Table of Contents

Congratulations on adopting your new dog! Here are some tips from CAP to help you keep your dog happy and healthy. 


You will need supplies, like food, dishes, a collar, and a leash.  Bringing a new pet into the home, particularly if you have other pets, requires a period of acclimatization.  Dogs are playful and may chew on or eat hazardous objects - make sure to dog-proof your home so your new friend stays safe.  Consider weather conditions before letting your dog outside - always give plenty of water and ensure shade when they are outdoors.  Just like other family members, your dog will need yearly health checkups, a good veterinarian is a must.  To help your dog fit in and flourish, teach them good manners and go to the bathroom when and where you want them to through training.  And last but not least, play with your dog.  Dogs love to play and need the exercise - take your dog to one of Houston's many dog parks and get to know other dogs and their companions. 


Welcome to the community of canine friends!


  • HEARTWORM PREVENTION & flea prevention (check out CAP's Cornelius Clinic for great prices on these necessary medications.  The clinic offers low-cost wellness and medications)
  • Food - only feed age-appropriate, high-quality dog food for dog size and age
  • Food dishes - always get separate water and food bowls that are not attached
  • Collar and ID tag, Rabies tag & microchip tag
  • Leashes
  • Kennel/Crate for housetraining & short-term confinement
  • Flea comb, dog brush, dog shampoo - dogs need to be groomed regularly
  • Carrier for small dogs
  • Nail clippers - nail trim instructions are given further in this guide
  • Dog toothbrush
  • Chew toys 
  • Dog bed
  • First aid emergency books such as The First Aid Companion for Cats and Dogs or Pet First Aid

 CAP's very own Pet Supply Store has new and gently used supplies, and buying from our store helps the Shelter with medical care of all of our animals. Check it out!


Feed high-quality dry food to your dog once or twice per day in amounts recommended by your veterinarian. Limit safe extras (like cottage cheese or cooked egg) to 10% or less of the dog's diet. For large breed dogs (over 55 pounds), feed food formulated for large breeds, as they have increased nutritional requirements. You may want to purchase elevated dog bowls for large breed dogs, so your dog does not have to crane their neck down to eat, which can cause neck and back problems.

Feed puppy food to dogs less than one year old.... even if they look big, their bones are still growing and they need puppy food. Large breed (grow to be over 55 pounds) dogs who are less than one year old should be fed large breed puppy food, and likewise, small breed puppies should be given puppy food formulated for small breeds. If you are unsure as to your dog's estimated adult weight, ask your vet to give an estimate. 

Acclimatization ... Getting to Know You

When you bring your new friend home . . . .

It is important to know that your dog has been under stress. They have been in a strange place full of other animals and now they are in a new home with a new family, and maybe even other pets. These recommendations will help make an easy transition for you and your new pet.

  • Although everyone will want to meet and play with your new family member, keep the initial interactions to a minimum. Give them time to settle in and get to know you.
  • Let them explore and investigate their new home and yard. There are many new smells and sounds to investigate and learn, and most likely your new dog will want to smell EVERYTHING.
  • It is not uncommon for dogs to take a week or more to "decompress" from the stress of the shelter. How they behave during the first few days at home is not necessarily how they will behave after a few weeks of getting used to their new home.
  • It is suggested that you keep your new dog away from other pets for 5-7 days if possible. Not only does this give your new dog time to settle in, but it also allows time to ensure that the pet is healthy and not showing any behavior problems. 
  • Introduce your new dog to other pets in the home slowly, use caution when introducing pets to each other. Some may eventually become friends and others will just co-exist. Before introducing your new dog to pets already in your home, take the dog for a brisk walk to release energy. Then allow them to sniff where the other pets have been. Introduce slowly and keep all dogs on leashes.
  • It is important to give equal attention to your original pet. Do not ignore them as this may cause resentment of the new pet. Most important is that the original pet too needs to feel loved, even more so because of the new addition to your family.

When introducing a dog and a cat -  When the dog is in a calm state and still on a leash, allow the dog and cat to view each other at a distance. You should exude calm but also express firmness and not allow the dog to chase the cat or the cat to scratch the dog. Another human family member should hold the dog leash while you calmly pet the cat, thereby letting the dog know that the cat is part of the family. Most dogs want to please their human companion. If the dog remains fairly calm, allow the dog to get close to the cat while still on a leash.  A dog's basic instinct is to chase a cat. Whether the dog chases or not depends on the introduction and the cat. A cat who is not afraid of dogs and does not run is less likely to provoke a chase. The new dog and your cat should not be alone together for a few weeks because the dog may still chase a running cat. Also, if your dog sees the cat outside, he may feel like the cat is fair game for a chase.


It is our hope that education, preparation, and some patience will go a long way toward making your relationship a meaningful and lasting bond.  It is also very important to make your home safe for your new pet, especially if adopting a puppy. They can get into things that you would never think possible! Check out these links to help you pet-proof your home: Puppy Proofing Tips.


Dog proofing - before you let your dog loose in your home or yard, check the following safety hazards. 

  • Poisonous plants - our non-exhaustive list of poisonous plants for cats, many of which also apply to dogs
  • Medicines - ibuprofen, in any dosage, is toxic to dogs
  • Keep toilet lids closed (dogs will drink the water which contains chemicals and fecal matter)
  • Make certain they cannot get in the fireplace
  • Open stairways (dogs and puppies are at great danger in a home with a 'half wall' or even open rails on an upstairs room. They can easily fall through or jump over a half wall, plunging to the floor below! Take precautions!)
  • Human food (especially chocolate) and accessible garbage (especially any kind of bones - bones can either splinter and perforate the stomach or intestines, or form an intestinal blockage)
  • Needles and/or thread; knitting and/or crocheting materials
  • Rubber bands (which can wrap around the intestines)
  • Plastic wrap or bags (the dog can eat, or strangle, or suffocate on)
  • Styrofoam (especially packing "peanuts") which the dog may eat
  • Cigarettes (dogs may eat)
  • Cellophane (turns glassy in the stomach and can cause internal lacerations)
  • Christmas tree needles, tinsel, and decorations
  • Keep your workshop off-limits (dogs will jump at moving objects such as drills and power saws - may also swallow screws, nails, wire, and other small parts)
  • Cleaning products and other chemicals
  • Fences that have loose posts or are easily escaped from
  • Compost or other waste material (may contain toxic molds)
  • Litter box (both litter and waste may be of interest to curious dogs)
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a car
  • Do not transport your dog in the back of a pick-up truck, unless in a travel-approved kennel. Do not tie them down in the back.

Emergency Numbers: Keep the phone numbers of your vet, an emergency 'after hours' clinic, and a local poison control center, posted by your phone. The number for the National Animal Poison Control Center is (888) 426-4435 

Outdoors: When allowing your dog outside, make sure your yard is secure. Also, monitor weather conditions - extreme temperatures (heat or cold) are difficult for all pets but especially bad for dogs and older animals (see our article on heatstroke). Keep in mind that dogs are escape artists because of their size and can hurt themselves easily if left unsupervised outside. Leaving your new dog outside all of the time by itself may also have an impact on your relationship with them or lead to behavioral problems. As the dog gets older and you want to let them roam the yard for longer periods of time, consider purchasing a doggie door to facilitate re-entry into the home if the dog tires of being outside or weather conditions change. Pet doors also allow a fire escape and can assist with housetraining. If you cannot install a pet door, read out article on winter/summer outdoor safety for dogs.


Kids & Pets

Click HERE for a downloadable and printable .pdf version of this flyer to discuss with your kids! 

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Find a veterinarian immediately and establish a relationship. Waiting until you have a sick animal is not the time to find a vet you like and feel comfortable with. Make sure to ask the vet about who would you contact during the hours their clinic is not open. Some vets treat their own emergencies and other vets send you to an animal emergency clinic. Keep the phone numbers of your vet and an emergency 'after hours' clinic (you may want to drive by the emergency clinic so you know how to get there) readily available. Also, keep a vaccinations/worming schedule and all other health information in a place you can easily locate.

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) operates the Cornelius Clinic, an affordable wellness clinic that is open to the public. The Cornelius Clinic can serve as your veterinarian for low-cost wellness/vaccinations, however, it is not a clinic for injured animals or those needing specialist care.

The AMVA recommends the following vaccinations for dogs: distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (for hepatitis and respiratory disease), and canine parvovirus-2. Other vaccines include leptospirosis, coronavirus, canine parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (for kennel cough), and Borrelia burgdorferi (which causes Lyme Disease). Your dog's lifestyle and circumstances will play a large role in what vaccinations they need - talk with your veterinarian about the best vaccination plan. If you have adopted your dog from CAP, the vaccinations will be up to date, they will be wormed, spayed/neutered, microchipped, and checked for heartworms.

Fleas: Do not use flea collars, first because their effectiveness is questionable and second, because flea collars can cause skin sores on long-haired dogs due to the concentration of poison around the neck. Rather, a good rinse or monthly single dose of products such as Frontline or Advantage (available from your vet) is a better solution to the problem of fleas. Consult your vet for the best option. Flea products contain toxic substances and their use should be minimized.



 Health Concerns - Please Be Aware

CAP takes every step possible to ensure that your new pet is healthy; however, an animal can appear perfectly healthy, displaying no symptoms of illness, and begin to get sick several days later. You have two weeks to return the pet due to illness or behavior issues, and six months to choose another pet. 

If your pet begins to show signs of illness within two weeks of adoption, please call us at 281-497-0591 so we can arrange to do a medical evaluation and prescribe medications as appropriate. A very small fee for medications may be charged. Note: CAP is unable to treat animals displaying symptoms of parvovirus, distemper, and other potentially life-threatening and/or highly contagious diseases.

If you decide to take your pet to your own veterinarian, CAP cannot be responsible for costs or reimburse expenses. 


Most Common Illnesses and Symptoms

Kennel Cough (Bordatella)

Every dog receives a Bordatella intranasal vaccine upon intake. However, due to stress and a dog's uncertain history, it is possible your new pet could have been exposed prior to receiving the vaccine and show symptoms of kennel cough. Kennel cough is a contagious bronchitis characterized by a harsh, hacking cough. Similar to a chest cold in humans, it often sounds worse than it is. However, if left untreated can develop into more serious conditions including pneumonia. The most common treatment for kennel cough is antibiotics combined with a cough suppressant. Symptoms usually disappear within 10-14 days. 



Distemper is a serious illness similar to the measles virus in humans and is highly contagious. The virus can spread through the air and by direct or indirect contact with an infected animal. Symptoms include high fever, red eyes, watery discharge from the nose and eyes, lethargy, coughing, vomiting/diarrhea and decreased appetite. Distemper is often fatal, and survivors can have permanent, irreparable nervous system damage. 



Parvovirus is a major concern of all animal organizations. Unvaccinated puppies and young dogs are the common targets of this disease. Every dog receives a parvovirus vaccine upon intake. However, due to the speed that this virus hits, a dog can be perfectly healthy one day and showing symptoms the next. Incubation of parvovirus is 7-10 days. Parvovirus attacks the intestinal system and symptoms include lethargy, not eating or drinking, and/or bloody diarrhea. The younger the dog, the faster the symptoms can progress. The most common treatment is fluids and antibiotics, and even if the dog is seen by a veterinarian immediately, this disease can be fatal.

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Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) only adopts out dogs who have either tested negative for heartworms or have received veterinary treatment for heartworms. You must keep your dog current on their heartworm prevention to keep them from getting this terrible disease. Please read the information below to learn more about heartworms and please help spread the word!

If you have adopted a dog that was previously treated for heartworms please read through --> THIS BROCHURE <--. Upon being surrendered to CAP, dogs who test positive for heartworms go through an extensive treatment process involving immiticide. You must relay your dog's treatment information and dates to your veterinarian.

 More than a million pets in the U.S. have heartworms. But heartworm disease is preventable.  Visit HERE for a downloadable/printable .pdf version of the flyer below.

 2020 AHS Canine BrochureMerck 1

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How to Trim a Dog's Nails

When you think about grooming a dog, you probably consider bathing them, brushing their coat, even cleaning those floppy ears, but it's a good idea to give dogs a pedicure every few weeks as well. If you've never trimmed a dog's nails, ask for some help from a more experienced person and keep these instructions nearby. 



 1. Stay Sharp

A few different tools are available to help you trim a dog's nails, including those that resemble miniature pliers and those with replaceable sliding "guillotine" blades. Use whichever model makes you and the animal comfortable, but be sure to replace the blade frequently to make the job easier and prevent the dog from feeling any discomfort.

 2. Pull Their Legs

Dogs are often pretty cooperative when it comes to having their nails trimmed, and those who were handled often as puppies are even more likely to comply. Still, you may need to work a little to keep the animal still. If you're working alone, have the dog sit or lie down on the floor or examining table, then trim the nails, one paw at a time. 


 3. Pull Their Legs, Part II

If you're grooming a larger dog or if the animal is apprehensive, have someone sit him down and hold out his paw, then get to work with the clippers. Have your helper scratch behind the dog's ears to reassure the animal and help move things along a little more quickly. 

 4. Take the Edge Off

Remember that you should only remove the very end of the dog's nails. You may be tempted to trim off all of the recess, but that would be a mistake. In dogs, the quick - the nerve endings and blood vessels inside the nail - continue to grow as the nail grows. That means long nails must be trimmed bit by bit, over weeks or months, until the quick gradually recedes.

 10  Because it's so difficult to see the quick in dogs with dark nails, you'll need to look at the nail straight on and keep trimming until you see a small dark circle. If you accidentally clip too far and the nail begins to bleed, apply pressure to the tip of the nail or dip the nail in a bit of styptic powder, then make sure the animal is kept inactive for a short time. 

5. Thank Them Very Much

Give the dog a treat or a pat on the tummy to thank them for their cooperation, and things should go at least as well the next time around.


Nail Trim Guide courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States; illustrations by Susie Duckworth





Sadly MANY people take dogs to shelters when dogs are between the ages of six months to one year. People think dogs are 'adorable' when they are small. Then when the dog is no longer a baby and the big dog is too rowdy or going through its chewing stage, the adopter returns the dog to the shelter. Educate your dog and avoid this scenario - you will determine whether your dog becomes a well-behaved, well-tempered dog. Your role as an educator begins the moment you bring your dog home - housetraining, walking on a leash, 'table manners,' and following simple commands are not genetically programmed skills.

Crate Training

Is It Cruel, or Is It Kindness?

Many people view a crate as a jail for a dog, the reason that the puppy needs freedom and confinement would cause them to resent you and might result in psychological damage. However, quite the contrary is true. Dogs need to satisfy their "den dwelling" instincts inherited from their pack animal ancestors. They love a secure place of their own where they are safe from harm. The crate will provide you and your dog a means of housebreaking, of keeping your household items safe from chewing, and provides a safe environment when you cannot watch them. This will allow you to use positive reinforcement training when they are outside of the crate. You can also use the crate when traveling or in cases of illness. They are NOT to be used for punishment.

What You Will Need For Your Dog

An acceptable crate can be made of wire, molded fiberglass, or plastic. It should be sufficient for the dog to stand up, turn around, and stretch out flat on their side comfortably. Be careful not to use a crate that is too large, this will sabotage housetraining because they soil one end and move to the other end to sleep. If a small crate is not available for temporary use, reduce the space of an adult size one by inserting plastic boxes or a moveable/removable partition made of wire or wood. 

Crate Training for Bedtime

Placing the crate in your bedroom gives your dog association with you. Place a washable rug/blanket, old unwashed t-shirts that smell like you, and maybe a few good indestructible toys and put the puppy in the crate at bedtime when you are going to bed. Avoid using newspaper in or under the crate, since its odor may encourage elimination. A puppy need not be fed in the crate and will only spill a dish of water. If they cry, do not respond. This may continue for 15 minutes or so, but they will eventually calm down and go to sleep. Since young puppies usually cannot go through the night without urinating, they may awaken and cry. You will need to get up and take them out right away. Give them a lot of praise and return them to the crate. Never scold them for making a mistake in their crate. If morning comes a bit early for a while, keep in mind that this phase will not last long.

Crate Training During the Day

Acclimating your dog to its crate while you are at home will prevent association with being left alone. Another crate or playpen placed in a corner of your living room area can confine them without making them feel isolated or banished. You can leave the cage door open to allow the puppy to enter and exit freely while you are at home with them. Give them their treats to eat inside the crate with the door open. Again, this reinforces a sense of well-being and comfort. A puppy (8-16 weeks) should normally have no problem accepting a crate as its "own place". Any complaining they might do at first is caused not by the crate, but by them learning to accept the controls of them being in an unfamiliar, new environment. It will actually help them adapt more easily and quickly to their new world. Remember, do not open the door for the dog/puppy that is whining to get out. Always wait until your dog is calm and quiet before opening the door. If you uncrate a dog because it is whining, you are teaching them that whining is okay and that it means they will get out. 

Use It - Don't Abuse It

 Establish a "crate routine" immediately, closing the puppy in at regular 1-2 hour intervals during the day (their own chosen nap times will guide you) and whenever they must be left alone for up to 3-4 hours (after 4 months of age). Give them chew toys for distraction and be sure to remove collar and tags that could become caught in an opening. Crates are NOT recommended for puppies which must frequently or regularly left alone for extended periods of time - such as all or much of the day while you are away at work. If it is attempted, the dog must be well exercised both before and after crating, given lots of personal positive attention, and be allowed complete freedom at night (including sleeping near you). During the first year it is best to reduce crate confinement to shorter amounts of time to encourage proper housebreaking. You should make it very clear to children that the crate is NOT a playhouse for them, and that the dog's rights should be respected. Dogs and puppies often retreat to the safety of their crate to escape the overwhelming activities of children.

Crate Training for the Adult Dog

An adult dog or puppy over 6 months old may have behavior problems that need new training. They may have a lack of feeling secure and can be destructive or may have not been properly housetrained. A crate can be very useful but must be introduced as a positive and pleasant experience. Again, a crate is NOT intended for frequent long hours usage for the convenience of an absent owner. Introduce your dog to the crate with the door open (no bedding inside) with treats placed well in the back. Allow them to come in and out freely at first, praising them enthusiastically. When they enter on their own confidently, place their bedding and something of yours (unwashed towel or t-shirt). Continue for several days while shutting the door for brief periods of time with people nearby. However, you must meet resistance with consistent verbal firmness and authority so that the dog is clearly aware of the behavior you desire. Once they have accepted the crate as their bed and their own "special place" your pet will stop being a problem and start being a pleasure.

Does It Always Work?

Unfortunately, there are a few pets that simply can't or won't tolerate confinement. This generally only happens with older pets that may have a fear of being crated due to past experiences. If they appear to "flip out" consult your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist or dog trainer for guidance. Your technique may need to be modified to provide proper training and/or another means of confinement for your dog.

Even if things do not go smoothly at first, DON'T WEAKEN and DON'T WORRY. Be consistent, be firm and be very aware that you are doing your pet a real favor by preventing them from getting into trouble while left alone. A secure dog is a happy dog. 



What Method Should You Use

There are a variety of methods that have been used over the years and may have been proven unsound. Many of them use negative training methods. Some methods give the puppy free reign over the house with no regulations of food or water, then punishes the puppy by hitting or rubbing their nose in the mess when a potty accident occurs. Other methods interrupt the puppy when they are urinating or defecating in the house by picking them up during the process and whisking them outside while loudly shouting NO and BAD DOG. This could scare them into thinking that outside is a bad place and they could even learn to fear eliminating in your presence. If you discover an accident well after the fact, punishment is not helpful and is inefficient, it is only helpful if given immediately after the accident. No matter how frustrated you are, clean up the mess and work on preventing the next accident. Prevention, praise and positive training are the best means of training a puppy.

Paper training is not the best method of choice, contrary to popular opinion. It encourages the puppy to eliminate on newspapers spread over the floor. Many times they miss the boundaries of the paper and can teach them that it is acceptable to eliminate in the house. Also, this method calls for later retraining your puppy to go outside after you have already taught them to go inside on the newspaper. Crate training is one of the best methods and is discussed in the previous section of this care guide. Puppies less than 4 - 6 months old require frequent outdoor potty trips. They cannot be expected to be able to hold their bladder and control their bowels until this age. It is always best to be at home with the puppy or be there to take them outside every 2 -4 hours, or every hour if possible. When you cannot watch them they should be confined in a crate or in a very small area.

What You Will Need

First, be sure that your house is odor-free from any previous accidents caused by another pet. Use a good odor counteractive product to eliminate the scent. All good pet stores will sell odor products designed specifically for this purpose. Do not use bleach, ammonia or vinegar - they are completely ineffective. Second, purchase a crate as described in the crate training section.

Getting Started

The first day or two of housetraining will be spent determining your dog's elimination schedule. Every 60-90 minutes take them outdoors and give them the opportunity to relieve themselves. Take them out through the same door each time, repeating encouraging phrases such as "do you want to go outside?". With the tone of your voice, try to elicit as much excitement as possible. You must stay with your puppy (yes, even in foul weather) so you know for sure what they did. It is preferable to walk your puppy on a leash to the yard within 15 minutes of a meal and immediately upon waking from a nap. Therefore, you should feed your puppy at scheduled times and do not allow many snacks between meals. Food should not be left out all day for them to nibble on when they choose. Allow them 15 minutes to approach their food and begin eating. If they do not do so within the allotted time, remove the food and DO NOT feed him until the following day at the regularly scheduled time. As with food, water should not be at the pet's disposal throughout the entire day. Give them water three times a day and remove it immediately after they are finished drinking. Also, no water is to be given within several hours prior to bedtime in order to prevent elimination during the night. Walk your puppy to the same area of your yard each time to encourage the connection with the business at hand. If your puppy does not do well on a leash, carry it to the preferred spot and slowly work on the leash training. When the puppy prepares to eliminate, say something like "hurry up" or "time to potty". This teaches the puppy to void on command so that you won't freeze unnecessarily on a cold winter night while the pup leisurely looks for just the right spot, or when traveling or when you are in a hurry. Give your dog 10 minutes and bring them back in. Closely supervise them and take them out again one hour later.

Watch for Warning Signs

As time goes on you will learn a good deal about your puppy's behavior and when it may be time to go outside. A good deal of sniffing or walking in circles in a certain area is generally an indication that it is time for a walk. Whining, pacing, barking and scratching at the door also indicate a need to go out. If your dog has an accident in the house when they are out of your sight, clean it up and use a good odor neutralizer, and promise to watch him more closely. If you catch them in the act, simply tell them "no" in a shape tone and take them outside immediately. Do not hit or threaten them, just allow them to finish in the designated area and praise, praise, praise. 

The Umbilical Cord Method

This method of house training is best used with the other techniques described above. Attach your puppy to a long leash that is tied to your wrist or waist. This allows the puppy a certain amount of freedom while ensuring your constant supervision over their activity. The pup cannot wander away to have an undetected accident and you can anticipate the pups need to go outside. This method may be applied as an alternative to overnight crate confinement or isolation in another part of your home. The pup may be leashed to your bed or at least in your bedroom overnight. While some puppies may have accidents where they sleep, they may be less anxious when their owners are nearby, and may have a positive effect on their behavior. 

The Last Word

During this entire process, your dog should never be out of your sight unless they are confined in a fashion that makes it virtually impossible for them to make a mistake. This is not as difficult as it may seem. Keep your dog in the same room with you and don't allow them to wander. It is very unlikely that they would eliminate in front of you; but if they go to an unsupervised area to do so, they most certainly will eliminate and you are creating a bad behavior that is extremely difficult to correct. Housetraining can take several weeks or several months, depending on any previous training or lack thereof. 



Chewing is normal and healthy. Dogs that chew on proper chew toys/treats will have cleaner teeth and healthier gums. Bad teeth cause bad breath and cause the teeth to fall out sooner. Teach your puppy what NOT to chew on and give them things they CAN chew on. Dogs generally need safe chew toys - do not give them household objects, like old shoes, because they teach the dog that socks and shoes are chew toys and they will not be able to distinguish between non-chewable shoes and chewable ones. Also, these items may contain toxins that if ingested at high enough levels can harm the dog.

Teething is generally from 6 weeks to 6 months and your dog will want to chew on everything: shoes, cords, furniture, etc. When you catch them say "No, bad dog" in a disapproving voice. Then give them their toys and say "Good dog, chew on this" in a sweet and happy voice. Never show anger. Good toys for your dog or puppy include hard rubber toys, nylon bones, and natural chews like cow hooves and pig ears. Do not give dogs rawhide, it is not digestible and since it is leather is can remind your dog of shoes. Never give chicken or cooked meat bones of any kind. They can splinter and cause death or they may need to be surgically removed. 


Play Biting

Play biting is normal puppy behavior that can become annoying. We can prevent some of these tendencies by not playing boxing/punching/teasing games. These teach them to play rough with their mouth. Instead, play fetch or frisbee. Also, you can discourage play biting by not petting them around the face or top of the head. Instead, call their name and slowly come from below with your hand and gently stroke their chest. If they nip, withdraw your hand thereby removing your praise and tell them "No" in a stern voice and try again. Supervise your child with the puppy or dog at all times. Young children should not engage in activities that encourage play-biting such as: running and screaming while the puppy or dog chases them, or rolling around on the floor together in a frenzied play-fighting fashion. This will just excite the puppy more. Also, you can distract your puppy with a clap of the hands, or startle him by shaking a tin can filled with pennies. Always praise them as soon as they stop!!


Dogs need walks and outdoor space to play. If your dog is well-behaved around other dogs, consider taking him to one of Houston's many dog parks.