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Starter kit for puppies

Here’s a list of essentials you’ll need for your puppy’s first big day home. Puppy Care

Dog food: Give him a great start on life! Choose Pedigree Puppy range food ready for him when he arrives. Specially formulated with concentrated nutrition.

ID tags: A must-have item for your puppy, his identification tag should be firmly attached to his collar. Remember to include your current address and phone number, as well as his name. It’s also a good idea to include a separate tag with your veterinarian’s name and phone number. You may even want to consider microchipping as an added identification measure.

Collar: Choose a nylon or soft leather collar; collars that expand with your dog are also suitable.

Leash: Some pet parents prefer short leashes, some long – having both in the house is a good idea. If you’re just going out for a little walk, take the short one, if it’s a long walk or you’re heading over to the park, a longer leash gives your puppy more slack to stretch his legs – and he may not pull as much, either. Remember to limit the exposure of your puppy to other puppies and dog parks until he’s received his vaccinations.

Food & water bowls: You’ll need a set of bowls to feed your puppy delicious and nutritious Pedigree Puppy food. To keep your puppy’s feeding area neat and safe, try the ‘non-tip’ variety of bowl, or put a plastic, non-slip mat underneath his bowls. This will help him eat more easily without getting his ears and nose in his food and will save you on clean-up time. Stainless steel bowls are also recommended as they’re easier to clean and won’t break if dropped like ceramic ones.

To keep your puppy’s feeding area hygienic:

  • Clean both his food and water bowls every day.
  • Remember to re-fill your puppy’s bowl with fresh water regularly too; puppies need to stay hydrated to be healthy.
  • If you’re serving your dog wet puppy food, ensure that it’s kept refrigerated and your puppy eats it within 15-20 minutes.
  • If he doesn’t finish all of his food, discard it and put down fresh food for his next meal.

Toys and chews: Puppies love to chew. Generally, they chew to entertain themselves, because they’re teething or if they’re a little bored and want to expend some energy. Choosing toys and chews that are the right size, shape and texture for their growing teeth, mouth and jaws is important for healthy physical development; ask your vet for suggestions on which ones are best for your breed of dog.

Stain removers and deodorisers: Because your puppy can (and will) have accidents as he becomes house-trained, it’s a good idea to pick up some stain removers and enzymatic deodorisers. If the area isn’t completely cleaned, your dog will continue to smell his personal scent, and keep returning to the area to do it again. If a ‘wet’ accident has just happened, soak up as much of the urine as possible with a combination of newspaper and paper towels.

If you’re able to remove the fresh urine before it dries, it will be easier to remove the odour. Repeat this process until the area is barely damp. Next, rinse the area thoroughly with clean, cool water. Again, you’ll need to remove as much of the water as possible by blotting with paper towels and newspapers. A wet vacuum is also very helpful. Apply the deodoriser once the area is completely cleaned. For washable items, launder them as usual and add a box of baking soda or a cup of vinegar and leave out to air dry.

Shampoo, brush, comb, and toothbrush/paste: Because puppies have sensitive skin, talk to your vet about a shampoo that’s pH balanced just for him. Brushes and combs are custom-made for different breeds and lengths of hair; again, it’s important to select the ones that help his coat stay healthy and tangle-free.

Brushing your puppy’s teeth (using a dog toothbrush and toothpaste) can be a challenge at first, but if you introduce it while he’s young, not only will he adjust to the process (and even enjoy the taste of the toothpaste!) brushing regularly can keep his teeth clean and strong for years to come.

Puppy crate: Choose a quiet area of the house where your puppy can sleep without being disturbed whenever he’s tired; a quiet corner of the kitchen or family room is ideal. You may want to partition off an area around his bed for a few days to create a little ‘den’ where he can feel secure and be out of harm’s way.

Try not to spend too much on an expensive bed he’s likely to chew; because you still need to line his bed with something soft and warm (and he needs something to snuggle with), choose an old blanket instead.

Pawfect dietary care for mother & puppies

The arrival of a litter of puppies is always an exciting experience and to make everything go well, you can rely on your vet’s experience and ‘Birth & Growth’ programme from Royal Canin.

You need to provide the mother, and the litter she is carrying, with a range of nutrients essential for development. They must be found in her diet, otherwise your female dog’s body will draw on its own reserves. Two-thirds of the way through gestation, at around 6-7 weeks, is when foetal development really begins, because this is when they gain weight, increase in size and their skeletons harden. Both the mother and puppies’ needs increase and she can gain around 25 percent of her weight in the week before delivery.

Taking care of the mother

From the 6th week of pregnancy, the mother’s energy, protein and mineral requirements are significantly inline with her puppies’ rapid growth and in preparation for lactation. A very rich, highly digestible, easy to rehydrate and very palatable food meets the needs of the mother and her little ones perfectly right up until weaning. Starter Mini, Medium, Maxi or Giant, according to the mother’s ideal adult weight, fits the bill! Once the puppies are born, they will feed every 3 hours; lactation is an incredibly demanding time for mothers, and her energy needs multiply 3 times in order to produce her very rich milk and rebuild her bodily reserves. Let her eat as much Starter as she likes, always with a bowl of fresh water alongside. She will also need to escape from time to time to stretch her legs – this is a good opportunity to make sure she is in good form and not losing weight.

Weaning made easy

Gradually, driven by curiosity, the puppies will taste their mother’s food, and wean themselves by imitating her. Starter food is easy to hydrate with a little warm water or a special dog milk (Babydog milk) – little by little, from 3 weeks of age to around 7 or 8 weeks, this will be the ideal transition from mother’s milk. With all the nutritional qualities your puppies need, and very palatable, it is also ultra-digestible and meets this very high needs for energy, fats, proteins, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and carefully controlled amounts of minerals and starch. The size of the kibble is specially adapted to the size of the puppies’ jaws, making it easy for them to eat.

Growing up safely

Depending on the puppy’s size or breed, growth is quicker or slower and takes place in successive stages. The Junior Breed Health Nutrition provides him with everything he needs – concentrated energy and digestive security, which help him grow harmoniously and reinforce his own natural defences while taking the specificities of his breed into account.

Dog professionals have chosen Royal Canin for over 40 years. Dogs – and cats – are at the heart of every Royal Canin innovation, because new foods are made for them and them alone, taking account of their real needs, based on proven scientific facts.

Dog training

Allow dogs and puppies to explore

Dogs love to sniff and explore. We need to be aware of our dog’s amazing ability and need to use his senses.

Allowing dogs and especially puppies to explore, sniff and taste different safe objects helps their brains to develop, however be careful not to overload a puppy with too much or the puppy will shut down. A few minutes a day is enough for a small puppy.

Give the dog some pet toys or safe household junk, scattered around a room or yard for him to explore. You can even use an old cardboard box and hide some yummy treats in or under some of the objects.

If he is investigating an object, which is not doing any harm, then allow him to do so, as this will help him develop selfconfidence. Don’t pull him away. Give the dog space to explore, don’t interrupt and learn to keep quiet. Dogs need to explore their environment and find out what’s there. This nose work will cost him more energy than a long walk, it is hard work for the dog but it is necessary for his development and self-confidence.

Many problems in dogs develop through lack of selfconfidence, so do not stop him from using his senses. AfterTraining all this is what he was born to do. However do not allow him to chase and keep him on a lead unless in a safe and secure environment. They will view their new environment first and then their head goes down and they start to take in the information through their nose. We should never yank on the lead or pull the dog’s head up. This can damage the dog’s vertebrae or thyroid.

When walking your dog, make the walk an enjoyable one. Don’t walk your dog on a short lead, making him keep up with your walking pace. Allow him to walk slowly on a long lead, to sniff and explore the environment. This will be more enjoyable for your dog, more mentally stimulating.

As a dog uses his senses, he is taking in a lot of information, he is reading the daily post, who has been there, what has been there, why they were there, and so much more information that we, humans, do not know and cannot comprehend.

Some objects can be scary for dogs, especially for puppies. Allow them to walk up and explore in their own time and own way without pushing or rushing the puppy. Our intervention can do more harm than good in this situation. If the dog wants to go away from the scary object, then allow him to do so, its ok for him to walk away, he may be ready to deal with it another day. Also allow the dog to have an escape route from the situation, this will help him to feel more secure, knowing he can leave if things feel a little scary.

Take your time, walk slowly, enrich your dog’s environment, give him plenty of rest and enjoy your dog.

Scent work is fun for your dog so allow him to do what he was born to do. Understanding your dog’s needs is the beginning to understanding him and developing a good relationship with him.

(Nicole Mackie has over 14 years of experience in handling, exhibiting, training, observing, studying and sharing her life with dogs, gaining many qualifications over the years such as canine behaviour, canine psychology, general animal science and experience in veterinary nursing. She is a regular radio speaker and writer for magazines, works with behavioural problems in dogs and runs socializing groups for dogs with social problems.)

Are puppies always a pleasure?

The word ‘puppies’ reminds us of lovely, sweet and adorable darlings. These are the reactions I get from most people when they see my four Labrador pups. These are thoughts that cross my mind too when I see them… but most of the times… my vocabulary gets limited to a high pitched –NO! STOP! OH MY GOD! SIT!!! OUT!! RIGHT NOW!! Even my neighbours are well aware with these commands by now!

My association with dogs dates back right to childhood. Luckily, I got married to a person who liked dogs and had Val Core, a cross between a Pom and a Pekinese. When he was 10 years old, we got our second dog – Treasure – a female Labrador pup, a gorgeous chocolate brown babe. She grew up to a beautiful Labrador. I found a handsome cream Labrador for her and a month later, I found that Treasure was pregnant!

With the help of my vet Dr Sunita, Treasure delivered four babies and I felt like a mom! Since Treasure was not well, it was a 24-hour duty for me to put the babies for feed every two hours. One of the pups was too weak to suckle, so I had to bottle-feed him. The puppy milk powder was available only in one shop and had to be made fresh every two hours. To be honest, I never did all this even for my own two children.

Anyway, they grew and the amount of care they required grew in the same proportion. I was on my toes the whole day long. My sofa set had to be polished every now and then, computer wires had to be replaced, telephone cords changed, lampshades were broken and books were all chewed up. It was then that I discovered my new vocabulary! But the adorable cute faces of the pups melted down all the anger.

It was then that I decided to find homes for my pups – Knight, Columbus, Crystal and Velvette. I managed to find homes for Crystal and Columbus. But, very soon, both of them came back as they could not adjust to their new homes. The reunion was difficult as the other two pups and the mother found it difficult to adjust again. I was awake for full 24 hours to make sure they did not bite them. Secretly, I was happy that I got my babies back. We are looking for excellent homes for them where they would be treated better than they are in my house!

If you are planning to keep a dog, remember that they are like children who never grow up! And to keep a dog, you truly need to love them in all stages. I personally request you that if you adopt one, keep her for lifetime.
– Grishma