watching your puppy non-stop isn’t exactly fun & exciting, but being able to catch them before they have an accident is why this method works so well.

If you’re like me and have trouble keeping up with your pup at all times try using a tether. You can buy a tether from the pet store or simply do what I did and use a long lead or leash. If tethering your pup to you at all times is what it takes to make sure they’re not sneaking off then go for it. If you’re not keen on keeping your dog tethered you can use baby gates or closed doors to restrict your dogs access to the whole house.

2. Don’t Leave Your Puppy Unattended

Did I mention the importance of not letting your dog out of sight? I did, but this part is so important I need to mention it twice. Your job when house training is to be there to prevent accidents before they happen. You know when your dog is going to have an accident? The moment you’re not looking.

There’s not much you can do that makes sense after your dog has had an accident — and you’ve missed out on an important training lesson.

Don’t punish your dog if they pee inside. Regardless of all those old training ideas punishment isn’t a good deterrent for house training. Yelling at your dog after the fact just confuses them and makes them nervous around you. If you catch your did in the act you can try to get their attention & move them outdoors. If you’re successful & they continue going once you get outside praise them like crazy.

Your pup is going to have an accident or two in the house – there’s no getting around it. What you can do is prevent them from having more by being proactive. Keep them in your sight at all times and take them out every time they start to wander off.

3. Let Your Dog Out Once Every Hour or Two

Letting your pup outside every hour or two gets old, but it’s the simplest way to prevent accidents from happening. If you’ve ever wondered why some people choose to get new puppies during the summer or when they’re on vacation it probably has to do with potty training. If you’ve house training a dog before you know how much time & commitment it takes.

Sometimes your dog might not pee outside and that’s OK. An unproductive outside time is better than an accident indoors. Let them wander around a little bit & head back inside.

Though most dogs can handle sleeping through the night without accidents keep in mind that their bladders are awfully small so if you can avoid sleeping in I’d do so. Most puppies just can’t hold it for that long. To prevent overnight accidents make sure your pup has peed before bedtime.

4. Praise Your Dog Like There’s No Tomorrow

Every time your dog pees or poops outside it needs to be celebrated. Give them baby talk or a treat, jump up & down, pat their little heads & remind them of how brilliant that decision was. Yes it might look silly but your pup needs to know he’s done the best thing ever. When you consistently praise your puppy for going outside they’ll start to understand that going potty outside is the best decision available.


The Second Week of Potty Training Your Puppy

This is the ‘keep it up’ period where the praise is still heavy but you can relax a little more when it comes to watching your pup.

5. Keep Up The Praise & Watch For Signals

Don’t get lazy with the praise during the second week. You want your dog to be the proudest creature on earth every time he pees or poops outside. Yes it seems silly after a while, and maybe even a little creepy if your dog stares at you while doing their business – but rest assured, you’re getting the message across.

Let your dog know that peeing & pooping outside is awesome, and that all sorts of great things come to pups that do awesome things.

Though it differs by each individual dog this is the time when most will come up with their own little way of letting you know they’ve got to go. It might be crying at your feet, ringing a bell you’ve set up or waiting at the door — just be sure to pay attention to these signals & follow up. Once your dog knows how to get your attention when he’s got to go you can relax a little and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

If your dog isn’t giving you an obvious signal that they need to go out (like whining at the door) I suggest teaching them to ring a bell when they need to go outside. Some of the other signs dogs give that they need to go out such as pacing around or circling can be easy to miss if they’re in another room, which is why a noise based signal such as ringing a bell can make things easier.

6. Make Sure to Clean Up Accidents Thoroughly

Accidents will happen, and it’s important to clean them up thoroughly. Dogs are attracted to spots that they’ve used previously, and remember that their sense of smell is way better than ours. Pet urine can be hard to get out, and not all household products will effectively remove odors. If your dog keeps going in the same spot chances are some of that smell has been left behind. You can opt for a product that’s formulated for removing pet urine odors & stains.

7. Be Realistic About How Long Your Puppy Can Hold It For

Young puppies can’t hold their bowels & bladders for long. If you come home to find that they’ve had an accident in there it’s quite possible that they can’t hold it that long. Generally puppies can hold their bladder for about one hour per month of age. So your 3 month old pup can probably only hold their bladder for about 3 hours. If you’re going to be away at work for long periods of time see if you can get a neighbor, relative or dog sitter to come over to let your pup out during the day.

How to Handle Puppy Nipping with Compassion

Puppies play and explore the world through the use of those tiny, sharp teeth. They are teething, so their mouths are uncomfortable. The act of chewing/nipping can ease their pain and discomfort.

It is our job to teach puppies that teeth on humans is not okay, but we must do it positively. Scaring them can cause normal puppy nipping  to turn into fear, and in many cases lead to aggression.


What To Do

  • When Puppy nips, let out a high pitched “ouch” cry or yelp then immediately remove your attention by turning or walking away.
  • Count to ten, then re-engage calmly and praise Puppy for being calm.
  • Repeat if Puppy nips again, or replace your hand with an appropriate item such as a dog toy or chewy.


What Not To Do

  • Never hit/push Puppy
  • Never yell at Puppy
  • Never hold Puppy’s mouth closed
  • Never use shake cans, spray bottles or noise makers to stop unwanted behaviors.



Teaching Your Dog to Walk Politely on a Leash

Part 1

The most important step in teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash is showing your dog where you want him to be while he is on a leash. To make things easier for your dog, start practicing in a small, boring space.


  • Leash hand should stay at your belly button level.
  • Use a clicker, this “marks” correct movement or position.
  • A click should always be followed by giving a treat.
  • Practice giving treats at the level of your dogs head.
  • Leash should be loose (J shape).
  1. Click and immediately give a treat a few times while standing in the correct position.
  2. Move slightly out of heel position and wait for your dog to move closer to you.
  3. As soon as your dog moves even the tiniest step closer to you, click and feed a treat at the ideal position (you may need to bend down to your dog if he is short).
  4. Repeat the process until your dog moves into heel position every time you move out of it.
  5. Gradually take more and more steps between clicks and treats. If your dog gets confused, go back to just one step at a time, and then increase the number of steps again more slowly to help him understand.
  6. Once your dog has the hang of it, start changing directions and speed.
  7. Next move on to a larger more interesting space and start over with step #1. When your dog can handle up to step #6 in that space, move to a new space, again starting over from step #1.


Teaching Your Dog to Walk Politely on a Leash

Part 2

If pulling on the leash gets your dog where he wants to go, he’ll keep pulling. To avoid teaching your dog that pulling is a good strategy, use one of the techniques below.

Technique 1: I am a Rock

  1. Keep the leash hand at belly button.
  2. When your dog pulls, stop in your tracks. Wait. As you wait, pretend you have no dog.
  3. When your dog backs up or turns to you, click and feed a treat at your pants seam.
  4. Move forward again.

Technique 2: Back & Forth

  1. Keep leash hand at belly button.
  2. When your dog pulls, turn around and walk purposefully in the opposite direction.
  3. Once your dog catches up to heel position, click clicker and give a treat.
  4. Turn around and continue in your original position.

Technique 3: Off at an Angle

  1. Keep leash hand at belly button.
  2. This is a great technique for dogs who are very strong. When your dog pulls, simply move away at a random angle that isn’t 180 degrees.
  3. Wait for your dog to catch up to heel position.
  4. Click and give treat. Then turn around and continue in your original direction.

If your dog keeps pulling, the environment is probably too exciting. Go back to teaching your dog polite leash walking (Part 1) in a less exciting place. Gradually build up to walking in the exciting environment again. Remember to first practice Part 1 every time you practice in a new place.

Ain’t Misbehavin’! Is your dog bored?

The most common cause for nuisance behaviors in dogs is boredom. Dogs are social creatures and crave attention and affirmation.

Ignoring a dog for long stretches at at time and then reprimanding him for seeking attention is counterproductive. Reprimands are a form of attention. Behaviors that earn the dog attention will increase in frequency. Reprimands will only confuse the dog. Here are some tips:

  • Keep your dog busy, give him something to do. Chewies, bully sticks, doggie puzzle toys, Kongs stuffed with peanut butter etc. are all good options (please supervise your dog!).
  • When you take breaks from your activities or work, don’t forget to give your dog some attention.
  • Teach/reward your dog for relaxing on their bed.
  • Be sure to you give your dog exercise, play and mental stimulation every day. Walks, fetch, nose work and training are all great ideas. Mix it up! See the Playing with Your Dog tips section for more ideas!

Playing with Your Dog

Dogs (and people) love to play! Playing with your dog is one of the best ways to reward him for a job well done. Done correctly, play can help a stressed dog relax and a distracted dog focus.

Every dog is different, so get to know what sort of play YOUR dog likes. Different dogs will have different play preferences. Try to find a level of excitement that is just right for your dog. Avoid play that gets your dog so amped up (overstimulated) that he cannot think or calm down. On the other hand, if your dog is bored by your attempts to play, try upping the level of excitement or changing to a different game.

Here are some favorites!

  • Chase is a great one-on-one game! Just make sure to have your dog chase you instead of chasing your dog. You don’t want to accidentally teach your dog to run away from you!
  • Tag, You’re It! Many dogs like tag games where you tap, poke or gently push your dog away from you, then run in the opposite direction, encouraging him to catch up.
  • Fetch is always a fun option. If your dog likes to play “keep away” once your thrown the ball or Frisbee, try playing with two toys. As soon as your dog drops the toy in his mouth, throw the second toy for him.
  • Contrary to the popular myth, Tug wont make your dog aggressive. In fact, playing tug is a great way to teach your dog to control his mouth when he is excited! Just make sure you teach your dog to start and stop the game on cue so that you can control the fun and he doesn’t think that your winter scarf or potential tug toy!
  • If your dog isn’t interested in toys, don’t worry…there are lots of other fun games you can play. For less playful dogs, food (peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt, treats etc.) can be stuffed in hollow toys like Kongs and Busy Balls.
  • Dogs have a great sense of smell, and letting your dog use his nose is a great game! Toss a piece of kibble or a small treat on the floor in front of him and tell him to “find it!” As he gets better at the game, you can start tossing the treats farther away, into grass or carpet, or even hide it when he’s not looking for a doggie scavenger hunt!
  • Training can be a great way to play with your dog. Approach training sessions as games. The more you smile and laugh while you train your dog, the more your dog will love listening to you! Clicker training is one example of a fun and effective dog training method.

Dog Body Language & Etiquette


Body Language of Fear in Dogs

Dogs give us many signs to show that they are fearful, anxious or uncomfortable in different situations. Here are some body language cues to look for:

  • Cowering
  • Licking lips when no food or treats are nearby
  • Panting when not hot or thirsty
  • Brows furrowed with ears back to the side
  • Moving in slow motion
  • Acting sleepy or yawning when they shouldn’t be tired
  • Hypervigilant, quickly looking in many directions
  • Suddenly won’t eat or take treats
  • Moving away
  • Pacing

Is My Dog Relaxed or Shut Down?

There are many signs you can look for to tell if your dog is calm and relaxed or more anxious and shut down. It is important to know the difference, especially with rescue dogs that may have been through different stressful situations within a short amount of time.

Calm & Relaxed Signs

  • Calm, attentive, responsive
  • Laying down taking a break, face will be soft and body will be wiggly
  • Laying down, offering belly to be rubbed
  • Responding to handler and environment with free, easy body movements

Shut Down Signs

  • Staying very still in a guarded position with tail tucked
  • Laying down but overwhelmed, body and face will look tense, big eyes and ears pinned
  • Overwhelmed, unresponsive and avoidant of people and situations

Space Etiquette for Dogs

Newsflash: Running up to another dog and ignoring requests to go away is not “friendly”, it is rude. Just like people, dogs need personal space! If a stranger came up to you and put his hand on you, you’d be allowed to step back, yell and push him away. Dogs have the same right to enforce their boundaries. Some dogs are called “reactive” because they are more sensitive than others. Reactive dogs are good dogs, they just need more distance and compassionate training. You can help them by honoring their need for personal space.

  • Never let your off-leash dog go up to an on-leash dog.
  • Lock your retractable leash when you see other dogs (or better yet, don’t use them at all!).
  • Ask before approaching or petting any dog.
  • Have compassion for people with shy or reactive dogs.
  • Dogs wearing a yellow bandana or have a yellow ribbon on their leash could be a sign that dog needs extra space. It could be due to reactivity issues, health issues, healing from an injury, in training or being rehabilitated.

Dog Park Etiquette

Here are some tips to remember when visiting the dog park to help everyone get along. Always follow individual park rules and remember, not every dog is a good fit for the dog park and that is ok! There are other activities you can do with your dog if the dog park isn’t for them.

Tips to Remember

  • Train your dog to focus and interact in games with you instead of always interacting with other dogs.
  • Train your dog to come when called so you can call him away before he gets into problem situations. Once your dog is with you, keep him engaged with you, then release him to play again.
  • Your dog should learn that it is fun to focus on you and play with you instead of needing to always play with other dogs. It is ok to play and interact with other dogs as long as both dogs are relaxed and having fun!
  • Dogs don’t like groups or individual dogs rushing up to them. Keep your dog nearby when a new dog enters the area.
  • Don’t let your dog steal toys from other dogs or interfere with another dogs personal space.
  • Sometimes dogs can play too roughly with others. Supervise them when with other dogs and remove/redirect them if they are becoming too rough.
  • Don’t let your dog jump up or body slam other people at the park.
  • You wouldn’t ignore your kid at the park, so don’t ignore your dog either. It’s easy to get caught up talking with other dog parents but always keep an eye on your pooch!
  • Always pick up after your dog so the park can remain an enjoyable place for all!



Dog & Family Safety


How To Greet a Dog – And What To Avoid

  • Stand a safe distance away so that you aren’t seen as a threat. Avoid reaching into a dogs space such as into a car.
  • Approach slowly at a relaxed walk, avoid rushing up to the dog.
  • Ask the dogs owner if you can interact first. Avoid interacting with unfamiliar dogs, especially if they are tied up.
  • Approach sideways and look using your peripheral vision, rather than staring at the dog head on.
  • Stay outside the dog’s bubble and present your side to the dog. Avoid leaning over dogs, even when you change position to get up.
  • Let the dog approach at his own rate rather than sticking your hand out for the dog to sniff.
  • It’s ok to pet the dog if he looks relaxed, come up to you and solicits your attention by rubbing against you. Avoid petting the dog if he looks nervous or tense.
  • Pet gently- on the side or chest is usually best!


Dog and Baby Safety Tips

  • Allow your dog to sniff and see the baby but do not force interaction if your dog is uninterested.
  • Include your dog in a comfortable, safe way. Do not isolate your dog from the family.
  • Make a habit of closing the nursery door. Do not allow your dog to have unsupervised access to the nursery.
  • Remind your dog what you’d like them to do, and reward them for good behavior. Do not scold your dog for being curious.
  • Secure your dog and use awake adult supervision during baby playtime. Don’t ever leave your baby unsupervised.

Brought to you by Family Paws Parent Education.

Please consult a reputable, licensed trainer or dog behaviorist if you have questions or concerns about baby/dog safety.

Dog and Toddler Safety Tips

  • Use a gate to create a success station for your dog (See Success Station tip section). Do not allow access to dog’s food, toys or treats.
  • Plan parent-guided games with the whole family. Don’t allow toddler and dog to play alone at any time. Do not passively supervise.
  • Invite your dog over to you and your toddler. Do not allow your toddler to approach your dog.
  • Put your dog in a crate or safe space while parent is away. Don’t expect a babysitter to watch both your child and dog.

Brought to you by Family Paws Parent Education.

Please consult a reputable, licensed trainer or dog behaviorist if you have questions or concerns about child/dog safety.

The 5 Types of Supervision

  1. Absent
    Adult not in the room with dog and baby/toddler.
  2. Passive
    Adult in the same location but distracted and not watching.
  3. Reactive
    Responding after dog or child is too close.
  4. Proactive
    Planning and preparing safe separation.
  5. Active
    Full awake adult supervision. Strive for active supervision at all times!

Brought to you by Family Paws Parent Education.

Please consult a reputable, licensed trainer or dog behaviorist if you have questions or concerns about child/dog safety.

Success Stations

A SUCCESS STATION is any designated spot that a dog is limited to so that they have no options but to succeed. This spot must be introduced in a positive manner and is for limited periods of time. Here are 3 types of success stations new and expecting families may find helpful as they include their family dogs:

TETHERING is a great way to include dogs in the daily routines once baby arrives. Many new moms feel more comfortable with their dog in their success station. Caretakers are able to move around and toss treats while the dog is able to observe the baby without any type of physical barrier.

CRATES can be wonderful cozy condos for dogs. There are many types of crates and I encourage you to find the right fit for your dog. Crating is a great option for dogs sometimes. I do encourage you to consider your dog’s emotional state while in the crate. Often a crate does not allow us to observe how our dog is handling situations.

GATES can really come in handy at times to set up a boundary for children and dogs. Please consider the type of gate that you get. Many dogs can easily push the pedal or push gates open with their nose. I like the pressure-locked plain wood gates. I can step over them and I am positive it is in place when I lock it.

Brought to you by Family Paws Parent Education.

Please consult a reputable, licensed trainer or dog behaviorist if you have questions or concerns about child/dog safety.

How Children Should Interact with Dogs

It is our job to teach children to respect animals and interact with them appropriately. Here are some tips:

  • Be polite and kind to pets, learn to recognize when your dog is scared or anxious.
  • Play appropriate games with pets such as fetch, training tricks (like roll over, shake etc.), going for walks, playing hide-n-seek.
  • Supervise all interactions, accidents can happen in a split second.
  • Train your dog to associate kids with positive experience so he’ll be more likely to tolerate your child in case she accidentally interacts inappropriately.

There are many things we should teach our children about interacting with animals, just as we would teach them how to interact appropriately with other children.

  • Avoid bothering dogs when they are eating.
  • Avoid taking dogs bones or toys.
  • Avoid putting your face in a dogs face/personal space.
  • Avoid bothering animals when they are resting. Let sleeping dogs lie.
  • Avoid grabbing tail and ears.
  • Avoid climbing on, trampling. Do not allow your child to “ride” your dog even though it may seem cute, this can be very upsetting and lead to bites.
  • Avoid hugging, most dogs do not like it.
  • Avoid hollering and shouting- use your inside voice!

Please consult a reputable, licensed trainer or dog behaviorist if you have questions or concerns about child/dog safety.

Dog Bite Prevention
Brought to you by ASPCA

Dog Bite Prevention

Increasing Safety, Reducing Risks

To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, adults and children should be educated about bite prevention, and dog owners should practice responsible dog ownership.

Understanding dog body language is a key way to help avoid being bitten. Know the signs that dogs give to indicate that they’re feeling anxious, afraid, threatened or aggressive.

  • An aggressive dog may try to make herself look bigger. Her ears may be up and forward, the fur on her back and tail may stand on end or puff out, and her tail may be straight up—it may even wag. She may have a stiff, straight-legged stance and be moving toward or staring directly at what she thinks is an approaching threat. She may also bare her teeth, growl, lunge or bark. Continued approach toward a dog showing this body language could result in a bite.
  • An anxious or scared dog may try to make herself look smaller. She may shrink to the ground in a crouch, lower her head, repeatedly lick her lips, put her tail between her legs, flatten her ears back and yawn. She may look away to avoid direct eye contact. She may stay very still or roll on her back and expose her stomach. Alternatively, she may try to turn away or slowly move away from what she thinks is an approaching threat. If she can’t retreat, she may feel she has no other alternative but to defensively growl, snarl or even bite.
  • Many dogs can show a mixture of these body postures, indicating that they feel conflicted. Remember to avoid any dog showing any of signs of fear, aggression or anxiety—no matter what else the dog is doing. It’s important to realize that a wagging tail or a crouching body doesn’t always mean friendliness.
Dog Bite Prevention

Safety Tips for Children

Be aware of the fact that any dog can bite. From the smallest to the largest, even the most friendly, cute and easygoing dogs might bite if provoked. The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the person—his or her own pet, a neighbor’s or a friend’s. You can help protect your child from dog bites by discussing with him the appropriate way to behave around dogs. We offer the following tips:

  • Children should not approach, touch or play with any dog who is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Animals are more likely to bite if they’re startled, frightened or caring for young.
  • Children should never approach a barking, growling or scared dog.
  • Children should not pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission from the dog’s guardian first. If the guardian says it is okay, the child should first let the dog sniff his closed hand. Then taking care to avoid petting the dog on the top of the head, he can pet the dog’s shoulders or chest.
  • Children should not try to pet dogs who are behind a fence or in a car. Dogs often protect their home or space.
  • If a child sees a dog off-leash outside, he should not approach the dog and should tell an adult immediately.
  • If a loose dog comes near a child, he should not run or scream. Instead, he should avoid eye contact with the dog and stand very still, like a tree, until the animal moves away. Once the dog loses interest, the child can slowly back away.
  • If a child falls down or is knocked to the ground by a dog, he should curl up in a ball with his knees tucked into his stomach, and fingers interlocked behind his neck to protect his neck and ears. If a child stays still and quiet like this, the dog will most likely just sniff him and then go away.
  • Children should never try to outrun a dog. If a dog does attack a child, the child should “feed” the dog his jacket, bag, bicycle—or anything that he has for the dog to grab onto or anything he can put between himself and the dog.

Recommendations for Pet Parents

Although you can’t guarantee that your dog will never bite someone, there are many ways that you can significantly reduce the risk.

  • Adopt from a well-managed animal shelter whose staff and volunteers can fill you in on the dog’s background, personality and behavior in the shelter.
  • Spay or neuter your dog as soon as possible. Healthy puppies can be spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks of age. Spayed or neutered dogs may be less likely to bite.
  • Socialize your dog! Well-socialized dogs make enjoyable, trustworthy companions. Undersocialized dogs are a risk to their owners and to others because they can become frightened by everyday things—which means they are more likely to aggress or bite. Socializing is the opposite of isolating. It’s important for puppies to meet, greet and enjoy a variety of people, animals, places and things. Done properly, socializing helps puppies feel comfortable and friendly in various situations, rather than uncomfortable and potentially aggressive. The main rule for effective socializing is to let your dog progress at her own pace and never force her to be around someone or something when she’s clearly fearful or uncomfortable.
  • Take your dog to humane, reward-based training classes—the earlier the better. We recommend starting your puppy in puppy kindergarten classes as early as eight weeks, right after her first set of vaccinations. Early training opens a window of communication between you and your dog that will help you consistently and effectively teach her good behavior.
  • Make your dog a part of the family. Don’t chain or tie her outside, and don’t leave her unsupervised for long periods of time—even in a fenced yard. Most tethered dogs become frustrated and can feel relatively defenseless, so they’re much more likely to bite. Well-socialized and supervised dogs are much less likely to bite.
  • Don’t wait for a serious accident to happen. The first time your dog shows aggressive behavior toward anybody, even if no injury occurs, seek professional help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), a veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB), or a qualified Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding an expert in your area. Your animal shelter may also offer or be able to refer you to helpful services.
  • Err on the safe side. Be aware of common triggers of aggression, including pain, injury or sickness, the approach of strangers or strange dogs, the approach of people in uniforms, costumes or unusual attire (especially hats), unexpected touching, unfamiliar places, crowds, and loud noises like thunder, wind, construction, fireworks and appliances. If possible, avoid exposing your dog to these triggers. If she seems stressed or panicked in crowds, leave her at home. If she overreacts to visitors or delivery personnel, keep her in another room when they come to your house. Work with a qualified behavior and training professional to help your dog become more comfortable with these and other situations.
  • Always supervise children and dogs. Never leave a baby or child younger than 10 years old alone with a dog. Teach your children to treat your dog gently and with respect, giving the dog her own space and opportunities to rest.
  • Fulfill basic animal-care responsibilities. License your dog as required by law and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. Don’t allow your dog to roam alone.

Dog Safety


Please contact your vet right away if you think your dog ate something dangerous.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24 Hour Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Pet Poison Help Line (855) 764-7661
(Incident Fee May Apply)

Common Dangerous Foods For Dogs:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Dairy Products
  • Raisins & Currants
  • Cooked Bones
  • Walnuts & Macadamia Nuts
  • Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Fatty Foods
  • Caffeine
  • Xylitol Sweetener (Found in some Peanut Butter)
  • Chocolate
  • Medications

There are over 400 species of plants that are toxic to pets. To view a full list visit ASPCA Poisonous Plants List

Please contact your vet right away if you have any concerns of your dog being poisoned.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24 Hour Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Pet Poison Help Line (855) 764-7661
(Incident Fee May Apply)

Common Toxic Plants to Pets:

  • Aconitum
  • Aloe Vera
  • Amaryllis bulbs
  • Angels Trumpet
  • Asparagus fern
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azalea
  • Calla Lily
  • Common Ivy
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Day Lily
  • Delphiniums
  • Dracaena
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Easter Lily
  • Elephant Ear
  • Foxglove
  • Hemlock
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Ivy
  • Jade Plant
  • Japanese Pieris
  • Laburnum
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Lupins
  • Monkshood
  • Morning glory
  • Nightshade
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Sago Palm
  • Sweet Pea
  • Tiger Lily
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Umbrella plant
  • Wisteria
  • Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow
  • Yew
  • ZZ Plant

Symptoms of overheating in pets can include:

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Mild weakness
  • Stupor
  • Collapse

Summer Fun in the Sun: Hot Weather Safety Tips for Your Pets

Brought to you by ASPCA

Dog on grass

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry friends, and as summer comes to a close in some parts of the country, you may be spending more time outside to soak up the warm weather while you still can. But being overeager in warmer temperatures can sometime mean danger for your pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has some helpful tips and information to ensure that your pets stay safe all summer:

  • Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventative medication. Since heartworm is carried by mosquitos, the hot, humid climate of the summer puts more pets at risk.
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly in the heat. So give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, and be careful not to over-exercise them. It is best to keep them indoors completely when it’s extremely hot. Remember, if you don’t want to be outside, your pets probably don’t either.
  • Knowing the symptoms of overheating in pets is also extremely important. Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Severe symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Overheating can be extremely dangerous and should be taken seriously. If you think your pet is experiencing symptoms of overheating, you should call your veterinarian or APCC immediately.
  • Also keep in mind that animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with elderly or overweight animals and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in most states.
  • Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool—not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals.
  • Open, and unscreened windows pose a real danger to pets, especially cats, who often fall out of them. Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed, and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured if you are trying to allow a breeze into your home.
  • Never shave your pet. The layers of animals’ coats actually protect them from overheating and sunburn. A seasonal trim is okay and brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.
  • When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

If you are concerned for your pet’s safety, or if you feel they are experiencing symptoms of overheating or heat stroke, call your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately.

Symptoms of hypothermia in pets can include:

  • Strong shivering and trembling followed by no shivering
  • Acting sleepy or lethargic and weak
  • Fur and skin are cold to the touch
  • Body temperature is below 95 degrees (Fahrenheit)
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils (the black inner circle of the eye appears larger)
  • Gums and inner eyelids are pale or blue
  • Trouble walking
  • Trouble breathing
  • Stupor, unconsciousness, or coma

Cold Weather Safety Tips

Brought to you by ASPCA

A pitbull in the snow

Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

A first-aid kit is important not only in the event of a natural disaster, but any time a pet is far away from immediate help – for example, when the family takes the pet camping or on vacation out of the area.

Help make sure your adopters and veterinary clients are prepared in the event of an unexpected pet emergency with this do-it-yourself first-aid kit, recommended by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Your Kit Should Contain

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (always check with veterinarian or animal poison control expert before giving to your pet)
  • Ice pack
  • Disposable gloves
  • Scissors with blunt end
  • Tweezers
  • OTC antibiotic ointment
  • Oral syringe or turkey baster
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent (for bathing)
  • Towels
  • Small flashlight
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Styptic powder
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tear gel
  • Talk to your vet about keeping any extra of your pets medications on hand, including allergy pills and doggy aspirin.
  • Phone number, clinic name, address of your veterinarian as well as local veterinary emergency clinics.

Make sure to check your pack every few months to make sure nothing has expired or needs to be replaced. And of course keep your kit out of the reach of children.