Shots!

Not that kind of shot! Vaccination is as important for puppies as it is for new humans. According to the South African Veterinary Association there are four core diseases that our furry friends need to be vaccinated against:

These vaccines are very important in managing the health of your dog and are prescribed from weeks 8 to 15 of a puppy's life. After that it's recommended to have your dog vaccinated after its first birthday and then once every three years. With that said, find yourself an awesome vet who has a passion for animals (shout out to Silverfields Vet in the West Rand for being awesome), and they can guide you through the vaccination process. Having a good vet is key to having a happy, healthy mutt.

Puppy Proofing Your Home

Puppies are known to tear anything and everything to shreds. Sorry to break it to you, but you can't leave your socks on the floor any more. Secure entrances and exits to the home – nobody wants to go looking for a puppy at 2 AM on a Monday morning. Crating is a great way to train your puppy to become somewhat independent and to keep them safe at night when you're getting your much deserved beauty sleep. House training is important too, so read up and teach your doggo to not go toilet in the house! There are different methods suited to your specific environment, such as training your dog to do its business on newspaper, moving the paper closer and closer to the door and eventually out of the house. With that said, it's good to designate a specific spot for your pooch. Put a dog bed or crate in this spot and accustom your new pet to this area by placing his or her food and water there as well.

Routine

Routine goes hand in hand with house-training your puppy. Dogs are pack animals and will fall into rank and file if you take charge. A great way to instil routine into the new member of your family is to set a time in the morning when you get out of bed. Take the puppy outside at this time to go do his or her business. After a while the doggo will get used to this and end up nagging you out of bed when you want to sleep in. This also applies to feeding time. Try and feed your puppy around the same time every day.

Diet

Just like humans have different types of metabolism, so do different breeds of dog. Read up about your breed and ask your vet to recommend a diet... the last thing you want is to feed your dog a brand of dog food that's not meshing well with the dog's requirements. Often it's cheaper and healthier to cook for your dog – might sound silly, but if you make the food in bulk once a month it can make life a lot easier. Besides, who wouldn't want a healthy little mutt running around? An important factor is to note what dogs can and can't eat, like chocolate is pretty much poison, but sweet potato is good for them.

There are lots of dog food brands that claim to have all the right ingredients for puppy health but not all of them get the balance right. When taking your puppy to the vet for his first check-up, speak to them about the best food options. A food that is specially formulated for mini, medium and large breeds and provides antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, helps your puppy build a strong, healthy immune system. For example, Hill’s Science Plan contains these antioxidants, as well as high levels of DHA, a vital fatty acid to support a healthy brain and learning abilities in puppies. The ingredients are easily digested, which helps your puppy to absorb more nutrients from the food.

Dog Parks

Rule of thumb is to take your new pupper to the park after 16 weeks from birth. This gives the vaccination time to do its thing and for the dog's immune system to become stronger on its own. Once your doggo has reached this milestone, have a look at the top dog parks we've mentioned below - we're sure your furry friend will make a couple of buddies at these spots for sure! Oh, and invest in a good leash - nothing that will sit uncomfortably or choke the dog.

Johannesburg Botanical Garden

Also known as "Emmarentia dam" (which it rightfully is), the Johannesburg Botanical Garden boasts 81 hectares of flora fit for a royal puppy or three. There's ample shade and great spots to lay down a blanket and chill with your furry friend. Bring a bowl of water along as it's not recommended that your dog should drink out of the dam... in fact, keep your puppy away from the dam – it's too busy with runners, ducks and cyclists anyway. The top part of the park (the entrance closest to Beyers Naude Drive) is dedicated to dogs, so it'd be your best bet to hang out there.

Details: http://www.jhbcityparks.com/index.php/conservation-contents-95/botanical-gardens-contents-96

Walkhaven

A stone's throw away from the Cradle Of Human Kind lies a safe space for dogs to run free, kick it with the cool kids and make new friends. With 22 hectares of awesomeness, your dog will feel right at home at Walkhaven. There are two dams for the dogs to swim in, various hiking trails, braai and picnic facilities that have been spread out to avoid congestion, and loads of maintained space in which to walk, picnic, play and enjoy a day out. The best part is that dogs are not required to be on a leash – in fact, the facility prefers them to run around and play freely. Just be sure to clean up after your dog (poo bags are available in the bar and on the deck area). The park also has a little pub and grub area which serves cold beer and hot pizza, and the restrooms are serviced regularly and remarkably clean. Check the link below to find out about the entrance fee.

Details: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Walkhaven/

James & Ethel Gray Park

Pretty laid back and relaxed, James & Ethel Gray Park is a great place to take your new puppy as it's not as busy as those mentioned above. The park is patrolled by local security and managed and monitored by the Melrose Rates Payers' Association, owing to a clean and safe environment. Be sure to take your leash with as we're not too sure about leash laws here – we've seen doggies off their leashes but can't confirm whether this is the rule.

Details: http://www.jhbcityparks.com/index.php/list-of-parks-mainmenu-39/122-james-a-ethel-gray

Adopt

Wherever possible it's better to adopt than to buy... well, it's always better to adopt. Have a look at our pet adoption article and find a pet best-suited for you and your family. You can also contact your local SPCA.

By Shawn Greyling

Shopping

Nelson Mandela Square

A tourist attraction and home to the most exclusive stores and restaurants in the city, Nelson Mandela Square has everything you need for the perfect shopping experience. Start off by taking a stroll through their collection of shops, which includes Corthay Paris, Fabiani, Factorie and Forever 21, to pick up a few in vogue pieces to add to your wardrobe. Then end off your shopping spree with an afternoon dining on the square at Hard Rock Café, Tasha’s or Trumps.

Sandton City

A visit to Sandton is not complete without experiencing the shopping haven of Sandton City. Just a stone’s throw from Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City has just about everything you could ever need – and want – all under one roof. Spend the day finding the latest fashion trends at Zara and H&M, purchasing the best makeup on the market from Edgars and Urban Decay, lunching at JB’s Corner or Walnut Grove, and spotting a few local celebs.

Hyde Park Corner

From sophisticated international fashion brands to fantastic dining options and speciality stores, Hyde Park Corner boasts a reputation for being the centre of luxury. Shoppers can expect a retail experience like no other, complete with over 500 of the globe’s foremost international brands and 130 iconic stores. You can also catch the latest blockbusters at their Nu-Metro cinema or delve into your favourite author’s latest novel while grabbing a cappuccino at the Social Kitchen in Exclusive Books.

Eat

If you're into fancy feasts and fine dining, then Sandton is the place for you. As the richest square mile in Africa, there's good food to be found around every corner.

Pappas On The Square

Everybody loves a classic. Sinatra singing Fly Me To The Moon, Sean Connery as James Bond in an Aston Martin from the 60s. You might not find any Sinatra or Connery or DB5s at Pappas On The Square in Sandton, but you will find that elusive quality found in the mainstay of what makes a classic. Their authentic Greek food is amazing. We suggest the lamb shank – the meat just falls off the bone.

The Bull Run

A butcher and restaurant combo, The Bull Run is conveniently located opposite the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and a stone's throw from the Sandton CBD. It has fast built up a reputation as the business lunch or dinner restaurant of choice and serves perfectly matured South African beef.

Tashas

Nelson Mandela Square, Hyde Park, Melrose – there’s no problem finding a tashas in Sandton. This is just the restaurant if you want to tuck into something simple, fresh and comforting. Stop by for breakfast to start off your day on a good note, pick up a sarmie for lunch, or get together with the girls for some coffee and scrumptious desserts.

Café Del Sol Botanico

You don’t need to be outdoors to reconnect with nature. Complete with shades of green, aubergine, grey and white, Café del Sol Botanico brings nature indoors, making it a unique spot to grab an early lunch, a few cocktails or a fantastic meal. Their menu has a selection of colourful salads, comforting pasta, Italian classics, including risotto and gnocchi, and cheesy pizzas.

Sleeping Out In Sandton

Book yourself into one of the many luxurious hotels and suites in Sandton. The beds are soft, the views beautiful and the service stellar. Here are some of our favourite places to crash in Sandton.

Michelangelo Hotel

Known as one of the most popular hotels in Africa, the Michelangelo Hotel offers 242 suites and rooms, along with world-class facilities including conferencing space, in a magnificent setting. You can also look forward to easy access to some of Africa's finest shops, restaurants, cinemas and the theatre at Nelson Mandela Square.

DAVINCI Hotel

Guests can expect to receive world-class service at the DAVINCI Hotel and Suites at Nelson Mandela Square. The hotel features an immaculate infinity pool with cushioned loungers, and a full-service spa and a gym. The hotel's rooms have contemporary white and black décor, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV, and tea and coffee making facilities are provided in the room together with a mini bar. The DaVinci hotel also has an exclusive whisky, wine and cigar lounge.

The Maslow

If you're looking for luxurious accommodation with free WiFi and a swimming pool at a good price, then look no further than The Maslow. The hotel features contemporary decor, carpeted floors and is furnished with warm colours. Each room has a panoramic view of the city as an added bonus.

Entertainment

From the stage to the dance floor and everything in between, Sandton is not just a pretty sight to see but a great place to find entertainment. Here are some of the coolest places to check out when you're in town again.

A&G Theatre On The Square

Who would have thought that Sandton would be the place to go if you enjoy the stage? The Theatre on the Square is located on the northeastern corner of Nelson Mandela Square. There are a few low-price previews prior to the official opening of each new show, so keep your eyes glued to their official site to see what's cracking at the Theatre On The Square.

Taboo Night Club

Porches, Jaguars and Hummers line the pavement outside the Taboo Night Club. Beautiful people can be found inside having the time of their lives, donning designer outfits and sipping martinis. The atmosphere is altogether fun, and the décor is second to none, with red and black wallpaper, red lighting and white leather couches all over the place. It's the kind of place celebrities and politicians go to blow off some steam.

Maxim Lounge

Looking for the perfect whisky bar? Then head to the newly launched Maxim Lounge in Sandton. Maxim has collaborated with Scotch whisky stalwarts, Johnnie Walker, so the barmen's uniforms are branded with the iconic striding main motif on the cuffs and chest. Needless to say that the Maxim Lounge serves some of the most exclusive and rare whiskies in the world.

Go Outside

James and Ethel Gray Park

With some of the best sunrises and lovely views of the city, James and Ethel Gray Park is a small park ideal for early morning running sessions, walks with your beloved four-legged companions, or a relaxed stroll.

Sandton Central Park

Right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Sandton’s financial district is the small yet beautiful Sandton Central Park. Not only does it give business people a place to relax during their lunch hour, but it’s also a lovely spot for dog walking, playing a few rounds of soccer or having a picnic with the family over the weekend.

Check out this cool drone footage shot by our homies P3 Drones:

By Shawn Greyling and Kim Brown

Have we left out any of your favourite spots in Sandton? Then let us know all about it in the comments section below. Also, sharing is caring, so show some love by posting this on social media for us.