1. Infection resistance is lowered until 4 months. Be cautious of other dogs, particularly of kennels, shows, test events, dog parks and uncontrolled neighborhood encounters until this time. If new to raw diet, don't start before this age.
2. Childproof containers don't stop dogs.
3. Secure electrical cords and small items-such as Christmas ornaments, cigarette butts and toxic plants (diefenbacchia, yew, rhododendron, lily of the valley) and glassware.
4. Candle flames are attractive, avoid using them.
5. Keep toilet lids closed, particularly if you use bowl cleaners. Secure household chemicals. Cupboards should not be left open or can be opened. Use of fly paper, rat poison, and other pesticides should be avoided. Check barns for old traps and weak flooring, etc.
6. Cellar doors and upper story windows and wells/cisterns should be secure.
7. Garages hold a host of toxics, particularly antifreeze which can kill in very small amounts, pest controllers and other garden chemicals. Garage door fail-safes are set for kids, not pups.
8. Driveway safety and road safety are big challenges. Try not to back up in the drive. We use an invisible fence for road safety and have had few problems. Some feel they are unreliable. Wait till 4 months if using one.
9. Chocolate is toxic, especially cocoa powder, mulch and cooking choc. Cooked poultry bones may puncture and lodge. Peach and cherry pits and other fruit pits/apple cores may be toxic. Grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts and garlic are toxic to some. Potato peels, rhubarb leaves and tomato stems are toxic. Xylitol, a sugar substitute in diabetic and low calorie foods, particularly ‘sugarless’ gums, is very toxic and fatal in small amounts. Obviously the list can grow-so we don't feed dogs at table and don't give scraps without thought. We discourage counter surfing strongly.
10. Secure pins, needles and other sharps including diabetic supplies.
11. Avoid flea collars, dips or other meds on hand for older dogs.
12. Button batteries, used in hearing aids and other appliances, cause severe digestive burns when swallowed even when removed quickly.
13. Train and socialize your pup to reduce the risk of fear biting and aggressiveness, running away or car chasing. Puppy classes are good for even experienced dog folks. See-The Culture Clash (biblio.) for a discussion of bite prevention.
14. In dog food choices generally, stay aware of quality ingredients and recalls. If you don't wish to bother, use Purina One and switch between lamb and chicken every six months. Use high performance food during active seasons or if breeding.
15. Taking steps on the run or jumping down @ less than 4 months of age may increase hip/elbow dysplasia rates.
16. Powerful magnets in toys, craft use are very dangerous if swallowed.