Dog Owner's Guide

Special section: Caring for a puppy

Puppies need special care and extra attention just like human babies do. Puppies should not be taken away from their mother when they are under eight weeks old. Being fed and taken care of by their mother gives puppies a self-immunity that is irreplaceable. Never buy or adopt puppies who are under eight weeks old, as you will be depriving them of their mother's care. However, if you are faced with a situation in which the mother rejects her own puppy, these are some tips you can follow to ensure your puppy gets the love and care it needs.

Warmth

Puppies that are a few weeks old do not have the capacity to produce their own body heat so ensure that you provide a warm area with blankets for the puppy to sleep in. You can also place a small dim light near the puppy's sleeping area as another source of heat. This will reduce the risk of your puppy getting pneumonia.

Feeding your puppy

Newborn puppies need to be feed with milk every four hours, for the first 48 hours. Get a suitable sized milk bottle and fill it with warm puppy formula. Ensure that the temperature is just right, neither too hot nor too cold. Gently hold the puppy in your hands and allow him to slowly drink from the drink. After he finishes drinking his formula, you can pat his back to help him burp. You should bottle feed your puppy for the first two to three weeks. After three weeks you can introduce him to puppy cereals by mixing cereals with puppy formula to create a gruel-like consistency. Puppies need a high protein diet so look out for puppy cereals that are suitable.

Never leave your puppy unattended

Puppies can seriously injure themselves by falling off a steep surface or down the stairs. If there are other dogs around, make sure you supervise them during playtime to make sure the other dogs are not too rough with the puppy. Never leave a puppy in the care of young children as they may not know how to handle the puppy well and could end up hurting him. Remember, a puppy is just as vulnerable as a human baby, so do not take any risks you would not take with a baby.

Vaccinations

Bring your puppy to a reputable veterinarian and ensure he gets all the necessary vaccinations. Maintain a record of all the vaccinations your puppy has received and when they were administered. This is also a great way to keep track of vaccinations your puppy needs to get in the future.

Training

When training your puppy, use lots of kind words and praise when he does something good. Puppies do not need treats to be trained, but you will need to show them what you want them to do over and over until they catch on. Never shout at your puppy or handle it roughly. When your puppy misbehaves a stern, "NO", will do. Dogs like to follow a schedule so all playtime, feeding and walks should be done at the same time every day.