The Furriest of Presents

Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Todd, DVM Provides Her Insights for New Pet Owners

If you are planning on giving or receiving a pet this holiday season, Dr. Karen Todd, DVM, shares a few highlights that go beyond the basics of food and water bowls, leashes, toys and a comfy place to sleep.

Tips for Dogs

Dog-proof your home: Just like child-proofing, it is a necessary step to make sure your pet can't get into anything potentially harmful. The rule of thumb is if a toddler can get into it, so can your dog!


It is important to be familiar with common dog toxins in order to keep your dog safe from potential ingestion. The most common toxins for dogs are: chocolate, grapes, raisins, xylitol, ibuprofen, marijuana, rat poison, onions, and more. The Pet Poison Helpline PetPoisonHelpline.com/Poisons/ is an excellent resource for toxin information and prevention.

Potty Training

Potty training is a game of time and patience. Puppies should be taken out every two to four hours. Encourage them by using a gentle ‘go potty’ command. Give lots of praise when your puppy goes to the bathroom outside! Remember to never punish them for accidents, each dog learns at their own pace but with some encouragement and time, they will get the hang of it!

Tips for Cats

Cat proof your home: Cat proofing is a little different than dog proofing. Check high, low, and even behind furniture for anything your cat can get into. Dangling strings and cords may look like toys to your new cat, but pose a strangulation or electrocution risk.


The most common toxins for cats are: lilies, chocolate, essential oils, rat poison, onions, and poinsettias. More information at PetPoisonHelpline.com/Poisons/

Health and Wellness

Dr. Todd recommends scheduling your first veterinary visit within a week or two of bringing your new pet home. Getting started on wellness and preventative care is the best way to ensure a life of good health for your new pet family member.

It is important to keep your new furry family member away from other pets until they are fully vaccinated and have received the go-ahead from your veterinarian.


Patience is key! Bringing a new pet of any age into your home is a big change. It will take time for both you and your pet to adjust. It can take weeks or even months for your pet to feel comfortable in their new home, so stay positive and allow extra time for them to warm up!

Dr. Todd, DVM is a Colorado native and lifelong pet lover who always knew she’d go into veterinary medicine. She has been practicing for almost 20 years and is the proud owner of Altitude Animal Hospital in Highlands Ranch. AltitudeAnimalHospital.com

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