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Tips for puppy problems and illnesses.


Stages of Development for your Puppy:
Courtesy: PAWS internet page


0-7 weeks

The developmental tasks of this period all involve learning appropriate social behavior with other dogs. Interactions with mother and siblings teach bite inhibition, appropriate submissive and attention-soliciting behavior, attention-receptive behavior, and general confidence with other dogs. Orphan puppies and single-pup litters are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning how to be a dog among dogs. Some of these lessons can be learned later (though how late is "too late" has not been clearly determined) under carefully arranged and supervised conditions. Orphan puppies, especially those bottle-fed from a very early age without mother or siblings, make very problematic pets without knowledgeable remedial behavior shaping.

7-8 weeks

Ideal time for going home. This is the very best age for forming strong bonds with people. Puppies are mentally mature enough to adjust to changes, and to begin their training in manners. Research on this critical period has even pinpointed an ideal day for going into a new home: the 49th!

8-10 weeks

Sometimes referred to as the "fear period", the puppy is especially impressionable now. Object-associations formed during this period leave indelible imprints. It's vital that the puppy have as many positive experiences with people, other animals, and novel situations as can be arranged. It's equally vital to avoid painful or scary experiences until after 11 weeks. Those mildly unpleasant experiences that can't be avoided (like puppy shots) should be turned into positive ones by your reaction: always "jolly up" a scared puppy by laughing, praising the puppy, and treating the event as a game. Never give the appropriately human empathetic response of soothing reassurance, as this convinces the puppy that it must be really awful since you're upset too!

8-16 weeks

Puppy kindergarten classes teach the owner how to teach and the puppy how to learn! Make sure all training sessions are fun and successful. Take advantage of the puppy's dependence on you and strong desire to be near you to teach him to be reliable on "come".

Never punish a puppy, for any reason, if he has come to your call, or come to you at all! In fact, avoid trainers/training techniques which rely on punishment. Get the puppy out into the world and expose him to as many new things and different ages, sexes and races of people as possible. Always make sure you can control the situation so the experiences will be positive. Have the puppy on a leash so that you can intervene if anything threatens or frightens him.

4-6 months

This pre-adolescent period is characterized by the gradual increase of independence and confidence. The puppy will venture further and further from you side, motivated by his own curiosity and increasing confidence in the world. Continue training, in a class if possible. Begin incorporating distractions into your practice sessions. Take the puppy with you everywhere! This period is very important in cementing a bond strong enough to withstand the trials of adolescence (right around the corner!) Make certain your puppy is spayed or neutered by 6 months. There is absolutely no reason to allow the disruptive effects of sex hormones to complicate his/your life!

6-12 months

Even with the best preparation during puppyhood, things will be "hairy" from time to time during this period. The puppy/young dog's needs for stimulation, companionship and activity are very high, and his tolerance for boredom and inactivity are low. This is the period in which sexual maturity is reached in unaltered animals. Owners will experience "testing" behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers. Avoid situations in which the dog's occasional lapses of obedience could have harmful results, lie off-leash work in an unsecured area. Continue to provide safe opportunities for vigorous play and exercise, and safe toys to occupy teeth and mind when he's confined. This is not the time to expect "model" behavior.

12-18 months

Somewhere during this period, your dog will reach emotional maturity: sooner, with small breeds, and later for large dogs. At that time, dogs with tendencies toward dominance will begin to assert themselves, hoping to raise their status in the "pack" (your household!) This behavior occurs within a structure of familiar relationships and only when the animal is approaching emotional maturity. Living with a dominant dog does not mean that the owner must "conquer" the dog, or give up attempts to control him. But challenges from the dog must be recognized immediately and taken seriously. Punishment is not the appropriate method of dealing with this, and is likely to provoke a dangerous response. Consult a competent behaviorist whenever the first warnings of dominance aggression manifest



Pets and Plants, Things to Know:
Courtesy: Paws Internet page

Many house and garden plants contain chemicals that can be toxic to animals. Although most of these plants must be consumed in large quantities to pose serious health threats, it is a good idea to take an inventory of the plants to which your pets are exposed, and to remove those that are dangerous. This is especially important in households with kittens or puppies because young animals tend to chew everything they encounter. Furthermore, birds and herbivorous lizards such as iguanas are likely to ingest household plants when they have access to them.

The following is a list of plants which can be poisonous to animals. Only certain parts of some plants carry toxins, and those are noted below. If you have house or garden plants you are unable to identify, you can try taking samples (leaves, stems, flowers and fruits) to a nursery for identification.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic plant, determine the amount and type and immediately call your veterinarian or the closest emergency clinic. Take your pet and a sample of the plant to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Common house plants:

When ingested by animals, many ornamental potted plants produce reactions that range from mouth irritations to serious swelling and gastric distress. The following lists common ornamentals which should be kept out of reach of companion animals.

Dieffenbachia, aka Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia spp.) - common name derived from the acrid sap in the plant that can burn mouth and vocal chords and lead to voice loss. Leaf colors range from dark to yellow green, and are variegated in shades of white or pale cream. Philodendron (Philodendron spp.) - fast growing plants with leathery, usually glossy leaves which can vary in shape and size. Mostera, aka Split-Leaf Philodendron or Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera spp) - evergreen vining plant with cut or perforated foliage. Calla Lily, aka Arum or Trumpet Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) - long-stalked, shiny, pointed leaves that are sometimes spotted white. White or cream-colored spathes on long stems. English Ivy (Hedera helix) - grown both as potted plant and outdoor ground cover. Lobed dark-green leaves which, in some varieties, are variegated. Jerusalem Cherry, Winter Cherry (Solanum pseudocarpum) - dark green foliage, with small white flowers followed by small, red fruits that resemble miniature tomatoes and contain toxins. Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) - common potted plants used as holiday decorations. Bracts exude milky-sap that is irritating and toxic. Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii or E. spendens) - woody stems with long, sharp thorns. Roundish, light green leaves, and pairs of bright red bracts near branch ends. Common bulbs

Many garden ornamentals are grown from bulbs that can be toxic if ingested. It is best to store bulbs to they will not be accessible to animals.

Tulip (Tulipa spp.)
Daffodil, Jonquil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
Amaryllis, or Naked Lady (Brunsvigia rosea)
Iris, or Flag (Iris spp.)
Amaryllis hybrid (Amaryllis spp.)
Garden Plants

The following is a list of plants found outdoors. They also have toxic qualities if ingested by your pet.

Oleander (Nerium oleander) - all parts of plant are extremely toxic
Azaleas and Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.) - toxins in leaves
Yew (Taxus supp./Podocarpus spp.) - toxins in needles, bark, seed
Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
Lily-of-the-Valey (Convallaria majalis)
Yellow Oleander, or Yellow Be-Still Tree (Thevitia Peruviana)
Deadly Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
Climbing Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
Wild Calla, Water Arum (Calla palustris)
Snow-on-the-Mountain (Euphorbia marginata)
Milk Bush (Euphorbia tirucalli)
Castor Bean, or Castor Oil Plant (Ricinus communis) - planted as a summer annual, and has large, shiny seeds that are poisonous. To prevent seed formation, pinch off burrlike seed capsules while they are small.

Toxic seeds in common fruit

The seeds or pits in the following contain cyanide and should never be offered to birds or other companion animals.

Bitter Cherry (Prunus emarginata)
Choke Cherry (Prunus Virginianum)
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
Apple (Malus spp.)
Sweet Cherry (Prunus pisium)
Wild Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Almond (Prunus amygdalus)
Other toxic plants:

Mushrooms and Toadstools - names used interchangeably. Although some mushrooms can be consumed safely, it is best not to take chances. The Amanita genus is particularly dangerous (for example, Fly Amanita, Fly Agaric, and Panther Amanita)

Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens) - commonly used as holiday decorations. Care should be taken to keep out of the reach of pets because mistletoe berries can be toxic.

Nettles (family Urticaceae) - hairs on nettles break off and can cause skin irritation when animals rub against the plant. Can have cumulative effect.

English and Black Walnuts (Juglans regia, Juglans nigra) - nutmeats are not poisonous, but the hulls surrounding the nuts contain toxins.

Tobacco (Nicotiana tobaccum) - nicotine is a potent and rapidly acting toxin. Extreme caution should be taken to prevent access to cigars, cigarettes, and pipe tobacco.

Precatory Beans, also called Crabs Eye, Rosary Pea, Jequirity Bean (Abrus precatorius) - bright red seed with black spot that is used in jewelry. Seed is extremely toxic when seedcoat is broken, as it is when the seeds are strung.

Illicit Drug Plants: Marijuana (Cannabis sativa), Jimsonweed (Datur stramonium, D. metaloides, D. arborea), Peyote (Lophophora williamsii), Heavenly Blue Morning Glory (Ipomoea violacea), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), Periwinkle (Vinca rosea), and Psylocybin Mushrooms.

One other plant that is toxic is the Lilly. Visit "Put Your Pet on the Net" for information sent to us about this toxic plant and your pet.


Cold Weather Pet Care:
Supplied by: Regina Humane Society and Saskatoon SPCA.


When winter strikes in areas of cold temperatures, you'll find your pet needs a little extra care from you. Here are some points to remember during the winter season.

Tips from the Regina Humane Society

Cats and dogs need protection from wet and cold, whether they get it inside your house or when being left outside. Cats should be kept inside when it gets cold, as well as young puppies, very old dogs and small or short haired dogs. Many people still do not realize that adequate shelter is a requirement. It is also required under the Animal Protection Act. If you have a winter tolerant breed and must keep the dog out doors, an outdoor dog needs a dry, insulated, elevated dog house. It is also important to keep the bedding clean and dry. Make sure there is a flap over the opening of the dog house to keep drafts out. Blankets and carpet are not suitable. A bowl of frozen water can't help a thirsty pet. Check outdoor water bowls often when it is below freezing. Break the ice and refill with water as necessary. Snow is NOT an adequate substitute. If your dog is outdoors a lot in the winter he/she will need more calories to produce body heat, so increase the amount you feed him or her by 20 - 30 percent.
Chemicals used to melt snow on sidewalks can irritate or burn the pads of pets' feet. Wipe them with a damp cloth before your pet licks them and burns its mouth. Also remember to remove the ice between his/her paw pads when your dog comes back from its walk. Think and Thud:

Cats that are left outside in the winter may out of desperation huddle around a warm car engine in an attempt to keep from freezing. That is why the Regina Humane Society suggests you THINK AND THUD on your engine hood before starting your vehicle. If could save a cat's life.

Anti-freeze alert for pets:

Anti-freeze tastes good to pets, but it is deadly poison. The most likely source of anti-freeze is spilled or leaking from your car in your garage or on your driveway. Even the smallest puddle should be flushed with water and cleaned immediately. Anti-freeze should be stored or disposed of in sealed containers well out of the reach of pets and children. It takes less than a teaspoon to kill a cat. Symptoms of anti-freeze poinsoning include staggering, lethargy and obvious signs that the animals is in pain. Pets with suspected anti-freeze poinoning should be rushed to a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY as it runs its course very quickly. Jaundicing in the animal is a sure sign death is not fare away. For further information you can contact the Regina Humane Society at: (306)543-6363

Tips from the Saskatoon SPCA

If you see a stray pet, try to lure the animal to safety. If your can't find its owner, bring it to the your local animal shelter. Animals on the loose are always in danger, but especially so in the cold weather!

Make sure your pet has a dry, warm place to live that is secure from drafts. Older animals may be sensitive to the cold and should have an indoor winter home or be supplied with extra bedding.