Congratulations on your new addition to the family! Introducing a new puppy or kitten to your family can be extremely rewarding, but is also a huge responsibility that can quickly become overwhelming. We are here to address your every concern about your new family member.
Now is the perfect time to consider enrolling in our CareClub wellness plans for your new puppy or kitten.
Your puppy or kitten's first visit with us should be scheduled between 6-8 weeks of age to begin immunizations, start parasite preventatives, receive a microchip, and to discuss behavioral concerns. Although the "average" puppy or kitten visits us at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, the recommended vaccine schedule may vary depending upon your pet's individual needs. Our veterinarians recommend that puppies should receive DA2PPV (distemper/parvovirus), rabies, Lyme, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, and influenza vaccinations. Kittens should receive FVRCP (distemper), rabies, and leukemia vaccinations. For more information on these vaccines, please visit the vaccination page of our site.
Intestinal parasites are very common in puppies and kittens, as they can become infected with some types of intestinal worms before they are born or later through their mother's milk. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help us to determine the presence of most intestinal parasites. We recommend this exam for all puppies and kittens, especially during their first few veterinary office visits. Even if we do not get a stool sample, we recommend the routine use of a deworming medication that is safe and effective against several of the common worms of the dog. We do this because our deworming medication has little, if any, side effects and because your puppy does not pass worm eggs every day so the stool sample may not detect worms that are present but not shedding eggs. Additionally, some of these internal parasites can be transmitted to humans. It is important that the deworming is repeated because it only kills the adult worms.
Nutrition is very important for growing puppies and kittens--we recommend Hills or Royal Canin, more specifically a diet made for puppies or kittens. You should look for food that has been certified by AAFCO, an independent organization that oversees the entire pet food industry and certifies that the food has met the minimum requirements for nutrition. For optimal brain and eye development, the puppy food should contain high levels of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid. Our veterinarians recommend "meal feedings, which means that the puppy or kitten is fed at specific times of the day. A measured amount of food should be offered as is recommended by your veterinarian. What is not eaten within thirty minutes is taken up. Two meals per day is the optimal feeding schedule for adult cats and dogs.
Puppies and kittens have very sharp toenails. When the puppy is young, you can use your fingernail or toenail clippers to trim off the sharp tips. As your pet gets older, you will need to use nail trimmers made for dogs or cats. If you take too much off the nail, you will cut into the "quick" and bleeding and pain will occur. If this happens, neither you nor your pet will want to do this again.
Spaying is the surgical removal of the uterus and the ovaries, and eliminates the dog's estrus cycles. Apart from the risk of unplanned pregnancies, it is well documented that intact female dogs and cats have a significant risk of developing breast cancer and/or uterine infections. Spaying before the dog experiences her first estrus cycle has 3 benefits:
Neutering or castration is the surgical removal of the testicles, and will prevent or decrease these problems, as well as being an effective method of controlling the problem of overpopulation. The surgery can be performed any time after the cat or dog is six months old, but your veterinarian can discuss further considerations with regards to the surgery.
Please discuss these recommendations and whether or not a CareClub membership is right for your family with your veterinary professional staff at your puppy or kitten's first visit .