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American Kennel Club


The American Kennel Club is dedicated to upholding the integrity of its Registry, promoting the sport of purebred dogs and breeding for type and function. Founded in 1884, the AKC and its affiliated organizations advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership.

Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it's a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all your obligations as its owner.

Keep Your Dog Healthy

Go to the Veterinarian Set up a schedule for regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Ask the vet questions about your dog's diet, behavior, activity level or other concerns. Contact the veterinarian at once if your dog seems ill or in pain. As a special registration benefit, the AKC has arranged a Complimentary 60-Day Trial AKC Pet Healthcare Plan* for newly registered puppies. Details about this special complimentary benefit will be sent to you shortly after registration.

Train Your Dog

Teach Basic Commands Teach your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come and down. Training your dog will not only make your life easier, but will also fulfill your dog's desire to learn and please you. Socialize Your Dog: Expose your dog to different people and settings regularly. Take him to the park, to the pet store, on a walk through town. Praise him for accepting petting from friendly strangers, and for behaving calmly around other dogs. The more your dog learns of the world, the more comfortable he will be in it.

The Healthy Dog

Your dog will rely on you to keep him in good health. A proper diet, regular exercise and grooming, and routine check-ups at the veterinarian will help keep your dog in top form. It's also important for you to get to know your dog's habits - eating, drinking, sleeping, and so forth - since sometimes a variation in those habits can be an indication that he isn't feeling well.
Nose - A dog's nose is usually cool and moist. It can be black, pink, or self-colored (the same color as the coat), depending on the breed. Nasal discharge should be clear, never yellowish, thick, bubbly, or foul smelling. A cool, wet nose does not necessarily mean the dog is healthy, and a dry, warm nose doesn't necessarily mean he's sick. Taking his temperature is a better indication of illness.
Mouth, Teeth and Gums - Healthy gums are firm and pink, black, or spotted, just like the dog's skin. Young dogs have smooth white teeth that tend to darken with age. Puppies have 23 baby teeth and adults have around 42 permanent teeth, depending on the breed. As adult teeth come in, they push baby teeth out of the mouth. To check your dog's mouth, talk to him gently, then put your hand over the muzzle and lift up the sides of his mouth. Check that adult teeth are coming in as they should, and not being crowded by baby teeth. Make sure the gums are healthy and the breath is not foul-smelling. Look for soft white matter or hard white, yellow, or brown matter. This is plaque or tartar and should be brushed away. Mouth infections can lead to serious problems in the gums and other parts of the body, including the heart, so it's important to give your dog's teeth and mouth special attention.

Nutrition & Feeding

A good diet will keep your dog looking and feeling his best. It provides your dog with the right amounts of essential nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Your dog must have all these in correct proportions to stay healthy. Dog food companies make a variety of foods for all life stages, from puppyhood to senior citizenship. With so many dog foods on the market, it's tough to know what's right for your dog. You can ask a breeder or veterinarian for advice, but it's up to you to see how the food affects your dog. If your dog's energy level is right for his breed and age, if his skin and coat are healthy, if his stools are firm and brown, and if he seems to be in overall good health, then the food is doing its job.

Emergencies and First Aid

First Aid. Restrain or muzzle the dog to keep him from panicking and struggling against you. You can make a muzzle out of panty hose, a cotton bandage, a necktie, or any sturdy piece of fabric about two feet long. Tie a loose knot in the middle, leaving a large loop. Slip the loop over the dog's nose and tighten gently but firmly about halfway up the nose. Bring the ends down and knot under the dog's chin, then bring the ends behind the back and tie again. Transport an injured dog carefully to avoid causing further injury, so transport requires care. Place the dog on a piece of plywood or other hard surface to move him. Small dogs should be placed in a box. Towles or blankets can also be used as stretchers.
Heatstroke may occur when dogs are left in cars on hot, or even warm, days; when kennel areas do not have proper ventilation; or when dogs are overexercised on hot days. The signs are rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, high body temperature (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), and collapse. Dogs suffering from heatstroke must be cooled down as quickly as possible. Spray him with cool water, place ice around the belly, head, and neck. Stop cooling when the dog's temperature reaches 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Call your veterinarian after administering the first aid, or better yet, have someone else call while you're treating your dog.

More information is available at the AKC website. Click on the paragraph titles above for more details or visit their website at AKC.ORG.

Reference Links:
AKC web site.
Register your new AKC Puppy on-line.