Saturday, December 5, 2009

Submissive Elimination


Submissive peeing is something that often occurs in fearful or anxious dogs, and is usually found in younger dogs.  It is often found in dogs with some history of abuse, and usually occurs when a dog feels threatened.  It is important in a dog with submissive peeing issues that you try to build the dog’s confidence and keep all experiences positive and happy.
  • Check for Medical Issues
    • Sometimes inappropriate elimination is actually a sign of other problems.  Be sure to test to make sure everything is ok with your dog’s kidneys and urinary tract.  Some common tests are a biochemical analysis, a bacterial culture, and antibiotic sensitivity.

  • Build Your Dog’s Confidence
    • Dogs who eliminate inappropriately have low-confidence levels.  Because of this, it is important to raise the dog’s confidence. 
    • Reward confident postures and behaviors
    • Avoid direct eye contact.  Look at his back or tail instead.
    • Never pet the top of his head.  Approach from underneath and pet under his chin.
    • Approach your dog from the side, and never present your full front.
    • Go to your dog’s level. 
      • When doing this, remember to bend at the knee rather than at the waist.  You want to avoid standing over your dog.
    • Whatever you do, do NOT scold your dog for inappropriate elimination.  You will only make the problem worse!

  • Play Games
    • Tug of War- Let your dog win!

  • Using Obedience
    • There are a few different views on obedience and submissive urination.  It is my suggestion, however, that obedience be lessened or put on hold until the problem has lessened.

Why Does My Dog Pee on My Bed?

One thing I've heard from quite a few clients is that their puppy will pee in their bed.  Honestly, a few occasions it hasn't even been a puppy at all, but rather a young adult.  Of course, the owners of these dogs are frustrated and furious.  They love their dogs, but are at their wits end.  They're tired of washing sheets and just want a dog they don't have to worry about.  So, what does cause a dog to pee on a bed?

The Cause
The number one reason dogs pee on your bed is the exact same reason they chew your dirty underwear and socks...it smells like you.  In the wild dogs, and young dogs especially, encounter numerous different predators.  When they encounter a predator, they have two choices.  They can fight or they can run, and neither of these is extremely beneficial for the dog.  So, to avoid running into one of their foes they try to cover their scent.  In the wild (and often on farms or in the country), dogs will roll in the nastiest things, like poop or dead animals.  In your house, they roll in your dirty underwear and, you guessed it, your bed.  Young dogs especially have to be careful, so they try to cover the smell of their urine as well.  What better spot to hide their scent than in the scent of their protector and guardian.  Your bed smells like you...a lot...so your dog is hiding his scent in your bed.  By peeing in your bed, and hiding the smell of his urine, your dog is making himself feel less vulnerable and less exposed. 

Another Reason
Some dogs are known as "submissive eliminators."  Many people find a submissive dog to be extremely desirable (easy to calm, eager to please, good with the family, etc.).  An overly submissive dog, however, can be a bit of a problem.  Submissive eliminators tend to pee...a lot.  They tend to pee when excited.  They'll pee when they're scared.  Sometimes they'll even pee just because someone entered the room.  Their pee is actually a huge sign of respect.  If your dog tends to squat whenever you walk in the room, then your dog is probably a submissive eliminator.  Younger dogs often grow out of this behavior, but if you have an older dog who is still exhibiting this behavior, refer to the post on submissive elimination or consult your vet on local animal behaviorist.

A Common Misconception
Because your dog feels most vulnerable right after being scolded and often after being left alone, these are the most common times for your dog to pee on your bed.  Because of this, many people think the dog is doing this out of spite.  I'll often hear, "I yelled at him for digging in the garbage, and he was so mad he went to my bedroom and peed on my bed!"  This is often supported by the fact that the dog often looks guilty after such an incident, like he knew he was doing something terrible and felt remorseful afterward.  The truth, however, is that your dog is peeing in your bed because he's afraid.  He feels vulnerable either because you yelled at him or because you left him alone.  He's trying to feel safe again.


What Can I Do?
The simplest, most logical treatment is to not allow your dog on  your bed.  If you're not home or are unable to supervise your dog, put him in a crate.   You may think it sounds cruel, but I guarantee you that after a short while in the crate your young dog will start to find comfort by being in it.  Besides, if your dog can't get on your bed, he can't pee in your bed.

Next, you want to make sure your dog is completely housebroken.  Your dog may be confused as to where he's supposed to go.  Take the time to return to house training 101.  This will do wonders for you in the long run.

After that, it's all about keeping things clean.  If your dog can still smell his urine from previous accidents he'll be more likely to urinate there again.  When you're cleaning up a mess, try using a special pet odor eliminator (I use Hartz).  Also, make sure you keep your sheets clean.  If you're one of those unlucky people who sweat a lot at night, wash your sheets (including your mattress cover) on a regular basis.

All in all, it comes down to knowing your dog.  What will set him off?  What frightens him and what does he like?  Take the time to "read" your dog and work with your dog, and you'll end up with a wonderful relationship.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Help Your Shy or Timid Dog



  • Build Your Dog’s Confidence
    • Reward confident postures and behaviors
    • Avoid direct eye contact.  Look at his back or tail instead.
    • Never pet the top of his head.  Approach from underneath and pet under his chin.
    • Approach your dog from the side, and never present your full front.
    • Go to your dog’s level. 
      • When doing this, remember to bend at the knee rather than at the waist.  You want to avoid standing over your dog.
    • Whatever you do, do NOT scold your dog for being timid.  You will only make the problem worse!
    • Trying to comfort your dog and saying, “It’s ok” will only teach your dog that fearful behavior is a good thing

  • Exercise
    • A healthy dog is a happy dog, and a tired dog will be too tired to run away.  Give your dog a minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily.
    • Remember to exercise the mind!  Mental stimulation is just as important as physical stimulation.  Take your dog on long walks to places he’s never been before, enroll him in an agility class, teach him tricks, or even play hide and seek.

  • Using Obedience
    • Trying to comfort your dog and saying, “It’s ok” will only teach your dog that fearful behavior is a good thing.  Instead, use obedience to give your dog something else to do, and to focus his attention back on you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dominance and Your Dog: Reconizing the Signs and Learning How to Treat It


What is dominance? Because dogs live in packs, they need a way to avoid fighting over limited resources such as food, bones, and mates.  They establish a pecking order with the most dominant dog as the leader.  If there is one bone and two dogs, the more dominant dog usually gets the bone.  Each dog is born with a certain amount of dominance in his or her personality.  Even in a litter of puppies you can see which are the natural leaders and which are happy just to be a part of the pack.  When a naturally dominant dog lives in a human household, he can become very confused.  He feels the need to behave as the pack leader, but the humans around him send very mixed signals.  He may develop anxiety, aggression, or just be very disruptive and disobedient.  Here are some signs that a dog is expressing dominance:
                -demands attention by frequently nudging people for petting or bringing them toys.
                -purposely “bumps” into people or puts a paw on them
                -shows aggression when people approach his food, toys, or bones.
                -shows aggression when people wake, startle, or try to move him
                -shows aggression when touched over his head or around the neck
                -is deliberately slow in obeying commands
                -is hyperactive and unresponsive   
                        
Establishing yourself as your dog’s leader is the key to easing his confusion and modifying his behavior.  Let your dog know he has a full time job.  He must be obedient to you in order to earn anything he wants.  Avoid situations which tend to bring out your dog’s aggression.  Rather than confront him physically, control his environment so that he understands his subordinate role in your household.

DOMINANCE CONTROL PROGRAM
Note: A majority of this program requires your dog to be well trained.  If you have any doubts about this, or if your dog does not know these commands, consult a trainer.

Feeding time: Let your dog know that you control his food.  Don’t leave a bowl of food available for him whenever he feels like eating.  Instead, choose one or two times to feed him each day.  Fill the bowl with his kibble and tell him to “sit.”  If he sits, put his food down and say, “ok” to allow him to eat.  After 20 minutes, remove his food bowl until his next mealtime.  If he doesn’t sit, do NOT repeat the command.  Say, “Too bad!” and put his food away.  He doesn’t get to eat until the next scheduled mealtime.  If he misses a meal, don’t feel bad.  He knows how to sit and is choosing to not obey your command.  Eventually require him to sit and stay while you put his food down.  Always require obedience when giving him treats.


Door Etiquette: When walking your dog in or out of your house, insist that he sit and stay while you open the door.  Go through the door first while he remains in a stay, then say, “OK” to release him allow him through the door.  It may be helpful to keep him in a stay until his attention is focused on you.
Heeling: Do NOT allow your dog to walk ahead of you.  Keep him in a heel position.  If you’d like him to explore an area, stop and have him sit.  Say, “OK” and encourage him to move out of heel position.  When you are ready to move on, tell him, “Let’s go!” and pat your leg to continue heeling.  Remember that heeling means no sniffing, stopping or searching.  His attention should remain focused on you.
Toys and Games: If your dog has a favorite toy, put it away.  Let him play with it only when he obeys your commands.  If your dog likes to retrieve, have him sit or down before you throw the ball.  If he likes tug-o-war, teach him a reliable “drop” command so you can control the game.  NEVER allow your dog to win a game of tug-o-war.
Attention: If your dog demands attention from you by nudging, whining, barking, or bringing you toys, either ignore him or give him an obedience command.  Teach him that you choose when and how he gets your attention.
Furniture and Beds: Keep him off furniture, beds, and other places where he is in equal or higher position than you.  Be consistent!!
Down/Stays and Place: Practice longer and longer down/stays and “place” commands.  Make sure you are always monitoring him during these commands.  Correct him if he makes a mistake.  Practice after he has exercised to reduce the need for corrections.  Occasionally reward him with a treat while he remains in position.  Remember, he can only move when you release him.
Handle and Groom: Make sure your dominant dog is used to be gently handled.  This is not only good for dominance control, but will really come in handy for vet visits and trips to the groomer.  Try brushing his belly, and make sure you are able to touch his ears, face, paws and tail without confrontation.
Exercise: A tired dog is a happy dog.  This is why exercise is so important.  Many times, poor behaviors are just signs of a dog with too much energy.  Take your dogs for walks, to the dog park, or for games of fetch.  Make sure your dog is getting 1-2 hours of structured exercise a day.
It is also important to remember that exercise is not just physical.  Mental stimulation is just as important.  Work on training your dog, enroll him in an agility class, or play games of hide and seek.  Even changing your walk a bit will help.  Just make your dog thinks a bit more.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Does My Dog Dig?


This is one question that nearly every single one of my clients has asked me.  Digging, for people, seems pointless.  Not only is it dirty, it leaves an unsightly mess of the yard.  After our dogs are done digging, of course, they're filthy and so is the house if you allow them inside.  For dogs, however, digging is great fun. Not only is it dirty, it leaves an unsightly mess of the yard. :)

Yes, it may seem your dog is digging simply to annoy you and because making a mess is fun.  The truth, however can be much more complicated.  So what does cause your dog to dig?

Avoiding Climate Conditions
Especially if you live in a particularly warm climate, or if your dog is prone to overheating, this could very well be the cause.  As your dog digs deeper the ground gets cooler.  A lot of times you will find these holes under decks, under bushes, or in flower beds.  It's not only cooler there, it's also a shelter from the sun! 

Chasing All Those Pesky Rodents
This is usually true of dogs that were bred to hunt.  I've seen this behavior a lot in labs and hounds, but it's certainly not limited to certain breeds.  All dogs have a prey drive (the instinct to chase, catch and kill).  If your dog is digging trenches through the yard, he/she is probably searching for prey.

Mom!  I'm Bored!  Do You Want to Play??
Just like when you used to make mud pies as a child, your dog just wants to have a little fun.  This commonly happens when your dog is particularly bored or wants your attention.  Throwing dirt around can be extremely fun.

The problem with digging, however, is that you're rarely there to stop it.  If your dog is bored, he's going to come to you for play time before he goes to dig.  If there's something to chase, you're probably more interesting, and if he's hot, he'll ask to come inside.  So what can you do when you're not even there?  Lots!

First, review the major causes of digging and try to figure out what is motivating your dog.

Avoiding Climate Conditions

This is the easiest fix.  Help your dog to cool off!  Provide plenty of shade and a cool place to rest.  Investing in a small doggy pool is not a bad idea either!

Chasing All Those Pesky Rodents
This one is going to take a little time.  The best thing to do first is to try to eliminate the rodents.  I know.  That is much easier said than done (especially if you life in the country).  That's where keeping your dog interested in something else may be easier.  (See below for more information.)

Mom!  I'm Bored! Do You Want to Play??

The best thing here is to make sure your dog is NOT bored.  A method that may help both boredom and prey-driven dogs is to actually give your dog an area to dig.  I know, it seems counter -intuitive but it works.  I often recommend getting a sandbox for your dog (filling it with sand will help distinguish the difference between ok digging and not ok digging).  Bury a few extremely fun treats in the sand.  You can hide toys or food, just make sure it's something your dog wants.  Then, spend a little time encouraging your dog to dig there.  Show him it is ok by digging there yourself.  If you do catch him digging in the sand on his own, praise him.  Let him know that digging where YOU deem appropriate is super-duper fun, but digging anywhere else is kind of a drag. 

The Importance of Exercise
If your dog is bored or has energy to chase things, he/she is most likely not getting enough exercise.  I highly recommend taking your dog on daily walks (30 minutes minimum) and spending plenty of time playing with your dog.  Keep in mind that if you are exercising your dog then your dog is not the only one reaping health benefits.  Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog and a tired, happy dog won't dig! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Potty Training Your Puppy

Housetraining is not only possible; it is also easy because of the natural instinct of dogs to relieve themselves away from their living quarters. The use of a pet crate makes the whole process go more smoothly. A pet crate has the additional advantage of protecting your home from the potential destructive behavior of a curious puppy, as well as minimizing chances of the puppy injuring himself.

Feed your puppy 3-4 meals of high quality commercial pet food daily.

Consistency in feeding times makes the times of elimination more predictable. Make the last feeding no later than 6 p.m. Removing water at 8 p.m. may be helpful for the first month or two.

Confine the puppy in a crate all the time it is not under your direct supervision:

The crate should be large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around, but not so big as to have extra room in which elimination can occur. If you choose to buy a larger crate, place something in the back part of the crate to make it smaller while the puppy is smaller. A key point: Do not give it an opportunity to have an accident. Do not show the puppy any attention while in the crate. Talking to the puppy, sticking your finger in the crate door, or even yelling at the puppy trains the puppy to whine, bark, etc. to get that attention. Totally avoiding the pup’s actions in the crate will soon lead to the puppy learning to be quiet.

When you take the puppy out of the crate, immediately take it outside:

If it refuses to “do its business” after 5 minutes outside, put it back in the crate for 5 minutes and repeat the procedure. The puppy soon learns that its reward for “doing its business” is to stay out of the crate.

Select one toilet area for your puppy:

Take your puppy to the area at times it is most likely to need to eliminate: right after sleeping, soon after eating, etc. In the beginning, it is advisable to take the puppy out every 2 hours if possible. Always provide the puppy the opportunity to go outside to eliminate just before being put back in the crate. Always take the puppy outside immediately after returning home before the excitement causes an accident. When you get to the area and your puppy begins to sniff around for the right spot, use a phrase such as “hurry up,” or “go potty.” Soon that phrase will result in elimination.

Praise your puppy immediately:

Praise your puppy after he has eliminated in the right area. Even if you are doing everything right, accidents will happen. If you catch your puppy in the act, clap your hands to startle him and say, “NO!” Immediately take him to the area you have designated as a toilet area. If he then eliminates in the toilet area, praise him for doing a good job. If you find an accident, do not raise your voice, spank your puppy, or rub his nose in it. While you will certainly make him afraid, it won’t be because of the accident, but he will be afraid of you.

Use products that neutralize urine odor when cleaning up accidents:

Avoid products with ammonia, as it is a natural component found in urine and the smell may actually attract the puppy to urinate in that location.

Remember, BE PATIENT. Housetraining should be complete by 4-6 months of age. But it is still advisable to keep the pet in the crate for several months when you are away from home to prevent possible destruction behaviors.

Remember: Your puppy needs plenty of play and exercise when out of the crate.

Points to Remember:
- A dog can only understand scolding and praise if it occurs within a half second of the even you are trying to control. Catching a puppy “in the act” is the best time to scold or praise. After the event has occurred, it is too late to scold or praise because the puppy will associate your feedback with whatever he is doing at the time, not ten minutes before. Rubbing his nose in his mistakes is a worthless technique and only confuses the dog.
- Dogs need to relieve themselves after eating, sleeping, and playing
- Feed your puppy at the same time every day. This will help keep the dog’s digestive system regular and it will be easier to predict when he needs to go out.
- Start housetraining on a weekend when everyone will be home and able to help. If mistakes happen, clean it up well and spray an odor neutralizer on the wet spot.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Crate Training Your Puppy

Crate Size:
A crate should always be large enough to permit the dog to stretch out flat on his side without being cramped and to sit up without hitting his head on top. It is always better to use a crate a little too large rather than one a little too small. Measure the dog from the tip of the nose to the base (not tip) of the tail. Allow for growth by adding about 12 inches. A crate too large can be made smaller by adding a partition of wire, wood or masonite. Remember, a crate too large for a young puppy defeats its purpose of providing security and promoting bowel control.

Location:
Since one of the main reasons for using a crate is to confine a dog without making him feel isolated or banished, it should be placed in, or as close to, a “people” area—kitchen, family room, etc. To provide even a greater sense of security and privacy, it should be put back in a corner. Admittedly, a crate is not a “thing of beauty,” but it can be forgiven for not being a welcome addition to the household d├ęcor as it proves how much it can help the dog to remain a welcome addition to the household.

Crating a Puppy:
A young puppy (8-16 weeks) should normally have no problem accepting a crate as his “own place.” Any complaining he might do at first is not caused by the crate, but by his learning to accept the controls of his new environment. Actually the crate will help him to adapt more easily and quickly to his new world.

Place the crate in a people area and, if possible, in a spot free from drafts and not too near a direct heat source. For bedding, use an old towel or piece of blanket that can be easily washed. You may also want to include some freshly worn, unlaundered clothing such as a tee shirt, old shirt, etc. Avoid putting newspaper in or under the crate, since its odor may encourage elimination. A puppy should not be fed in the crate and will only spill a bowl of water.

Make it clear to all family members that the crate is not a playhouse. It is meant to be a “special room” for the puppy, whose rights should be recognized and respected. You should, however, accustom the puppy from the start to letting you reach into the crate at any time, lest he become overprotective of it.

Establish a “crate routine” immediately, closing the puppy in it at regular intervals during the day (his own chosen nap times can guide you) and whenever he must be left alone for up to 3-4 hours. Give him a chew toy for distraction and be sure to remove collar and tags which could get caught in an opening.

The puppy should be shown no attention while in the crate. Dogs tend to be much better psychologists than their owners—often training the owner, rather than the owner training the puppy. Any attention shown to the puppy will simply cause the puppy to believe that whining, crying, etc., is all that is needed for him to get more attention.

The puppy should be taken outside last thing every night before being put into the crate. Once he goes into the crate, he should stay there until first thing in the morning. IMMEDIATELY when the puppy is removed from the crate, he should be taken to the chosen area for his bowel eliminations.

Always feed the puppy early enough to allow ample time for bowel elimination after eating before placing the puppy in the crate. This can be up to one hour, depending on the dog. Simply clock the time after eating until the bowel movement occurs to determine this time interval for your particular puppy.

After the puppy is fully housetrained (usually 8-12 weeks of cage use), you simply can leave the door open (or take it off) and allow the puppy to come and go as he chooses. If the puppy becomes destructive during his growing phases, it is a simple matter again of confining him in the crate when he is not under your supervision.

Even if things do not go too smoothly at first- DON’T WEAKEN and DON’T WORRY! Be consistent, firm, and be very aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing him from getting into trouble.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vaccinations

Many of the serious diseases of dogs can be prevented by vaccination. With over 50 million pet dogs in the United States alone, your pet is bound to come in contact with an infectious disease at some time. Even if you always keep your pet indoors, your dog can be exposed to viruses carried in the air, in dust, or on clothing. Vaccination is inexpensive protections against costly treatment, or even premature death of your dog.

The 5 following vaccinations are often given in one shot known as DHLPP (or a 5-way).

Distemper:
Distemper is one of the two most important diseases of dogs. It is very widespread, and nearly every dog will be exposed to distemper within the first year of life in our area. Signs include coughing, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite, fever, and discharges from the eyes and/or nose. “Squinting” of the eyes is often the first sign observed. Once the virus enters the nervous system, convulsions, twitches, or partial paralysis become evident. It is spread through all body secretions and is highly contagious. It is usually fatal.

Hepatitis:
Canine hepatitis affects the dog’s liver. Spread through and infected dog’s urine, exposure can mean anything from a mild infection to death. Puppies are at most risk with this disease. Vaccination has controlled this disease for several years, making it rarely seen by the veterinarian today.

Leptospirosis:
“Lepto” is a bacterial infection that affects the dog’s kidneys. It can reside as a low-level infection for months or years, infecting other dogs while weakening your pet. Lepto is contracted through rodent urine, and many dogs contract this disease by drinking water that a squirrel or other rodent has run through. The scariest thing about Lepto, however, is that it is a zoonotic disease (it can be transferred to humans). While leptospirosis was rarely seen due to vaccinations, an increase in cases in the past few years has caused vets to encourage this vaccine.

Parainfluenza:
Parainfluenza is caused by a virus which produces a mild respiratory tract infection. It is often associated with other respiratory tract viruses. In combination these viruses are usually transmitted by contact with the nasal secretions of infected dogs. This virus is not dissimilar to the human flu.

Parvovirus:
Since its devastating worldwide appearance in 1978, most dog owners have heard of parvo. It is transmitted through direct contact with an infected dog’s feces. Ad dog that recovers from the disease remains a “carrier” spreading the virus in its bowel movements for 1-3 months. Signs include vomiting, fever, depression, and diarrhea, which often will contain large amounts of blood. Three is another form where the virus attacks the heart muscle causing a heart attack and death. The younger the pet, the GREATER the chance of death. The death rate is very high in dogs under 4-6 months of age.

Dogs remain susceptible to Parvovirus infection until two weeks after the last injection in the vaccination series. This is the MOST SERIOUS and FATAL disease we see today.

The following vaccinations are given as separate shots. These vaccines often require a series of injections to develop a high level of immunity.

Bordatella:
Otherwise known as “kennel cough,” dogs with this disease develop an upper respiratory infection not unlike the common cold. While typically not fatal, if left untreated this can develop into pneumonia which is fatal. Bordatella is transmitted much the same way as the common cold, and most dogs will acquire it at some point in their lives. Signs include a mucus discharge in the eyes and nose, and a dry, hacking cough. In more severe cases, these symptoms may be accompanied with lack of appetite and depression.

Rabies:
Rabies is a FATAL INFECTION of the nervous system that attacks all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Rabies has become synonymous with the image of a vicious dog. Rabies is a public health hazard and a personal risk to all pet owners. Many states require vaccination against rabies, and most veterinarians recommend vaccination for all dogs and cats, regardless of state law. Rabies can be transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Even dogs kept indoors can come in contact with a rabies carrier in a basement, garage, or attic. Because there is NO CURE for rabies, vaccination is your pet’s only protection

How to Puppy Proof Your House

The Christmas season is only a few months away, and I'm sure that more than a few of you are considering getting a puppy. Of course, this is not a decision to be taken lightly, but for those of you who are dead set, the next few blogs are for you! The first few blogs on this post will be dedicated to your puppy. We'll cover everything from potty training to vaccinations. This first post is dedicated to puppy-proofing your house, and making it a fun, worry-free place for all who live there.

That’s Shocking- Young animals love to chew when they’re teething. Keep electrical wires out of reach or use a pet-repellent spray.

They’d die for some chocolate- Chocolate can be dangerous. It contains theobromine, a powerful stimulant that is toxic to pets. Sweets, cakes, and cookies can also upset a young animal’s G.I. tract and can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, which can be serious.

But it’s healthy for us- Some things that are great for people can be deadly to your pet. Keep your puppy away from raisins, grapes, garlic, raw onions, and raw peppers. Feel free, however, to see what else your dog might like. Carrots can be nutritious chew toys and apples and green beans can be a healthy snack.

Treats can be threats- Never give turkey, chicken, or rib bones as a treat. They can splinter and cause serious injury.

Common Household Killers- Cleaning agents, bleach, ammonia, disinfectants, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint, gasoline, rat poison. Keep them locked up.

Check the antifreeze- Pets are attracted to the odor and sweet taste of antifreeze. Store it high and tightly sealed, wiping up any spills on the garage floor. Window-washing solution and many floor cleaners also contain antifreeze.

Killer house plants- Poisonous plants include lilies, philodendron, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, eucalyptus, spider plants, azalea, ivy, amaryllis, pyracantha, oleander, boxwood, Jerusalem Cherry, and plant bulbs.

Keep off the grass- If you treat your lawn with chemicals, keep pets away. Even some mulches contain similar ingredients to chocolate. Read and follow label directions carefully.

It fit yesterday- Puppies grow rapidly. Collars and harnesses can be rapidly outgrown, leading to serious wounds.

Take care of personal care items and medications- Cosmetics, shampoos, skin creams, hair “perm” solutions, depilatories, suntan lotions, sleeping pills, antihistamines, aspirin, and acetaminophen can all be lethal to pets.

It’s not a toy- Don’t leave plastic bags out. Inquisitive young animals can suffocate.

A dip tip- Keep covers on hot tubs and swimming pools. Young puppies can fall in and not be able to get out.

‘Tis the Season- Keep holly, mistletoe and especially Christmas tree tinsel out of reach.

Cozy up- Always use a fireplace screen. Not only could stray embers pop out and hurt your puppy, but kindling can seem awfully enticing to a teething pup.

Do you eat with that mouth?- Rule of thumb: If any or all of something will fit in a mouth, it’s dangerous. Watch out for cigarette butts, rubber bands, balloons, sewing needles, thread, string, ribbons, and, yes, even pantyhose. What goes in must come out, often via surgery.