Everybody loves puppies. But puppies aren't always the best pets for everybody. Before your family brings a puppy into your home, everyone should talk about what it means to have a baby in the house. And that's what puppies are-they're babies, and it takes a lot of time and work to help them become good, healthy, happy grown-up dogs.

Sometimes it's better to adopt an older dog. Sometimes it's better to think about another kind of pet. Puppies need all kinds of special attention (hot link to info below). But whatever pet you add to your family, here are some basics of pet care:

Your attention, please. Give your pets plenty of love, attention, and playtime. They're part of the family.

Yummy in the tummy. Feed pets healthful food made just for them. (People food is usually not the best for pets.) Your veterinarian can help you decide what's the best food for your pet. Be sure pets always have clean, fresh water.

Train, don't complain. Most pet problems can be solved with training. Using treats and praise, teach your dog to sit, stay, heel, and come. Teach your cat to use the litter box and what's not ok to scratch.

Lookin' good. Groom pets regularly. Keep their nails trimmed. Some pets, like parakeets or bunnies, may need special kinds of grooming.

I.D., please. Make sure your dog (or cat) wears a collar and tag at all times. The tag should have your address and two phone numbers on it (like your home phone and mom's or dad's work phone or cell phone). An i.d. tag can be a lost pet's ticket home!

Home, sweet home. Dogs and cats should live inside where they're safe and get to spend time with your family. Pets who roam outdoors face many dangers and may bother others. If your dog spends time outside-even a few hours a day--make sure she has a shady spot to cool off in the summer, and a snug doghouse in case it rains or gets cold. (The doghouse should be big enough to let her stand and turn around.) But a doghouse should just be for comfort when you're dog's in the yard, not where she lives all the time. And dogs shouldn't be chained or tied up outside either.

Pets & vets. Take pets to a veterinarian for a checkup at least once each year. Be sure to take him to the vet if he seems sick, hurts himself, or is behaving strangely.

Ready, set, spay. Dogs, cats, rabbits, and some other pets should be spayed or neutered by your veterinarian so they don't have babies.

Get moving. Exercise your pets daily. Always walk your dog on a leash, play games with your kitty, and give any pet some play time with you.


Look out for other PUPPY PLAYS titles coming soon:


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In this first exciting episode, PUPPY PLAYS THE CLASSICS, adorable Ollie introduces you and your child to the wonderful world of classical music. Now you're invited to play with Ollie as he ventures through the music classroom, where exploration and imagination help him learn and grow!

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