Puppy care

Congratulations on the new addition to your family!

Here are some very basic tips to help you take care of your puppy over the next few weeks and months.

Taking your puppy home
Your puppy may be a little disorientated and even scared when you first take him home. Allow him to explore his new territory, familiarise himself with the environment and meet his new family (be they human or animals). Ensure that the puppy knows where to find his food and water bowls (which should always be kept in the same place).

A small puppy needs a lot of sleep and rest. When he is awake however, you should give him lots of attention, this will help him to form a bond with you, enabling him to understand you and better listen to your commands. This, in turn will allow you to train him in a more relaxed and positive manner.

Nutrition and feeding
Your puppy will need fresh water available at all times. Puppies burn a lot of energy in the first few months of their lives and for this reason, they need to be fed small amounts three times a day (up to six months). The food should be the kind specifically designed for puppies and we suggest using a brand that is veterinarian recommended for at least the first year of his life as this will help him grow and support his bone structure. Supermarket dog foods are often low in nutrients and vitamins. You can choose between dry biscuits, raw meat, tinned food or any other combination that you feel works for your dog.

Health care
We recommend that you take your new puppy to the local vet for a full check-up within the first two weeks of getting him.

Although his first vaccination and check-up will have been done by the time you take your puppy home, he’ll need to have the following injections:

  • 12 weeks 5 in 1 Booster Shot & Rabies
  • 4 months Rabies
  • Annually Booster Shot


Please note as per adoption contracts all puppies and dogs adopted through us need to be spayed. Please remember to contact us when the time comes ( 6 months) to get a redcued rate on this.

Fleas, ticks & worms!
You will also need to treat your puppy for ticks and fleas and de-worm him on a regular basis. Most flea and tick treatments are applied monthly and it is recommended that an external treatment such as Frontline or Advantix be used. Vets advise against flea dips or shampoos and flea collars, as dogs can ingest toxic substances by nibbling on themselves or their flea collar!

As a rule, de-worming should be done every three to six months (more often if your puppy eats raw meat, is in contact with many other dogs or has been treated for fleas). Ask your vet about the various treatment options available.

Your puppy (and adult dog) should be bathed every three to four weeks. A dogs’ fur is different to human hair, so you should never use human shampoo to bath them – there are many reasonably priced dog shampoos available at pet stores and from your vet. Try to avoid bathing your dog any more than every second week. A dog’s skin produces natural oils that are essential to the well-being of their skin and coats, and bathing too often can reduce these oils and result in irritable skin and an itchy dog!

Brushing your dog daily will not only keep their coat in great condition, but it’s also a good opportunity to bond with your new friend. Just as the mother lick’s their pups as a means of grooming and keeping them clean, brushing connects your dog with you and strengthens your bond.

Puppies are a little like babies, they need to be looked after until they’re old enough to look out for themselves. They need to be kept in a safe area (preferably indoors for the first few months) and care needs to be taken to ensure that they cannot get out of the property, get access to the swimming pool etc… Ideally someone should be at home for the first few weeks at least, or there should be another dog around to “show your puppy the ropes!”.

Puppies are fragile and they rely on you completely to look after them. If you have children, please ask them not to pick up your small puppy in case they accidentally drop and injure them. We have enclosed a short pamphlet that will help you teach your children how to care for and love their new puppy.

House Training
This needs to be approached gently in a positive and friendly manner. If your puppy spends a lot of time indoors, the first thing he will want to do after waking up is to empty his bladder. Place him on the same spot every time, preferably on some grass near the house. He should form an association with that place and doing his business. It is important to do this from the beginning as these habits will be difficult to break, once they have formed. Until your puppy is house trained, ensure that you take him outside at least every hour, after meals and as soon as he wakes up. Remember to praise him when he does his business outside and he’ll soon learn to take his toilet breaks on his own.

A small puppy should not do too much exercise. He will regulate his own exercise and will take a nap when he is tired. As he gets older, he will be capable of more exercise and should have enough space to run or be taken out on regular walks.

Basic Training
This needs to start as soon as you receive the puppy. At a most basic level he needs to know his name. After that, start with teaching him to get used to a collar / something around his neck. Use a light leather collar that fits with enough free space around. Place him on a leash for very short periods. Do not over strain him, as his attention span is very short, and will increase as he gets older.

The simplest command to train your puppy in is the “sit” command. This can be used before meals and will quickly form an association between following a command and being rewarded. Other simple commands that a small puppy can learn is recall, “stay” and a basic “down”.

Obedience training is not only a good way to develop a well behaved dog, but it’s also a great opportunity for your puppy to socialise in a safe environment. There are many training schools in the greater Durban area and most of these can be found on the internet or through your local vet. Dogs need “boundaries” within which to live and obedience training will help you to establish the ground rules which will ultimately result in a happy and well adjusted dog.

General Summary
Your puppy needs very few things in order to live a healthy and happy life:

  • Fresh food and water
  • A safe place to sleep
  • Love and affection
  • Exercise
  • Some gentle discipline

If you provide your puppy with these things, you will have a true friend and companion for the rest of his life.

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