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Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. is proud to present the

Pet of the Month Program

Each month, we partner with Friend4life based out of Houston, TX, to help a local shelter animal find a new home. Please find more information about this month’s pet below.

Meet Shyoko!

Born:July 2012
Breed:DSH
Weight:12 lbs
Gender:Female
Energy:Low
Health:No Issues
Kids:It’s a possibility
Dogs:It’s a possibility
Cats:Absolutely!

Shyoko is a curious, cute girl.

Why we love Shyoko–and you should too!

Shyoko was found in a warehouse as a baby, and after caring for her for a while there, her owner decided to bring her home. Now she’s searching for a new home, because she definitely does not want to go back to a warehouse! She’s cute and curious, but would prefer if you not pick her up. She’ll come cuddle with you when she’s ready. If you have some human food, she might just come up to you quicker. Of course she’ll eat the cat variety, but she’ll probably always be checking out what’s on the table, people food is the best!

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How to Welcome Home Your Adopted Dog

Bringing an adopted dog into your home can be an exciting time for you and your family. If you are a new dog owner, or if it has been a few years since you last welcomed a pet into your home, it can also be a little stressful. Here are a few tips that you can follow to get through the transition:

Prepare a Pet-Friendly Home

Before you pick up your dog from the shelter, you should make that your home will be a safe and cozy place for the pet. Make an inspection of your home and yard. Get rid of any poisonous plants or shrubs and put away small items that a pup could choke on if swallowed. You should also set up one or more dog beds in areas such as the kitchen and/or living room. If you plan to leave the dog outside for any period, you should ensure that you have fencing or a "dog line" that complies with local animal control regulations.

Stock Up on Dog Supplies

In order to ensure your dog is as healthy and happy as possible during the transition period, you should have your home well-stocked with dog supplies. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests that you have, at a minimum:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Brush, comb and toothbrush
  • Dog shampoo
  • Dog food and snacks
  • Leash
  • Carrier (if a small pup)
  • Safe toys and chew toys
  • Poop scooper.

Additionally, call your local animal control and check on any collar, license, ID tag or microchip regulations that you need to meet. Today, many animal control agencies recommend microchipping your dog in order to make it easier for you to find the pet if it becomes lost.

Make Travel Plans

You should bring someone with you when you pick up your dog from the shelter. While one of you drives, the other one can hold or be near the dog, which will help the pet to feel secure and comfortable during the ride home. Also, you should bring the dog home on a weekend or plan to take a few days off from school or work. Being around your dog during those first few days will help to ease the transition. However, you don't want to be around the dog too much. It could lead to the dog developing separation anxiety once you have to go back to school or work.

Carefully Introduce Your Family and Other Pets

If you have several other people in your household, including children, you should carefully introduce them to the home's new resident. You should go one person at a time. You should do the same when introducing the dog to any other dogs, cats or other animals in the home. Even if the dog shows some anxiety at first, it typically won't last forever. Eventually, the dog should settle in and warm up to everyone.

Start Training from Day One

From the moment you bring your dog home, you should start your obedience training. You can immediately start training classes with your pet or train it on your own. For instance, check out the American Kennel Club's tips on how to teach five basic commands to your dog – how to come to you, sit, stay, lay down and walk on a loose leash. When necessary, use a strong, clear voice when you give commands and make sure to reward the dog for good behavior.

Establish a Safe Area

It's important for a dog to have a "safe space" within the home. The Humane Society actually recommends that new dog owners set up a crate. It can be a type of "den" or "room" for the dog. You should make sure that the crate is big enough for the dog to comfortably stand, turn around and lie down in. It should also not have any wires that a dog may get a paw stuck in. You should limit the dog's time in the crate to just a few hours per day. If you don't want to use a crate, you can use a pet gate to block off a space for the pet.

Define Everyone's Dog Duties

A lot goes into caring for a dog. You should make sure that everyone in your home knows their roles. For instance, who will walk the dog in the morning, afternoon and evening? Who will be responsible for making sure the dog is fed on schedule? Who will groom the animal? Delegating different duties is not only good for the pet but for everyone else as well. Your entire household will feel invested in making sure that the transition goes smooth.

Walk Your Dog Around – Inside and Outside

As soon as you can, you should give your dog a tour around the home – both inside and outside. Walk the dog around and let it see, sniff and feel its new home. Show the dog where its food and water bowls are located, where the dog's bed(s) and crate can be found and/or the area you have blocked off as a safe space. If the dog goes into areas where it is not allowed such as the upstairs or bedrooms, give the dog clear commands. Remember: You're the boss.

Watch Your Dog's Diet

You should do your research and make sure you provide appropriate dog food for the dog based on its age, size and breed. You should stick to dry or wet dog food and avoid giving it any table scraps, which could cause malnourishment and/or digestive problems. The ASPCA suggests that you follow this feeding schedule:

  • Four meals per day if the dog is between 8 to 12 weeks old
  • Three meals per day if between three to six months
  • Two meals per day if between six to 12 months
  • One meal per day after the dog turns one year old (however, if it is a larger breed, you may need to provide two meals per day).

For the sake of routine, you should stick to a feeding schedule. Work in some exercise for the dog – running, walking or simply throwing a ball or stick in the yard – so your dog burns calories and stays healthy.

Get a Health Check for All of Your Pets

Before the dog comes home, you should make sure that all of your other pets have their shots. Within one week after its arrival, you should take the animal to a veterinarian for a health check, shots and spaying or neutering. From that point on, you should regularly check your pet for things like cuts, fleas and ticks and schedule at least one examination per year.

We hope these tips are helpful to you and your family as you welcome a new member into your home and enjoy the many rewards of dog ownership. Thanks for choosing to adopt your pet!

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