The following information was gathered from various sources throughout my research to help you make sure your knowledge is increased by owning any pet. Whether you have owned a pet in the past or whether this is the first time in owning a pet, the information below is here to assist you.

It is a huge responsibility welcoming a new pet in your home and it can be quite costly as well. Therefore, be sure you have some sort of back up funding for health and medical check-ups.

The following information is a common sense guide to ownership of a new pet.

Here you will find the following:

The Importance of Training your new AKK

Common Vaccinations for your new AKK

Puppy Food for your new AKK

Things to Consider Before Adopting an Alaskan Klee Kai


The Importance of Training your new AKK

Dog owners may truly believe they are diligent because they seek proper veterinary care. And they may truly love their companions, offering lots of praise and affection. However, millions of well-cared-for and lavished pets still find themselves playing the lottery for life at a local shelter because these owners forgot about one thing -- dogs require training. Just as children don't understand the rules of how to live in society unless they are taught, puppies also require direction. Puppies, if not trained properly will get into trouble and a puppy not trained, is an owner not trained.

Early socialization is important and for many breeds it's imperative. Legendary canine researcher, John Paul Scott, determined in the late ‘50’s that puppies are most impressionable between weeks five and 16 after birth. This window is called the critical period of socialization, and all pups should be exposed to all kinds of people, including rabbis on roller skates, women with nose-rings and screaming children. Without this early exposure, the dog may react fearfully, aggressively, or at the very least, confused, when exposed later in life. Some experts theorize that dogs that become fearful of thunder do so because there were no thunderstorms occurring when the puppy went through its critical period of socialization.

Puppy training classes provide an opportunity to socialize with all kinds of people and dogs. Additionally and most importantly, the handler learns how to better communicate with the puppy. A good dog trainer doesn't really teach the dog as much as he or she instructs the owner. When the class is a positive experience, the handler intensifies the human/canine bond. Additionally, a good trainer can address common questions about housebreaking, excessive barking and all those puppy problems.

Classes once began when pups were actually young adults, 10 months to one year old. Trainers struggled to correct inappropriate behavior, rather than mold appropriate responses. It was thought that young puppies didn't have long enough attention spans to attend classes at a young age. Research by Scott and others proved that thinking wrong.

In the 1960’s canine author and researcher Milo Pearsall coined the term "puppy kindergarten," and dogs began going to school as early as four to six months. Veterinarians advised that dogs start no earlier, since puppies younger than four months are particularly susceptible to viruses because they have not completed their series of vaccinations. Veterinarians urgently stressed the issue when the Parvo virus was rampantly spreading and killing puppies in the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s.

Recently, trainers have started offering puppy pre-school; dogs begin the basics when they are eight to 11-weeks-old. While there is an increased danger of contracting a canine virus, supporters of pre-school say that early positive socialization is worth any potential risk.

Common Vaccinations for your new AKK

Visiting the vet is imperative, even if your puppy appears to be perfectly healthy. Laws throughout the country mandate the rabies inoculation, and other vaccines which may prevent serious illness. When you visit the vet: Never put your puppy on the floor or the ground outside of the clinic, instead carry your puppy or use a pet carrier. Ask the vet staff to disinfect the exam table before you set your pup down for his/her exam. I know this may sound overly cautious but there are a lot of animals visiting the vet. Most times, your vet or vet tech will have already cleaned off the table, just be sure to double check. Also, dog parks, pet shops, puppy preschool and areas where other dogs of unknown health may have visited, should be off limits until your pup has completed his/her series of puppy shots. Below is a list of diseases and virus' you should be aware of.

  • Rabies is a fatal disease and can be passed from wild animals to pets. Due to rabies outbreaks early in the 1800s, the law now requires dogs to be vaccinated. In dogs, symptoms include excess salivation, seizures, unexplained aggression and difficulty swallowing. The only true test for an animal suspected of being rabid is an autopsy.
  • Canine Parvovirus is a relatively new virus, identified in 1978. It is known as a puppy disease, but adult dogs also can get it. Dogs older than six months have a better shot at surviving. It's highly contagious, mostly through exposure to fecal matter. The virus creates watery and bloody diarrhea and vomiting, acute abdominal pain, and a high fever may occur. Entire litters may be affected, and, even with aggressive treatment, vets may not be able to save young puppies. Vaccines are not 100 percent effective against the many strains of Parvo, which apparently continue to evolve. Still, it is an important vaccine to give your dog.
  • Canine Coronavirus is an intestinal virus that can be fatal in very young or weak puppies. Adult dogs can be cured, however. The virus plagues dogs with intractable diarrhea and a high fever.
  • Canine Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease infecting the upper respiratory tract, including the eyes, nose and throat. It mostly affects puppies, and the death rate is as high as 75 percent. Even patients that recover may suffer permanent damage to vision, teeth and/or the nervous system.
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica and Adenovirus Cough (CAV-2) are two separate diseases often lumped together as "canine cough" or "kennel cough." Both are airborne and highly contagious. A deep cough is often the only symptom, although pneumonia may occur in dogs with Adenovirus cough. Except in older or otherwise unhealthy animals, the Adenovirus cough may naturally run its course within two weeks. Otherwise, antibiotics may be used. Antibiotics are usually successful in knocking out Bordetella.
  • Lyme Disease: Dogs are just as susceptible to Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks, as people. Symptoms vary from none whatsoever to severe lameness. This disease is tough to diagnose early enough to prevent irreversible damage to joints, because the symptoms are not easily spotted. Veterinarians recommend vaccines for dogs that may be exposed to ticks, although the precautions are not 100 percent effective.
  • Leptospirosis is a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that, when passed through the urine, may infect other animals. Many infected dogs appear healthy for years before they suddenly become unable to urinate and eventually die. More subtle clinical signs include high fever and a lagging appetite. Some patients may respond to antibiotics, but others never recover.

Newborn puppies acquire immunities against many diseases by nursing from their mother. During the first two days of life, a puppy that nurses takes in the colostrum that is present in the milk that is first produced. The antibodies that are passed in the colostrum are vital to the puppy’s health and well being.

These antibodies prevent the puppy from being infected by diseases like Canine Distemper and Parvo virus. These same antibodies are also the reason veterinarians suggest vaccinations to be given after six weeks of age.


For dogs and many other mammals, the immunity given by the colostrum loses its affect sometime around the fifth week of age. Unfortunately, this is also the time when most puppies are placed into their new homes and exposed to a variety of new environments.

It is highly recommended that new puppies visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will then educate the owner on the needs of the new puppy, look for congenital defects as well as look for signs of parasitic or viral infections. If all looks well, the puppy is then started on what is commonly called its puppy shots.

These puppy shots are also called five in one or DHLP-P vaccinations because they are a combination vaccine that will immunize against five very common but potentially deadly diseases.

Canine Distemper:

This part of the vaccine is for Canine Distemper, a highly contagious and usually fatal disease. It is caused by the paramyxovirus and is transmitted by a healthy dog coming into contact with the discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected dog. It is also suspected that the Distemper virus can live in the soil from six months up to a year.

The first signs of Distemper can be a simple loss of appetite or a slight, dry cough. Another common sign of the disease is a thick yellow or green discharge from the eyes and/or nose. Vomiting and/or diarrhea as well as an increase in temperature are also possible signs. There are some cases where these symptoms appear and then disappear with nothing else happening until suddenly neurological symptoms appear.

The neurological symptoms will often start with just a twitching, shivering or even a chewing gum like activity. These mild activities will often turn into full seizures that is a horrendous sight to see. The convulsions will at first be sporadic and then progress to non-stop, screaming types of seizures. Eventually, the seizures will become so bad the heart stops or the respiratory system fails.

Unlike many of the canine diseases, Canine Distemper is not species specific. Dogs, wolves, coyotes, ferrets and raccoons are all at risk to its deadly power.

Canine Hepatitis Virus:

Canine Hepatitis is the second disease covered by the DHLP-P vaccine. It also is a highly contagious disease and can be spread by contact with contaminated saliva, urine or stool from an infected dog. The virus itself affects the dog’s abdominal organs including the liver.

Signs of infection include but are not limited to an increased temperature as well as discharges from the eyes, mouth and/or nose. Sometimes the eyes will actually become red or the dog will hump his back and try to rub on the floor to relieve the pain. As the disease progresses, the animal becomes lethargic, stops eating and often becomes comatose.

Within six to ten days the infected dog will usually die or makes a quick recovery. For those few dogs that do survive the infection, a temporary opacity of the eyes appears.


Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial disease that is spread through the contact with urine from an infectious dog and certain strains can be transmitted to humans.

The disease itself causes the dogs to become lethargic and weak. Some of the other symptoms include abdominal pain, increase in water intake as well as a marked increase of urination. Some will form painful sores in the mouth, on the gums and tongue. The tongue may also form a thick, brownish coating. Other symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and a change in the color of the whites of the eyes.

Due to the extensive damage caused to the digestive tract, liver and kidneys, leptospirosis is often fatal. For those who do survive, recovery is very slow.


Canine parainfluenza is a viral disease that is a contributor to the problem of tracheobronchitis in dogs. The common name for tracheobronchitis is kennel cough and it must be noted that the parainfluenza virus is not the only one that can cause the disorder. A separate Bordetella vaccination can be given against the bacterial cause of kennel cough, Bordetella.


Para influenza and all forms of kennel cough are highly contagious. They can be transmitted by nose to nose contact or sharing of dishes between a healthy dog and an infected dog. It can also be contagious by becoming airborne.

The basic symptoms of par influenza are a low grade rise in temperature, usually around 102-103F and an ongoing, deep sounding, hacking cough. This cough can be apparent during the day but owners most often take notice of it during the quiet evening hours. Most of the dogs appear healthy other than the cough but its continuation for weeks on end can wear the dog and the owner down.

Veterinarians will usually prescribe a form of antibiotic to offset the chance of a secondary infection and some type of medication to end the spasmodic coughing spells. He or she will also sometimes recommend over the counter, human cough medications. It is important to check with your veterinarian to see which ones are safe for the dog.

Dogs infected with any version of kennel cough should be kept totally isolated from other dogs and in a warm, humid environment. Many owners find the bathroom or laundry room a perfect hospital room for their pets.

Parvo virus:

The final part of the DHLP-P combination is a vaccine for Canine Parvovirus. Parvo is a relatively recent disease. Its first reported cases occurred in 1978 and proceeded to lay waste to large numbers of the canine population.

Parvo is a highly contagious viral disease that can be spread in a number of ways. Contact with the feces or vomit of an infected dog is the source of the infection but tracing it back to the contagious dog can be extremely hard to do.

A puppy can come into an environment in which a contagious dog was in up to six months previously. Strays can spread it by sniffing with another dog through the fence. In 1978, humans were and still are one of the main carriers of the disease. Dog breeders at that time were often wiped out as entire litters as well as their adult dogs became infected with the disease as would be buyers would go to several different sites looking for a puppy. These buyers would come into contact with an infected dog and carry the disease to each stopping place along the way on their hands, clothes or even shoes.

Today, parvovirus normally attacks younger dogs rapidly reproducing cells in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, heart and gastrointestinal tract. With infection, the disease will often take one of two forms: the diarrheal and the cardiac form.

The diarrhea or enteric parvovirus comes with a sudden onset, vomiting and bloody diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite as well as an increase in temperature. Puppies not treated for the disease will often dehydrate and die quickly. The estimated mortality rate for untreated puppies is approximately 80-85%. This rate is slightly higher in Rottweiler’s and Dobermans due to a prevalence of the blood clotting dysfunction called Von Willebrauns disease.

When parvovirus takes its cardiac or myocardial form, it can cause congestive heart failure even in those puppies that survive the disease. Congestive heart failure in itself will cause the premature death of the puppy.

A veterinarian who suspects parvovirus may run a series of different tests to prove the infection. One of the oldest and most reliable tests is to simply do a white cell count. A marked decrease in these cells is a good sign of parvovirus being present. There are also tests that can be run on a small stool sample, which most veterinarians can run in office with results given within ten to fifteen minutes. If the test shows positive for the disease, the owner then has to decide on a course of action. The preferred course is an extended hospital stay, IV fluids given throughout the day, medications given to slow the gastrointestinal tract and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections.

The cost of these treatments is high and only the owner can decide if they can afford to proceed and it must be remembered that even with the best of veterinary care, there is no guarantee that the dog will survive.


Puppy Food for your new AKK

Ask the breeder what kind of food is currently being fed to your pup. Stay with that for about 10 days. Then, if you choose another brand of puppy food, make the shift gradually. Arriving at a new home can be traumatic for a puppy, and this can affect diet. Encourage a pup, if it is too distracted to eat during those first few days. Either microwave the dry food on medium heat, just enough to create an enticing aroma (don't burn your puppy's tongue) or add moist food to dry kibble. But don't allow this practice to become a habit; even little puppies are capable of training their owners.

Veterinary nutritionists encourage a diet of primarily dry food. High-quality puppy foods are researched and balanced, and they do not require supplements.

Some breeders are now recommending against puppy food for giant breeds such as Great Danes, Newfoundlands and Irish Wolfhounds. Instead they are suggesting a diet solely of adult food. Their goal is to avoid such muscular/skeletal abnormalities as puppy carpal syndrome (accelerated bone growth) and hip dysplasia. Adult food, which is generally not as high-energy a meal as puppy chow, may temper growth. Several recent studies indicate that giant breeds overfed on puppy food are more likely to suffer hip dysplasia. Puppy food is certainly not the only potential cause of this ailment, which also has a certain genetic component.

Dogs fed exclusively adult chow may suffer from slowed or stunted growth, if they don't receive the right amount of calcium and phosphorus. According to the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), too little calcium (less than 1 percent) may slow or stunt growth, and too much calcium (more than 2.5 percent) may advance the possibility of hip dysplasia or puppy carpal syndrome. The problem is that few products indicate the percent of calcium.

Consumers should look for a fat profile from 10 to 15 percent and a protein profile between 22 and 25 percent.

For giant breeds, the closer to 10 percent for fat and 22 percent for protein, the better. Most veterinary nutritionists now recommend a conservative puppy chow that isn't like jet fuel for larger breeds. Then, at four to six months of age -- sooner than many other breeds -- make the transition to the adult food. Also remember that most puppies don't have appetite control.

Most dogs remain on puppy food until they are 10 months old to just over a year old. If you notice that your dog is beginning to "fill out" a bit too much, it's probably time to make the gradual shift to adult food. Consult your vet for the exact timing, which is dependent on the breed, amount of exercise the dog is getting and its individual metabolism.

Dogs do not crave variety as people do. Still, owners have been known to offer table scraps. At least make the scrap healthy tidbits like pieces of fresh or uncooked carrots or tomatoes. And don't offer those scraps at the dining room table unless you want to train your dog to beg.



How much do you like using that vacuum cleaner? Some breeds barely shed, and others would keep Felix Unger sweeping 24 hours a day. The AKK sheds a great deal and blow their coats twice a year.


Grooming is an added expense. Some breeds require frequent, extensive grooming; others never need it. The AKK needs frequent grooming and brushing and can be groomed and brushed by its owner.


Limited living space, like an apartment, might not be enough for your 75- to 100-pound dog. Some landlords may not allow all sizes of dogs, if any at all. Also, hulking giant breeds may be too much for frail owners to handle. The AKK needs to be exercised and therefore needs a great deal of space to also run.


Do you have children or expect to have any? While nearly all breeds raised with young children learn to tolerate them, it's more fun to choose one of the many breeds that thrive with kids and their sticky fingers. The AKK do well around children if raised around one.


All dogs require some exercise, but some breeds demand a daily romp outdoors and lots of doggy toys indoors. They are high-maintenance in a sense; they have boundless energy, which needs to be directed. Other breeds are content with one snappy walk around the block and a bed to curl up on. The AKK require exercise on a regular basis to avoid getting bored.


Consider your nose. People who are allergic to dogs may get away with owning Bichon Frises, Poodles (standard, toy or miniature) or Portuguese Water Dogs (curly-coated variety), but there's no guarantee. And a lesser number of people may own any of the terrier breeds without exhibiting symptoms. The best way to test it out is to visit a breeder who has a packof the breed you're most interested in. If you begin to wheeze, leave (or call an ambulance), and then check out another breed.


What do you want your dog's job to be? Some breeds make awful watch dogs, while others are effective at watching but wimpy when it comes to actually guarding property. Some breeds are great for hunters, and others would be too distracted, chasing after everything. Some breeds are naturals at playing in canine sports, and others are too clutzy.


Many toy breed dogs can be "pee-pad," newspaper or litter box trained – a practical idea for the infirm or elderly who may be unable to easily walk a dog, or may have particular difficulty taking a dog out in snowy or rainy weather. Again, I do not recommend puppy pads.


A rare breed called the Coton de Tulear may wear a $10,000 price tag for a show or stud dog. American Kennel Club purebred pet-quality dogs may be purchased for $200.00 with some breeds ranging from $300 to $800. Rare breed dogs typically begin at about $500 and most level out at $3,000 for pet quality. And from neighbors or shelters, dogs may be free or available for a nominal fee. The adoption fee for an AKK ranges from $1,500.00 to well over $3,500.000 depending on a breeder’s price.


Do you want a puppy or an adult dog? You can easily train a puppy the way you want to fit your lifestyle. When toddlers are present, a puppy raised with the family might be the best idea. There is nothing cuter or more photogenic in the whole world than a puppy. However, you should at least weigh the possibility of purchasing a 10-month-old pooch or an adult dog, especially if you have a busy schedule. Depending on where you get the dog, it may arrive well-trained. And, you do not have to worry about all those puppy vaccinations or housebreaking.



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