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Responsible Dog Ownership

Owning a Coton de Tulear is a big responsibility. A dog is never anything to buy on impulse. It is a 15 to 18 year commitment. You, as its owner, are solely responsible for its health, quality of life, training, behavior and socialization with people, other dogs and animals. This takes time, patience, a financial and an emotional commitment on the part of the owner.

Many people are simply too busy to have a Coton de Tulear. The Coton is an extremely affectionate breed that thrives on human companionship. Owners and prospective owners must realize that the addition of a Coton to their family will bring them much happiness, but also brings the addition of much responsibility.

Most Americans live life in the fast lane. The adults usually have jobs that require them to be away from home 8-10 hours a day, the children have school and many also participate in extra curricular activities such as sports. If plans are not made prior to purchasing a Coton to incorporate basic obedience training, housetraining, grooming and socialization of a puppy into the family’s lifestyle, then chances are the Coton will not be happy, nor will its family.

After saying all this, if the owner/prospective owner IS willing to make the necessary commitments, then the Coton is a charming, affectionate companion who will be with you for many years.

Some of the most basic requirements for dog ownership are listed below:

  • PRIOR to purchasing your Coton, please check out housing rules and city ordinances for dog ownership in your area. If your apartment or condo prohibits dog ownership, you can save yourself and the puppy you hope to purchase a lot of grief by finding this out before you bring your dog home.

1. Puppy proofing

Prepare for your puppy or adult dog’s arrival by thoroughly "puppy-proofing" your home and yard. This means getting down on your hands and knees and viewing your home an yard at "Puppy Level". You can do this by looking for these common household dangers:

  • Electrical Cords
  • Unstable furniture items, such as pedestals, which hold plants, statues, vases, collectibles, etc.
  • Cat litter boxes
  • Fireplaces
  • Plug-in air fresheners
  • Stuffed toys
  • Small children's toys (choking hazard)
  • Plastic bags
  • Food pantry
  • Alcohol
  • Staircase (we recommend a baby gate at the top and/or foot of the stairs, whichever way will prevent the puppy from accessing the stairs.
  • Trash bins (contents within, too)
  • Toilets
  • Bathtubs
  • Household cooking oils
  • Curtain and blinds cords
  • Medicines (aspirin, acetaminophen, antihistamines, etc.)
  • Household cleaning products
  • Panty hose (can cause impaction, choking)
  • Rubber bands, balloons
  • Space heaters

Some items that may not present a health hazard to the puppy, but may end up being costly to replace:

  • Remote controls
  • Phone cords
  • Shoes
  • Speakers
  • Furniture
  • Children's toys

If you have an infant within your home, some of the baby's items can be hazardous to the puppy:

  • Infant bottles
  • Pacifiers
  • Teething rings

If you have a cat within the home, be sure to keep the puppy away from the cat's food. Dogs that consume cat food may end up with diarrhea due to the high protein content.

2. Potential Yard and Garage Hazards:

  • Paint
  • Gasoline
  • Antifreeze
  • Motor oil
  • Fertilizers
  • Chemicals
  • Snail bait
  • Ant bait
  • Rodenticide
  • Traps
  • Air conditioning unit cables
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Old barbed wire and baling wire
  • Water wells
  • Standing water
  • Holes and weakened areas in the backyard fence
  • Rusty items
  • Nails, stakes, wire

A partial listing of poisonous plants is:

  • Possible Vomiting & Diarrhea:
    • Castor bean
    • Soap berry
    • Ground Cherry
    • Skunk Cabbage
    • Daffodil
    • Delphinium
    • Foxglove
    • Larkspur
    • Indian Tobacco
    • Indian Turnip
    • Poke weed
    • Bittersweet woody
    • Wisteria
  • May cause vomiting, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea:
    • Almond
    • Apricot
    • Wild Cherry
    • Balsam Pear
    • Japanese Plum
    • Bird of Paradise bush
    • Horse Chestnut (Buckeye)
    • English Holly
    • Black Locust
    • Mock Orange
    • Privet
    • Rain Tree (Monkey Pod)
    • American Yew
    • English Yew
    • Western Yew
  • Varied Toxic Effects:
    • Mescal bean
    • Mushrooms (some)
    • Sunburned Potatoes
    • Rhubarb
    • Spinach
    • Tomato vine
    • Buttercup
    • Dologeton
    • Poison Hemlock
    • Water Hemlock
    • Jasmine
    • Loco weed
    • Lupine
    • Matrimony vine
    • May apple
    • Moonseed
    • Nightshade
    • Angel's Trumpet
  • Hallucinogens:
    • Marijuana
    • Morning Glory
    • Nutmeg
    • Perriwinkle
    • Peyote
    • Loco weed
  • Convulsions:
    • China berry
    • Coriaria
    • Moonweed
    • Nux vomica
    • Water Hemlock

3. Nutrition

Feeding a balanced diet is imperative for your Cotons health and well-being. Many of the premium brands such as Inova, Wysong, or Best in Show are well suited to meet the nutritional needs of your Coton de Tulear. Many Coton owners feed their Cotons BARF (A raw food diet favored by many nutritionists). Your veterinarian, your dog's breeder and many of the canine nutrition sites on the internet can provide much helpful information on the nutritional needs of the Coton.

4. Health Care

A veterinarian supervised preventative health care program of routine health examinations, vaccinations, heartworm prevention, de-worming and flea control is mandatory for maintaining your Coton's health. Spaying or neutering of all dogs not in a breeding program is strongly advised.

5. Neutering and Spaying

All dogs not in an active showing and/or breeding program should be spayed or neutered. Spaying a female drastically reduces her chances of developing mammary cancer and spaying her removes all threat of uterine cancer. Neutering a male dog at age 6 months can alleviate many of the problems commonly attributed to the "intact male" dog such as territorial aggression, improper sexual behavior, and territorial marking. Neutering your dog will also greatly lower the risk of him escaping in search of a breeding partner. Unaltered male dogs become rather single minded when a female dog is in heat in your neighborhood. An additional factor to consider is that studies show that early neutering greatly reduces your dog's chance of developing prostate or testicular cancer.

6. Noise Control

No one appreciates a dog that barks continually out of boredom or loneliness. Most family members and neighbors welcome the "alarm" bark, but in order to maintain friendly relations with your neighbors, please do not allow your dog to bark unchecked for hours upon hours.

7. Training

It is a must that your dog know the basic commands of sit, stay, down and come. Knowing these commands could actually save your dogs life in an emergency situation and they will make day to day living with your pet much easier if you have some control over it’s behavior.

8. Stoop and Scoop

It is never "okay" to leave your dog's waste in a public area or on someone else's lawn. Always be prepared by taking along a disposable plastic bag in order to pick up after your dog.

9. Traveling with your Coton

Many airlines and hotels will accept dogs that are under 20 lbs. It is very important to make arrangements for your pet PRIOR to your departure so that you and your pet are not subjected to any unnecessary delays. Please give the other hotel guests the same consideration as you do your neighbors at home by being vigilant for excessive barking. Dogs who soil the carpet in hotel rooms and otherwise destroy hotel property are the sole reason that many hotels no longer accept dogs as guests.

10. TLC

Tender loving care, one on one attention, play time and just hanging out are what will make your Coton be your best friend for life!