Because your puppy is a new addition to your household, having these "Who to Call..." lists at your fingertips will help you find information on how to care for him quicker and put your mind at ease.
There's a health emergency
If you are unsure about anything that has to do with the health and safety of your puppy, please contact your vet or animal hospital. In the meantime, to be prepared in the event of a dog emergency, please read the following articles: Health emergencies and What to do in an emergency.
Here are a few links to help you find phone numbers for veterinarians and animal hospitals.
You have a breed question
There are literally thousands of breeders across the country to contact. So where should you start? You can always check our Breed Gallery for answers to basic questions. If you want to find a breeder, the two largest organizations are: American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.
You need a groomer
If you don't have the time (or desire) to clip your dog's nails; wash, cut, dry and brush his coat regularly; and safely clean under his eyes and the outside of his ears - you should seek the help of a professional groomer.
Here are a few tips to help you choose a groomer that's right for your dog:
- Look for a clean and well-ventilated shop
- Ask what type of services the groomer includes in the fee
- Ask how long an average grooming session lasts, and
- How far in advance you need to make an appointment with them.
- To start your search for a dog groomer, look in your local telephone book.
- The National Dog Groomers is an excellent source of information about the dog grooming industry as a whole.
You're going away on vacation
So your trip is booked, and you want to take your dog with you. Well, there are many dog-friendly hotels that understand and encourage people and families to bring their dog with them. Here's a short list of hotels who love dogs (almost) as much as you do:
- Howard Johnson
- Holiday Inn
- La Quinta Inns/Suites
- Motel 6
- Red Roof Inn
Some airlines also allow owners to bring their dogs with them as well; it's recommended that you contact your airline customer service department or travel agent as early as possible before your trip. A Health Certificate signed by a veterinarian is required for air and Interstate travel. Please discuss this with your veterinarian.
Though your dog would rather be with you, there are times when you have to leave him behind. Dogs should never be left in the house alone for extended periods - not even for a night. You do have several options, depending on how long you plan on being away from home. Leave an "authorization to treat" with your veterinarian in case an emergency arises while you are gone. A copy should also be given to whomever is caring for your dog.
Friends, family & pet-sitters
If you're going away for the weekend, asking a friend to stay over or hiring a pet-sitting service to have someone walk, feed and spend time with your dog is a good option. If your dog is sociable and mild-mannered, he can even go and stay with the sitter. You know your dog best, and know where he'd be most comfortable.
Trading care can be a terrific alternative if you have a friend or family member with a dog. Your dog stays with them when you go away, and their dog stays with you when they go away. This can be an ideal solution if both dogs get along well together.
If you're taking a longer vacation, you'll want to consider a kennel. Dogs can readily adapt to staying at a kennel, especially if they were introduced to it at a young age. It's a good idea, though to try leaving him there for short periods, such as over a weekend, before leaving him at a kennel for longer.
To find a good kennel near you, ask your vet and other dog owners for recommendations. Remember that other people may have different standards than you: for some people location and price are the most important factors. Your vet or your breeder may have facilities for boarding dogs, and if so, either may be an excellent option because they know your dog. It's worthwhile to ask around.
Once you have a list of kennels, visit each one and ask to inspect the facilities. Make sure accommodations are clean, dry, and hygienic and that kennels, cages, and gates are in good repair. Ask to see where your dog will stay. Ideally, he should be provided with his own comfortable run.
If the kennel operators are genuinely interested in making sure your dog is comfortable, they will be happy to provide you with a tour and answer any questions that you have. Questions you should ask include:
- How many dogs are there per assistant?
- How often are the dogs groomed and exercised?
- Do the dogs get individual attention?
- Will the kennel follow your feeding instructions?
- Can you leave your dog with a favorite toy, or article of clothing with your scent?
- How often are the dogs checked in the evening?
- Does someone live on-site?
- What happens if there's a medical emergency?
Finally, do not board your dog at a kennel that does not require proof of up-to-date vaccinations. If they are not checking to make sure your dog is healthy and disease free, they are not checking other dogs, either. You could be putting your dog at risk.
Once you've made your choice, book your dog well in advance of your trip. Kennels fill up during holidays and peak vacation periods. Get your dog in to see the vet for vaccinations well in advance too, because some shots can take three days to take effect.
A lost dog can be a very difficult experience, but it happens to even the most careful owners. However, if you tag your dog with proper identification, have him microchipped and take steps to prevent him from finding ways out alone you can keep your dog as safe and sound as possible.
One of the first things you should do when you get a dog is to make sure he has identification tags, and that the information is easy to read and up-to-date including:
- His name
- Your current address and phone number
- The name and number of your vet and/or animal hospital
- If your dog wasn't microchipped as a puppy you may want to consider doing this now. The most effective identification for your dog is a tag AND a microchip.
Simple preventative steps can help your dog from getting lost. Keep your dog leashed when he is outside. Check the fence in your yard regularly to make sure there are no areas where your dog could slip through or jump over. If you have houseguests visiting remind them to be aware of open doors and windows that might prove dangerous invitations to your dog.
If your dog is lost:
- Search the area and ask everyone around if they've seen your dog.
- Hand out and post a Lost Dog Sign with your contact information.
- Contact animal shelters and file a lost pet report. Your description of him should include sex, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings (including tattoos) as well as if he has a microchip.
- Place a newspaper or radio advertisement.
- If you haven't already made one, you can click here to print off a "Lost Dog" sign to post up in your neighborhood.
Lost Dog Sign
Having a Lost Dog Sign ready just in case your dog goes missing will help you find him sooner. Ensure that you keep a recent photograph of him handy.