On this page you will find our recommendations for food, vitamin supplementation, grooming, training and more.  These recommendations are based on our experiences with our own dogs and as breeders for more than 24 years.  We are not saying that these are the only worthy products out there, however, let the quality of each recommendation serve as a guide when making choices for your dog. We take a very natural, holistic approach to wellness for ourselves and our dogs. If you have questions about any of these important subjects, please feel free to call us.
The Lowdermilks
Cathy and Michael

Breeder's Recommendations

Health and Nutrition

              Dog Food

We do not believe in skimping when it comes to our dogs’ health.  We buy only the highest quality dog food and supplements.  We have tried several brands over the years.  In July 2016 we were introduced to a relative newcomer to the dog food industry - a company called pawTree.  After hearing their Mission and Vision Statements, we decided to hop on a plane and visit the company during their annual convention - Yes, that's how serious we are about what we feed our dogs.  After meeting the founder of pawTree and talking with the product developer, we made the decision to switch our dogs to pawTree. We are convinced that their products are superior to anything else on the market.  It was something that the Product Developer said to me.  She said, "It's all about the sourcing of the ingredients".  That's something you cannot tell from reading the ingredients list on a bag.  pawTree uses the only non-GMO food ingredients and their meats are raised without hormones and antibiotics.  That's how we eat and I wanted the same for my Coton babies.

We are feeding our adult dogs and puppies the Grain Free Chicken and Sweet Potato recipe.  We are asking all our puppy buyers to keep their new puppy on pawTree. After the first year, you can change flavors, but our Cotons seem to do best with the grain free recipes. We are confident that you will find that the benefits that pawTree affords will convince you to stay with pawTree for the life of your dog. To order pawTree food for your new puppy, visit our pawTree website. Your order will be drop shipped right to your door. 

If you are purchasing a puppy from Cathy, you will click the  Shop-Cathy button below. 

If you are purchasing a puppy from Liliana, you will click the Shop Liliana button below.

When you enter the site, you will click on "Sign In" in the upper right corner. That will take you to a page where you will register with pawTree. Be sure you write down the password you create for your account.  You will need it to make future changes to your order. Next you will create a pet profile for your puppy.

When you create a Pet Profile, you will have the opportunity to name your puppy's food and upload a picture of your puppy.  These will appear on your dog food bag. We named our food "Cotons' Cuisine".  The next screen will recommend the perfect food for your pet's needs. Simply add the ones you want.    If you want to order something that wasn't recommended such as a toy or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, it is best to go to your shopping cart, click continue shopping, and add the item.  pawTree now offers free shipping on your dog food if you purchase 3 qualifying items such as the pawPairings, pawTreats, Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil or even toys!  We purchase one of each so that we get free shipping.  Your order will automatically be put on EZ ship (autoship) and they will recommend the interval between shipping based on your dog's size. For your first order the interval needed is about 65 days.  The site typically recommends 97 days because your puppy is so small when you create your Pet Profile, but I think that is unrealistic since your puppy's needs will change during that time and you will likely increase the amount you feed.

pawTree has a very customer friendly EZShip program.  They will email you 1 week before you next order is due to process, giving you plenty of time to go into your EZShip manager and make changes.  Plus they give you pawPoints that you can use to purchase toys. (After your 3rd EZShip, they double your pawPoints as a way of saying "thank you".) As your puppy grows and begins to eat more, you can login anytime to change your order and/or your EZ ship date.  Be sure to give pawTree a week to process and ship your food.  If you find that your order is processing too soon, be sure you go in and just change the date rather than deleting your EZ ship. When you delete your EZShip you lose all your paw points. 

How to change an EZShip

Once you login you will see your name in the upper right corner with a little down arrow next to it. Click that arrow and a menu will appear.  Click on EZShip.  On the next page you will click the Edit button and your EZShip will appear.  From there you can remove items by clicking on the trash can or add items by clicking on "Add Item to this EZShip".  When you're done, click "Save and Apply".  Should you see that you are running low on food before your process date, simply login to this page and click "Process Now".  If you ever wish to go off EZShip, you click the "Delete EZShip" button and it's done!  No phone call to make.

Dry Recipes

Customized nutrition plans that are natural and holistic for your pet's optimal nutrition. Learn about the features and benefits of pawTree dry recipes by clicking on the image of the bag of food. pawTree comes in 10.3 lb. bags.  To save a little money, you can order in quantity.  When you order a Large you will receive 2 bags and save 15%.  When you order an XLarge you will receive 3 bags and save 30%. 



Natural, wholesome and holistic high protein treats that your Coton will LOVE. pawTreats are made with (human grade freeze-dried raw) real meat and complimentary fruits and vegetables that are considered to be "superfoods" - absolutely no fillers!  Learn about the features and benefits of  pawTreats  by clicking on the image of the treat bag.



Add variety to your dog's food without gastic upset or the need for transitioning with pawPairings.  Available in 10 flavors that will keep your dog coming back for more. That little shaker bottle contains human grade freeze-dried raw meat source and is packed with 4 lbs. of fruits and veggies!  A little goes a long way.  Learn about the features and benefits of pawPairings by clicking on the image of the  pawPairings  shaker bottle.


Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

My dogs absolutely love this oil.  They get one pump of it every day.  I love that it's make from Wild Alaskan Salmon.  This oil promotes healthy skin, coat, joints and more.  It's in my order every month!

Feeding Schedule

Your puppy will likely be ready to eat dry kibbles when s/he arrives at your house.  We feed our dogs twice a day--breakfast time and dinner time.  We start the puppies off at 4 weeks of age by soaking the kibbles then mixing it with water in our Ninja blender to make a "gruel".  By 6 weeks, we just give the softened the kibbles and by 8 weeks they are ready for dry kibbles.
  They love it!

*From arrival to 7 lbs. feed up to 1/4 cup kibbles at each feeding.  In the morning, crumble 1/2 of a NuVet wafer on their food; At the evening meal, give them a squirt of Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and to add variety you can include a shake of pawPairing as well.. 

*From 7 lbs. to 14 lbs. feed 1/3 cup kibbles at each feeding
In the morning, give them 1 whole
NuVet wafer; at the evening meal continue with the pump of Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and a shake of pawPairings on the dry food.

*If the dog reaches 14 lbs. you may begin to increase the amount to as much as 1/2 cup at each feeding.
In the morning, give them 1 whole
NuVet wafer; at the evening meal continue with the pump of Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil and a shake of pawPairings on the dry food.

Be careful not to feed your dog too much.  If s/he starts to put on too much weight you should cut back on his/her food.  With small dogs a few kibbles can make a big difference.

Be careful about feeding "people food" to your dog.  Some foods that are good for us are toxic for dogs such as chocolate, raisins, ham....If you are going to give your dog "people food" give him healthy snacks like baby carrots, apples, and lean meats.  Then don't forget to cut back on the kibbles.  An overweight dog is NOT a healthy dog.


Click the NuVet image to visit their website.



NuVet Plus®  is the culmination of 8 years of research and development, formulated with the goal of creating a nutrient formula that would go beyond mere vitamin replenishment.  The supplement is a full-spectrum nutritional supplement that focuses on the root cause of illness and disease while simultaneously boosting your pet's immune system and overall health.

For younger dogs (under 2 years old), it strengthens their immune system, while building and strengthening the cardiovascular, skeletal and nerve systems.

As a dog breeder, animal health is my top priority. That’s why I enthusiastically recommend NuVet immune system builder to all of my customers. Simply put, it is the best nutritional supplement available today. Initially your pup gets his immunity from his mom but once weaned he needs help to build his own immunity to protect him in his new environment. NuVet was specifically formulated with potent antioxidants to assist your pup during this trying period and for years to come. He is already enjoying it as a treat and will be looking forward to it at your home. Please order prior to receiving your pup. Hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are using NuVet to protect against most ailments (from back yard pesticides, pet food allergies and hormones, toxic formaldehyde in furniture and carpeting, ailments transmitted from dog parks and the vet’s office, etc), while maintaining a beautiful  coat and healthy skin. This is not just a vitamin. It’s an immune system builder with a precise balance of vitamins, minerals, omega fatty acids, amino acids and high-potency antioxidants. That’s why it works so well through all three stages of a dog’s life.



For dogs in their prime (age 2-8), it improves the luster of their skin and coat while protecting against allergies, skin and coat problems, staining from tears, digestive problems, etc.

For older dogs (over 8 years old), it helps protect against, tumors, premature aging, cataracts, heart conditions, diabetes and many types of cancer, while extending the life and improving the vitality of many dogs.

I highly recommend NuVet Plus to keep your pet on the path to perfect health! It’s not available in stores, and is only available to the general public with an order code from an authorized pet professional. For your convenience, you may order directly from the manufacturer by calling 800-474-7044 and using Order Code: 99741, or ordering online at www.nuvet.com/99741 . You can also save an additional 15% and assure you never run out of NuVet by choosing the “AutoShip” option at check out.

NuVet comes in tablets and powder.  We use the powder with our dogs.  I put a teaspoon of the powder over their food in the morning, add a spoonful of water, stir it around and it makes a yummy gravy for their food.  They usually lick the bowl clean.




Fecal Tests

A microscopic fecal exam should be a part of your initial visit to the vet with your new puppy.  Our puppies live indoors in our home. We do our best to maintain a clean, sanitary environment for our puppies, however coccidia and giardia are very common in Arizona and can be difficult to avoid in a kennel situation. Coccidia and Giardia are small protozoans (one-celled organisms) that live in the intestinal tracts of dogs and cats. Most infected puppies are in the four to twelve week age group. The possibility of coccidia should always be considered when a loose stool or diarrhea is encountered in this age group. Blood and mucous in the stool may also be present. We currently administer a 5 day round of Pancur as a preventative treatment for coccidia, however, it may need to be repeated once the puppy is in your care. There is a school of thought that says that the immune system of a healthy puppy will eradicte these parasites without assistance.  However, when a puppy is experiencing diarrhea  because of a parasite, it is best to treat it.

Kennel Training

We advise you to crate train your puppy.  You will want to buy a wire kennel that is at least 24"x18"x19".  To find the best deal on a kennel just Google "24x18 kennel".  I found the best price at petfooddirect.com. Click the image to the left to visit their website.



  Be sure to start at the dog’s back end pulling the hair forward then brushing it back toward the bottom.  This ensures that you are getting to the undercoat.  Be sure to end with a good finishing comb or brush with long tines.  If you decide to keep your Coton in a "puppy cut" take the time to do a Google search for "coton puppy cut" and click on images.  Once you see a cut that you find appealing, print it and take it to the groomer.  Many times groomers have never seen a Coton and have no idea how to groom them.  Please be aware that the Coton's coat is not too hot for summer temperatures - it actually protects them from the heat and sun.  When I puppy cut our girls just prior to them giving birth I give them a 2" cut.  A 2" cut is manageable, yet darling to look at.  Here are some of our grooming recommendations:


Grooming your Coton is an important part of their daily care.  A quick brushing each day will allow your Coton to maintain his beautiful trademark coat with little or no hassle.  Although the Coton is considered a non-shedding dog, the hair in their undercoat does come loose and will mat together if not brushed out frequently.  Using the proper grooming tools that will reach down into the undercoat to remove loose hairs is key to keeping your Coton free of mats.


One of our puppy owners posted this darling picture on our Facebook page.  This is what a puppy cut should look like, in my opinion.





We use a variety of tools to groom our dogs.  Some people prefer to puppy cut their coton.  This reduces the amount of grooming required. 

Our first brush was a Mason Pearson nylon brush.  That was back in 2004 and it is still in great shape.  We have discovered that buying quality products may require quite an investment in the beginning but it is worth it in the long run. 

We also find that a good slicker brush is an absolute must for removing loose hair and tangles. We use a good comb for finishing.  As a fun, entrepreneurial venture, we decided to design our own slicker brushes.  We spent the better part of 2019 testing brushes and making changes to get it just the way we wanted it. We started out using a curved slicker brush, but we found that we experienced hand and arm fatigue more quickly with the bigger curved brushes so when we designed our brushes, we chose to go with a flat design.   We designed them with rounded pin head because it is gentler on the dog's coat and skin. We offer two size - one for regular brushing and a smaller size for those hard to reach areas.  Click on the image of each brush to visit our Amazon website and learn about each brush. Our next project will be boar's hair/nylon brush of our own like the one below from Chris Christensen.  In the meantime, try the one below.  They are a must when blow drying your Coton after a bath.


Andreas' Boar/Nylon Bristle Cushion Brushes 


This type of brush is great for everyday grooming.  The bristles gentle massage the skin while removing loose hair that can cause matting.Natural boar/nylon bristle brushes. Ultra flexibility and long-lasting comfort. Strong, durable brush. Hand-finished by German Craftsman, who take pride in their work. Lightweight beech wood groom grip handle for comfort.

PawSpa Medium Slicker Brush


The Slicker brush is used to remove mats.  It is a gentler approach than using a comb, which pulls the hair out and can be painful to the dog.

All of the PawSpa Slicker Brushes have rounded pin heads for greater comfort and a soft, relaxed cushion, making brushing easier on both you and your dog. The lightweight Beech Wood body with contoured handles meets the needs of any brushing style or direction. The brush head measures 3"x5"


PawSpa Small Slicker Brush

This small brush is great for grooming the face and under the legs. It offers the same comfort features as the larger brush, just on a smaller scale. The brush head measures 2"x3"



Greyhound Comb

I wasn't big on combs until one of our puppy buyers introduced me to the Greyhound Two-Tone comb (Thanks, Jan Lockhart).  I am in love with this comb.  I am able to work out a matt with relative ease but most of all I love to use it as a finishing comb. They are expensive, but very durable!  Click the image to go to the site where I purchased mine.


Shampoo and Conditioner

Right now my favorite shampoo is an organic flea and tick shampoo  sold by Dr. Ben's.  Click the image below to order some for yourself.  I really like this product!  Ingredients are:

  • Saponified Organic Oils of Coconut

  • Lavender Essential Oil Blend

  • Organic Rosemary Extract

  • Organic Lavender Oil 

  • Organic Aloe Vera

  • Olive and Jojoba

  • Cedar Oil


Click here then click on

Pet Med

We also like the Plush Puppy line of shampoos and conditioners and use them regularly as well. We will sometimes use it in the winter and go back to the organic flea and tick shampoo in the spring and summer months.  I use the Herbal Whitening on their feet and around their mouths year-round. I pump a pea-sized bit of shampoo onto my fingers and work into wet hair. Plush Puppy has an extensive line of products.  I am sure there are many quality products out there--these are just the ones we choose to use.  We are able to purchase these products locally, however, you can purchase them online as well by clicking the images of the products below.  Bear in mind that these products are concentrated-that is why they are so expensive.  I fill a 24 oz. water bottle with a sport top with water and add about 8-10 pumps of shampoo to it.  Gently mix and use generously. I can get 2-3 baths out of that.   

whitening shampoo.png

Herbal Whitening Shampoo with Ginseng

Great shampoo for reducing yellowing in white coats, and to remove red tones in black, grey or red coats. This shampoo will impart a sparkling clear sheen (does not bleach or lighten).
Recommended For: White coats or white areas to reduce yellowing and impart a sparkling clear sheen (does not bleach or lighten). Black, grey, brown and red coats where there is a need to negate unwanted warm tones such as sun fading or reddening in the coat.


Natural Conditioning Shampoo

with Evening Primrose

Will add shine and assist disentangling on flowing coated breeds such as Cotons.
Derived from: Organic sources with strong emphasis on evening primrose oil. Will add shine and assist disentangling on flowing coated breeds such as Afghans, Beardies etc. This shampoo can be used each week to enhance the natural condition of your dogs coat.




Natural Silk Protein Conditioner

Natural Silk Protein Conditioner will not only leave a great finish on your Coton's coat, but will reduce static electricity and fluffiness in a 'fly away' coat.
Derived from: Organic sources with silk amino acids and plant extracts.
How to apply: Can be diluted 5 parts water to 1 part conditioner and up to 10:1 for light use. For use on its own or can be mixed with Swishy Coat or Blow Dry Cream or both for specific coat needs and left in to assist blow-drying.

Young Living Animal Scents

I have fallen in love with essential oils.  I recently discovered Young Living oils and have been using them regularly.  Essential oils can be used for a variety of purposes but you have to be very careful about what you are buying.  I am in the process of completing a 12 week course through Dr. Axe that will give me a certification as an Essential Oil Coach.  I will add to this page as I learn more. I have chosen Young Living oils because they are organically produced without pesticides or other toxins.  The oils are pure and safe.  I make a "conditioner"  for bathtime by adding 3 drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of lavender to a couple cups of water and pouring it over the dog after thoroughly rinsing out the shampoo.  I rub it into the skin and leave it on. 

Below are just a few of my personal favorites. If you would like to check out Young Living oils for yourself, click the SHOP button below.  This should take you to my member page  If it asks for a member #,  type in 13790201.  You can purchase oils through my membership or you can become a member yourself.  If you have questions, feel free to contact me about it.

Animal Scents® Ointment is a protecctive, soothing salve designed specifically for external use on animals.  The gentle and safe formula is enhanced with pure Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) and Myrrh, two of nature's morst powerful essential oils.

Animal Scents® ParaGize supports healthy digestion.  It contains Anise, Cumin, Fennel, Ginger, Juniper, Lemongrass, Patchouli, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint and Tarragon.  This blend can be applied topically when your dog is having digestive stress or can be diffused to create a calming effect in the environment.

Peace & Calming® essential oil is a gentle, sweet blend of Ylang Ylang, Orange, Tangerine, Patchouli, and Blue Tansy. With a comforting, fresh aroma, Peace & Calming oil creates a relaxing environment that’s especially great for homes with children & pets. This oil is one of my favorites for providing a calming environment for the dogs but I also diffuse it every night in my bedroom!

Thieves Household Cleaner - Formulated with the power of Young Living’s Thieves oil blend, which includes clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus radiata and rosemary essential oils.

You can get a deep clean without dangerous or synthetic ingredients. Thieves cleaner scent of Lemon essential oil provides a fresh, uplifting aroma. This all-purpose cleaner can be used on any surface in your home for dusting, spot cleaning, scrubbing, or any other cleaning need. Wherever you use it, you’ll feel good knowing it’s safe to use around everyone in your family, including pets.

paws and claws.png

Pest Control - Naturally

If you find yourself wanting to protect your pet against fleas and ticks, avoid traditional treatments.  Although they may be touted as safe and even recommended by a veterinarian, I personally know of dogs that have died as a result of such treatments.  Watch this news report to see the dangers of these products. Cedar oil is a much safer alternative and is quite effective at killing fleas, ticks, mites as well as dehydrating any eggs laid by the nasty little critters!  I have been using Dr. Ben's Paws and Claws for years with good success.  You can click the picture to the left to visit the website and check it out for yourself.

Choosing a Veterinarian

One of the most important decisions you’ll make as a pet parent is finding a quality health care provider for your furry friend. Selecting the right veterinarian is a personal decision, but you’ll want to choose a practice that offers the highest available standard of care.

The best way to find a good veterinarian is to ask people who have the same approach to pet care as you. Start with a recommendation from a friend, neighbor, dog trainer, groomer, boarding kennel employee or pet sitter.

Look in the Yellow Pages under "Veterinarians" and "Animal Hospitals," where you can likely find important information about hours, services and staff. You can also search for veterinarians in your area online. Check for membership in the American Animal Hospital Association. AAHA membership means that a veterinary hospital has voluntarily pursued and met AAHA's standards in the areas of facility, equipment and quality care.

If you're looking for a specialist, ask about board certification. This means the vet has studied an additional two to four years in the specialty area and passed a rigorous exam.


Once you've narrowed your search, you will want to evaluate the facility and learn about the clinic's philosophy and policies.

What to look for:

  • Is the facility clean, comfortable and well-organized?

  • Are appointments required?

  • How many veterinarians are in the practice?

  • Are there technicians or other professional staff members?

  • Are dog and cat cages in separate areas?

  • Is the staff caring, calm, competent and courteous, and do they communicate effectively?

  • Do the veterinarians have special interests such as geriatrics or behavior?

  • Are X-rays, ultrasound, bloodwork, EKG, endoscopy and other diagnostics done in-house or referred to a specialist?

  • Which emergency services are available?

  • Is location and parking convenient?


Meeting the veterinarian
How about the doctor? Does he/she take time to listen to your concerns? Are you given enough time to explain and ask questions? How is his/her rapport with your pet? Does he/she talk to your animal and try to establish a relationship before starting the exam? Is your pet called by name? Does the doctor take time to do an exam and address your concerns? Do you feel comfortable asking questions? Are your questions answered? 
If your pet is ill or if some type of in-hospital procedure is required is everything well explained?


It is important that you advocate for yourself and your pet.  Be sure that your vet provides an estimate of anticipated charges before starting treatment and whenever possible makes you aware of alternatives that may be more economical.  Liability concerns and the potential of lawsuits often cause vets to be overly cautious in the care options offered.  If a vet recommends expensive testing, we ask them to offer a clinical diagnosis that we may act on first.  This often leads to an inexpensive resolution to the problem.  If you don't ask, they probably won't offer!  Avoid vets who concoct issues.  We have had buyers call us in a panic because the vet they chose got them all worked up over nothing.  Our vet thoroughly checks out the puppies before we send them to their new homes.  The last thing we would ever want to do is send you a puppy with a defect or health issue.     



Canine Vaccination Guidelines

The duration of immunity(DOI) for vaccines for diseases like rabies, distemper, and parvovirus have been shown to be 7+ years. More importantly it has been scientifically proven that, after the initial series, when vaccines are re-administered the immune status of the patient is not enhanced. 

Antibodies from the initial vaccine block the subsequent vaccines from having any effect.

The true interval at which re-administration of Rabies, Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus and Parainfluenza vaccinations will enhance the immunity in a significant number of dogs, has not been universally determined. Although, vacine is still a topic of debate, an arbitrary compromise interval of every three years has been agreed upon by the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Feline Practitioners, and 22 Schools of Veterinary Medicine. It is the consensus of immunologists and experts that the duration of immunity is much longer and is probably the life of the patient. This three-year compromise interval will greatly reduce the number of antigens administered, and therefore the risk of adverse reactions, while providing the most complete protection against preventable diseases possible.

New recommendations by holistic veterinarians suggest that a puppy receive its first and only vaccination at 16 weeks, like rabies.  Rabies boosters are to be given every 3 years.   I have downloaded a free vaccination guide put out by Dog Naturally Magazine.  You can view it here.       

In addition, you can watch a video interview with Dr. Shultz, whose research is cited in the vaccination guide by clicking here.  Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself the course of action that you are the most comfortable taking. I have come to realize that I have to be the advocate for my pets. The only vaccine required by law is rabies.  You can say no to frequent vaccinating and you can request that your vet not give mulitple vaccines in one shot. I have discover a product that claims to assist in removing associated vaccine side effects without removing any vaccine benefits.  It is called Anti-Vaccinosis.  You can read more about it here.

I administer a 4-in-one vaccine before sending a puppy away from our home.  We typically vaccinate sometime between 7-8 weeks of age.  If your vet questions the viability of vaccinnations administered by a breeder, you can assure him that we purchase our vaccine from a reputable company, it is delivered in a styrofoam box and surrounded by ice packs.  It is refrigerated as soon as it arrives at our house. We are careful to note the expiration date on our vaccine and dispose of any that is not used by that date. We do not vaccinate against Corona or Leptospirosis. These diseases are not endemic in Arizona and for us, the risk of side effects outweighs any benefits.  Check with your vet for recommendations for your state.  Your puppy will come with a Health Record that we created.  Reference your health record to see what vaccinations have been administered as well as other treatments and/or vet visits.)




              Is microchipping your pet a good idea?

We feel it is a very personal decision that the new owner of the puppy should have the right to make for themselves. In this section, Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, discusses the benefits and risks.  You can read the full article HERE.

What is a microchip?

A microchip is a glass bead about the size of a grain of rice which is implanted between an animal’s shoulder blades. It contains a radio transmitter, an antenna, and a computer chip with a 10-digit code. The information contained in a microchip has to be read by a scanner -- it is not a GPS system that will allow you to track and locate your pet.

With or Without Anesthetic?

Most veterinarians will likely tell you that microchipping your pet is painless. But at my practice we would never even consider microchipping without some local anesthetic. And I highly recommend that if your pet gets a microchip, you insist on anesthetic. No matter what you have been told, the procedure hurts -- the chip is inserted with a really big 12-gauge needle!

Potential Microchipping Problems

Pet microchips are inserted underneath your pet’s skin right between his shoulder blades. This poses some problems because on occasion the microchip can migrate under the shoulder blade or up to the back of the neck -- or even all the way down to the belly. So if your pet has been microchipped, make sure you have a vet scan to identify exactly where it is. Once you know where it is, check it once a week to make sure there are no changes, and that it doesn’t feel any different. If you can feel your pet’s microchip, it will feel like a grain of rice under your pet’s skin.

Are Microchips Necessary and Safe?

These are the two major questions that most everyone asks about microchips. As with any medical procedure, you have to weigh the risks versus the benefits, and in this case it’s often a very individual decision. If your pet has a high chance of being separated from you, for instance he bolts out your door every chance he gets and doesn’t come back when called, a microchip may be a good idea. Even if your pet has a microchip, however, its ability to help you find your pet depends on whether or not it can be scanned. There are four types of microchips used in the United States, and unfortunately most facilities do not have a universal scanner that can read all the different chips. Then, the person must be sure to scan your entire pet, not just between the shoulder blades, in case the chip has migrated. Further, if your pet is microchipped make sure the microchip is registered and that your registered contact information is up-to-date. Otherwise, even if a facility finds your pet and reads the microchip, they will not be able to contact you. So if you cannot commit to updating your contact information with the appropriate registration facility, getting a microchip for your pet is not a good idea, as you’re getting none of the benefit and only the risk.

The Major Risk of Microchips

The major concern any time you implant a foreign body into your pet, whether that’s a microchip, a metal plate for a fracture or any other material, there’s the potential for your pet’s body to reject the substance. There have been two documented cases in veterinary medicine where sarcoma or fibrosarcoma, two types of soft tissue tumors, occurred at the site of the injection. While two cases are not very many, I believe there are likely many more cases that have not been documented. Research shows that between 1996 and 2006, up to 10 percent of laboratory animals had some type of reaction to being microchipped, ranging from a localized inflammatory response to tumor formation at the site of the injection. Needless to say, it’s important to realize that implanting any foreign material into your pet’s body is a risk. So if you believe that your pet is safe in your home, such as an indoor housecat or a dog that’s appropriately trained (which in my opinion would eliminate the need for chips!) or pets that are always kept on a leash outdoors -- and most importantly, is a dog that knows his name and comes when he’s called -- there’s a very good chance that you do not need a microchip. And in these cases the risks do outweigh the benefit. However, if your dog doesn’t know to “come” or you let her outdoors off-leash and just hope she comes back, these are high-risk situations. Ideally, you should rearrange your lifestyle to keep a closer reign on your dog or get some obedience training. If this isn’t a possibility, then microchipping your pet may be an option. But do remember that microchips carry the risk of an autoimmune reaction or a degenerative reaction where your pet’s immune system becomes aggravated or chronically inflamed, which can in turn lead to tissue degeneration and abnormal cell growth, or cancer at the site of implantation.

Microchipping continues to be a highly debated topic in veterinary medicine, and it’s really important that you weigh risk versus benefit when deciding on microchipping. This will help you make the best decision for the pets in your care. "


Housebreaking your Coton


We use the Pet Park system by PetZoom.  It is a plastic tray with artificial grass on top.  The puppies will begin crawling over to the grass at around 3 weeks of age to relieve themselves.  By the time they are 6 weeks old they rarely potty anywhere but on the Pet Park.  If you live in an apartment or will be gone for hours at a time, you might want to consider purchasing something like the Pet Park. Visit their website by clicking on the image to the left.

We recommend crate training a very young puppy.  If a puppy is given too much freedom it will be confused and potty all over the house.  This complicates the housebreaking process.  Remember that your puppy will need to go out to potty first thing in the morning and within 15-20 minutes of eating.  Come up with a single word that will be the signal word for going potty.  Say it when you take your puppy out to potty and again when your puppy relieves himself.  Cotons are very intelligent dogs.  They catch on quickly.

Training your Coton


Remember that it is vitally important that you establish yourself as the pack leader from the very beginning with your new puppy.  You might want to visit Cesar Millan’s website for tips.

There are other good training courses available on the internet.  Do a little research and find one that fits your personality and needs.

We also suggest a good puppy training class once your puppy is a bit older.  Places like PetSmart offer inexpensive classes for puppies that will get you off to a good start. To get you started I have recorded a demonstration video of a training activity called "Settle".  This is an activity that you  begin using right away with your new puppy.  Just click the movie icon below to view.

What Dogs Can Eat

A well-designed dog food gives your pet all the nutrients it needs for an active and healthy life. But that doesn't mean you can't sometimes give your dog human food as a special treat -- as long as portions are limited, and the foods are cooked, pure, and not fatty or heavily seasoned. See the next few slides for some tasty suggestions. But if you're looking to human food as a meal replacement, talk to your vet about amounts and frequency.

Safe: Lean Meats
Most dogs are fine eating lean cuts of meat that have been cooked. Be sure to remove all visible fat -- including the skin on poultry. Also be sure that there are no bones in the meat before you give it to your dog.

Safe: Some Fresh Fruits
Slices of apples, oranges, bananas, and watermelon make tasty treats for your dog. Be sure to remove any seeds first, though. Seeds, stems, and leaves can cause serious problems.

Safe: Some Vegetables
Your dog can have a healthy snack of carrot sticks, green beans, cucumber slices, or zucchini slices. Even a plain baked potato is OK. Be sure, though, not to let your dog eat any raw potatoes or any potato plants it might have access to in your garden.

Safe: Cooked White Rice and Pasta
Dogs may enjoy plain white rice or pasta after it's cooked. And, a serving of plain white rice with some boiled chicken can sometimes provide welcome relief from gastrointestinal upset.

Dangerous Foods For Dogs

Who can resist those big brown eyes and cute doggie grin? Can a little reward from the table really hurt your dog? Well, that depends on what it is and/or what's in it. A chip with guacamole can cause your dog some real problems. In fact, there's a lot of people food your dog should never eat. And, it's not just because of weight. Some foods are downright dangerous for dogs -- and some of these common foods may surprise you--I know it surprised me!  

I was chatting with a lady who purchased one of our puppies.  She was telling me how her puppy loves apples and grapes.  I got quiet...she asked me if that was okay.  I knew that raisins were toxic to dogs so it stands to reason that grapes would be toxic too.  I suggested that we hop on the internet and find out.  It turns out that grapes are very toxic to dogs.  Thankfully she did not give her puppy many grapes and he is fine.  I continued my research and what you see below is the result of that research.  Hopefully this will help prevent an unnecessary tragedy for you and your beloved pet!
No matter how good you think the guacamole is, you shouldn't give it to your dog. Avocados contain a substance called persin. It's harmless for humans who aren't allergic. But large amounts might be toxic to dogs. If you happen to be growing avocados at home, keep your dog away from the plants. Persin is in the leaves, seed, and bark, as well as in the fruit.
Beer, liquor, wine, foods containing alcohol -- none of it's good for your dog. That's because alcohol has the same effect on a dog's liver and brain that it has on humans. But it takes far less to do its damage. Just a little can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, problems with coordination, difficulty breathing, coma, even death. And the smaller the dog, the greater the effect.
Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic in all forms -- powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated -- can destroy a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia. That can happen even with the onion powder found in some baby food. An occasional small dose is probably OK. But just eating a large quantity once or eating smaller amounts regularly can cause poisoning. Symptoms of anemia include weakness, vomiting, little interest in food, dullness, and breathlessness.
Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine
Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a dog. And, there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, fits, and bleeding. In addition to tea and coffee - including beans and grounds -- caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. It's also in some cold medicines and pain killers.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins have often been used as treats for dogs. But it's not a good idea. Although it isn't clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. And just a small amount can make a dog ill. Repeated vomiting is an early sign. Within a day, the dog will become lethargic and depressed. The best prevention is to keep grapes and raisins off counters and other places your dog can reach.
Milk and Other Dairy Products
On a hot day, it may be tempting to share your ice cream cone with your dog. But if your dog could, it would thank you for not doing so. Milk and milk-based products can cause diarrhea and other digestive upset as well as set up food allergies (which often manifest as itchiness).
Macadamia Nuts
Dogs should not eat macadamia nuts or foods containing macadamia nuts because they can be fatal. As few as six raw or roasted macadamia nuts can make a dog ill. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle tremors, weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Eating chocolate with the nuts will make symptoms worse, possibly leading to death.
Candy and Gum
Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol can cause an increase in the insulin circulating through your dog's body. That can cause your dog's blood sugar to drop and can also cause liver failure. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Eventually, the dog may have seizures. Liver failure can occur within just a few days.
Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs. The toxic agent in chocolate is theobromine. It's in all kinds of chocolate, even white chocolate. The most dangerous kinds, though, are dark chocolate, chocolate mulch, and unsweetened baking chocolate. Eating chocolate, even just licking the icing bowl, can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, and be excessively thirsty. It can also cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.
Fat Trimmings and Bones
Table scraps often contain meat fat that a human didn't eat and bones. Both are dangerous for dogs. Fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause pancreatitis in dogs. And, although it seems natural to give a dog a bone, a dog can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations of your dog's digestive system. It's best to just forget about the doggie bag.
Persimmons, Peaches, and Plums
The problem with these fruits is the seeds or pits. The seeds from persimmons can cause inflammation of the small intestine in dogs. They can also cause intestinal obstruction. Obstruction is also a possibility if a dog eats the pit from a peach or plum. Plus, peach and plum pits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to both humans and dogs. The difference is humans know not to eat them. Dogs don't.
Raw Eggs
There are two problems with giving your dog raw eggs. The first is the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like Salmonella or E. coli. The second is that an enzyme in raw eggs interferes with the absorption of a particular B vitamin. This can cause skin problems as well as problems with your dog's coat if raw eggs are fed for a long time.
Raw Meat and Fish
Raw meat and raw fish, like raw eggs, can contain bacteria that causes food poisoning. In addition, certain kinds of fish such as salmon, trout, shad, or sturgeon can contain a parasite that causes "fish disease" or "salmon poisoning disease." If not treated, the disease can be fatal within two weeks. The first signs of illness are vomiting, fever, and big lymph nodes. Thoroughly cooking the fish will kill the parasite and protect your dog.
It's not a good idea to share salty foods like chips or pretzels with your dog.
Eating too much salt can cause excessive thirst and urination and lead to sodium
ion poisoning. Symptoms of too much salt include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, and seizures. It may even cause death.  Be sure if you live in an area with snowy winters that you purchase "boots" for your Coton when taking walks.  Not only will it protect you precious Coton from the cold, but it will prevent him from licking the salt that collects on his paws, which is very toxic!
Sugary Foods and Drinks
Too much sugar can do the same thing to dogs that it does to humans. It can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly the onset of diabetes.
Yeast Dough
Before it's baked, bread dough needs to rise. And, that's exactly what it would do in your dog's stomach if your dog ate it. As it swells inside, the dough can stretch the dog's abdomen and cause severe pain. In addition, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Your Medicine
Reaction to a drug commonly prescribed for humans is the most common cause of poisoning in dogs. Just as you would do for your children, keep all medicines out of your dog's reach. And, never give your dog any over-the-counter medicine unless told to do so by your vet. Ingredients such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are common in pain relievers and cold medicine. And, they can be deadly for your dog.
Kitchen Pantry: No Dogs Allowed
Many other items commonly found on kitchen shelves can harm your dog. For instance, baking powder and baking soda are both highly toxic. So are nutmeg and other spices. Keeping food items high enough to be out of your dog's reach and keeping pantry doors closed will help protect your dog from serious food-related illness.
If Your Dog Eats What It Shouldn't
Dogs explore with their mouth. And, no matter how cautious you are, it's possible your dog can find and swallow what it shouldn't. It's a smart idea to always keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center -- (888) 426-4435 -- where you know you can find it in an emergency. And, if you think your dog has consumed something that's toxic, call for emergency help at once.

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