Regardless of their life stage, pets are absolutely wonderful. But let’s be honest: puppies and kittens have the power to knock us off our feet with their overwhelming cuteness. They make friends everywhere they go, but their smallness can be a bit deceptive. Puppy and kitten care requires a great deal of time, energy, resources, and supplies that take many new owners by surprise. Luckily, when you’re prepared in the beginning, you are more likely to get them on the right path toward lifelong health and happiness.
The Honeymoon Period
Life with a new puppy or kitten is full of over-the-moon happiness. You get to snuggle together, marvel at their funny playfulness, and delight in their genuine sweetness. In order to keep the happiness flowing, you must pay attention to health. To help you establish healthy habits for your puppy or kitten, your team at Brodie Animal Hospital has some fresh guidelines.
We recommend scheduling your new pet’s first wellness exam soon after adoption. We can’t wait to get to know your pet! Some problems that can affect young animals aren’t always observable, and we can ensure they are free from any health issues or infections (or treat them accordingly). We will also check that they are growing at a healthy rate, and make recommendations for age-appropriate nutrition, training, and exercise.
Getting their first round of vaccinations is a critical component of puppy and kitten care. The natural immunity from their mother’s milk begins to wane about 6 weeks of age, which leaves them vulnerable to contagious diseases. By the time your puppy or kitten is about 4 months old, they ideally should be fully vaccinated. Check out our guide to puppy and kitten vaccine schedules.
Spay/Neuter & Microchipping
Not only is surgical sterilization important to reduce unwanted litters and the skyrocketing numbers of homeless pets, the procedure is actually good for your pet’s health. The removal of their reproductive organs decreases the risk of cancer and infection, improves behavior, and helps to keep them in great health.
While they are anesthetized for this straightforward surgery, we can microchip your pet (although it can also be done in a routine wellness exam, too). Microchips add an essential layer of protection against loss or separation. While not a substitute or replacement for your pet’s collar and ID tag, their microchip can help reunite them with you if they are ever picked up and scanned at an animal hospital, rescue, or humane society.
Don’t Underestimate Dental Care
Puppy and kitten care should include dental care. Since the majority of pets over age 3 have at least one stage of periodontal (gum) disease, it’s imperative to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
Keep this task fun and enjoyable. Only use pet toothpaste (never human toothpaste), and reward them with lots of praise. As they age, you’ll appreciate the amazing lack of foul breath and the many other problems associated with poor dental health.