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Happiness is a warm puppy- who needs care

Q: My daughter and I brought home the most adorable puppy. He was one of a litter being given away for free at a garage sale. How can we start off right with this new pet?

A: First, congratulations! You haven’t just brought home a puppy, you’ve adopted a new member of the family, one that will need almost as much attention and love as a new baby. So first, take a deep breath, and then prepare for a whirlwind of “things to do” to get your new pal settled in.

Since you picked up your puppy sight unseen at a garage sale, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible — within three days. He must be screened and treated for worms, fleas and any possible diseases.

Start your puppy out right with a good diet. I’ve written several columns about feeding pets, but talk with the veterinarian about the best food for a growing dog.

Learn how to take care of your new friend: Pick up books on training, grooming and common problems with your breed of dog.

Now, to the day-to-day care of your puppy. Everyone will be excited for the first few days and will want to play with him constantly, but be sure that the puppy is able to settle in as well. Give him a box (preferably a kennel cage) to sleep and nap in, with a warm blanket and some chew toys. You may need to place a ticking clock under the blanket for a few nights — the rhythm helps soothe a lonely pup. Spread plenty of newspapers around, but start housetraining your puppy immediately and consistently.

This is a very basic list, but it will hold you for the first few days that you have your puppy. Meantime, collect as much information about raising a dog as you can, and prepare yourself for a lifestyle change that, while sometimes challenging, can be immensely rewarding.

Send your tips and questions to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Syndicate, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.

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