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Canine Country Club gives tips on what to do if you got a pet for Christmas

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As we settle into a new year after the holidays, chances are – many families welcomed a new puppy, or another pet, into their home. So, what does the new addition mean for your family, schedules, responsibilities?

Anita Sedberry, the owner of Canine Country Club was on Good Afternoon Arkansas to give advice in a number of areas.

What’s the very first thing new pet owners need to do once they expand their family?

• Dogs and cats of any age need to be seen by your veterinarian for a check-up, any vaccinations that may be due, etc.

• Depending on where you adopted your new pet, they will be up to speed, but it’s a good idea to have an initial visit with your vet for an examination.

Having a puppy in the house is just like having a toddler! What should pet owners do?

• Child-proof does NOT mean puppy-proof!

• If you have children, be sure to store any toys that may have small pieces a puppy could choke on.

• Puppies “teethe” so they will chew on anything.

• Conceal and keep your eyes on electrical cords so puppies don’t chew them and get shocked.

• Be mindful of outlet plugs you use to protect children, so puppies don’t choke.

• Store your purse, diaper bags, gym bags and school backpacks off the ground or in a closet where your dog can’t get to them.

• There are a number of items that can be poisonous to dogs such as sugar-free gum, lotion, chocolate, vitamins, protein bars, medication and so many more items we use every day.

• Make sure your trash is stored in a covered can that’s not easily accessible for your pet. This is a haven for all sorts of dangerous items your dog can get into!

• Keep medications, household cleaners, glue, mouse poisons and antifreeze out of your pet’s reach. For some reason, dogs love anti-freeze and it can easily kill them.

• Also, do your research on what houseplants are poisonous to dogs.

There are so many advantages to letting your child have a pet – and one of them is the fact that it’s a great opportunity to teach your child responsibility.

• Children love their pets and, hopefully, they’ll want to help with the duties that go along with it.

• Even young children can help feed and water their pet. Most pets will eat only once or twice a day so it’s a manageable duty.

• I would also guide children on how much sleep and play time their new pet needs every day.

• Puppies and kittens, especially, need about 18 hours of sleep a day. That sounds like a lot, but their bodies need rest. Adult dogs sleep about 12 hours a day.

• Children need to understand that sleep/play balance.

• Once the newness of owning a new pet wears off, children may tend not to interact with it as much – but they need to get in some good, active playtime with their pet every day.

Every child, every puppy or dog, loves toys! What should new pet owners keep in mind?

• Any toy that offers a good “chew” without the risk of having small pieces or fabric detaching from it.

• There are some rubberized toys out there that are good for chewing on and that are practically indestructible, so they’ll last and they’re safe. They come in various sizes.

• Some dogs are just “chewers” regardless of their age so that’s a good option to keep them busy and away from household items.

You’re an expert on all things canine, so what advice would you offer in terms of training?

• I believe that every pet needs some level of training, even if you don’t go for in-depth training.

• Your pet shouldn’t have a free-for-all and he needs to understand your communication with him.

• He should understand “down,” “sit,” “stay” at the very least.

• Puppies can learn simple commands around two months of age, but the more in-depth training doesn’t need to begin until around six months when their attention spans are longer.

• Canine Country Club offers that training for puppies and for dogs of any age.

• It is NEVER to late to teach an older dog some basic training.

Socialization is important for pets too.

• Whether you’re introducing a second pet into the home, or just want to make sure your dog gets along with other animals, periodic socialization is important.

• We offer special day rates at Canine Country Club all the time so you can bring your dog out for a day of play and socialization with other dogs – and he’ll definitely appreciate it!

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