List of things an owner MUST do for their dog

Potty Training

From day one, you need to decide whether your puppy will use the potty indoors or outdoors. Do not start by training your puppy to use pee pads indoors, and then try and convert to going potty outdoors, it will just be confusing for your puppy.

Grooming your puppy

Also from day one, you will want to touch and play with your puppy’s paws, ears and teeth. Massage their body and legs as if you are cleaning them. This makes them familiar with the feelings and motion so that it becomes a lot easier to groom them later on. Each breed of dog has unique grooming needs, find out the needs of your breed of dog.  

Keeping your puppy and your home safe

A puppy can be a menace, biting and breaking things. Make sure you puppy proof the room/area that your puppy will be in. Especially if you don’t have a playpen.  

Buying the basics for your puppy

It is absolutely necessary to buy the following basic items for your puppy. Food, bowls, crate, collar, dental treats, lead and toys. Buy a backup collar/harness and lead!

If you plan to travel a lot with your dog, buy some travel gear: odour spray, water/food pouch, car harness, seat cover.  

Caring for your puppy

Rotate food every 12 weeks to build up your puppy’s tolerance.

Contact a veterinarian about scheduling vaccinations and shots.

Cleaning your puppy. The amount of times you bathe your puppy is completely up to you. Some people say you shouldn’t bath your puppy more than once a month, while some say twice a month and others say once a week. It depends on how your puppy smells and if they get really dirty often.

Make a monthly plan and set a date for administering medication, such as heartworm and flea/tick medication.  

Locate local dog care services in case of emergencies.

Plan for multiple training sessions a week.

Socialize your puppy as much as possible. Bring them everywhere and interact with people and other animals, while closely monitoring them to avoid negative experiences.

Set up a plan for walking your dog. Find nearby parks that are dog friendly. Find out the rules of the park, e.g. if dogs have to be leashed at all times. Try and walk your puppy at least once a day. Bigger and high energy dogs may need walked more than once.

Insurance for your puppy, such as

Unless you plan to breed your dog, you should get it spayed/neutered after 6 months. Some would suggest waiting until at least 9 months.