Puppy and kitten care.

There may be nothing more adorable and exciting than welcoming a new baby into your home. While human babies are cute as well, at Blue Valley Animal Hospital, puppies and kittens are more our speed. Getting your new pet off on the right paw is important. Keep reading to learn more about good kitten and puppy care:

Proper Puppy Care

When bringing home a new pup, you have a lot on your plate. Knowing the basics of puppy care can help to ensure that your new pet grows up healthy and happy. 

  • Be prepared—Be sure that your home is ready well before your puppy arrives. Have a plan for introducing other pets and family members. Be sure that you have basic supplies such as bowls, a leash and collar, brushes, toys, a crate, food, and training treats. 
  • Socialization—Between three and twelve weeks of age is prime learning time when you are a puppy. Take this window to teach your puppy about the world. Exposing them safely to new people, sounds, textures, animals, and activities is a sure way to keep them confident and minimize anxiety. 
  • Housebreaking—Take your puppy outside often. Any time they wake up, eat, or play, a potty break should ensue. It is not unusual for young puppies to need to relieve themselves every hour or so while they are awake. Pick an elimination spot outside and supervise your puppy until they go, they reward them with treats, play, or praise. 
  • Learning manners—Basic manners are a must. Start working on things like wearing a collar, walking on a leash, not jumping or nipping, and basic commands right away. Enrolling in a puppy training class is often a good way to work on these things as well as socialization. 
  • Vet visits—When you bring home a puppy, make an appointment to see us soon after their arrival. We will want to meet your new baby and establish care. This is also a great opportunity for us to point out any concerns or preventive care your new pet might need. 
  • Vaccinations—Proper vaccination is an important part of good puppy care. Young dogs are at high risk for many serious diseases, and starting vaccinations as soon as possible can help to minimize risk. 
  • Parasite prevention—Parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, coccidia, fleas, and heartworms can be devastating for puppies. Getting your new pet on a good parasite prevention program right away is vital. 
  • Spay and neuter—We recommend spay and neuter for most pets. We will discuss with you at your puppy’s wellness visits when the best time to do these procedures would be. 

Quintessential Kitten Care

Cats are known for being relatively low maintenance, but good kitten care is just as important as puppy care! Be sure that you are ready for your new kitten.

  • Be prepared—Prepare your home for a new kitten by baby-proofing pet accessible areas. Think about how you might introduce other pets in the home. You’ll also want to go shopping for basics like bowls, litter boxes, brushes, toys, scratching surfaces, food, and training treats. 
  • Socialization—Between two and seven weeks of age, kittens go through a socialization period. This is a great time to teach them about new things and how to love being handled. 
  • Litter box training—Be sure that your kitten is able to get in and out of their box (a cake pan may be a good temporary solution until they grow) and that they are in an accessible place for your tiny baby. Show your kitten to the litter box frequently, especially after meals. You can even encourage them to dig so that they get the idea. 
  • Scratching behavior—It is natural cat behavior to scratch, so providing your kitten with sturdy surfaces to stretch and scratch on is important. Show them their scratching areas when they start to exhibit this behavior. 
  • Being polite—Don’t allow your kitten to bite at your hands. Instead encourage play with a more appropriate toy. 
  • Come see us—Give us a call when you get a new kitten so that we can meet them, address any concerns, and make recommendations for their care. 
  • Vaccinations—Proper vaccination is an important part of good puppy care. Young dogs are at high risk for many serious diseases, and starting vaccinations as soon as possible can help to minimize risk. 
  • Parasite prevention—Starting your pet on a parasite prevention program right away is so important. Fleas and intestinal parasites are serious business for such a tiny being. 
  • Spay and neuter—We recommend spay and neuter for most cats around five to six months of age to prevent unwanted litters and serious health concerns. 

Knowing what to expect when it comes to puppy and kitten care can really make a huge difference in the health and longevity of your new family member. Our team at Blue Valley Veterinary Hospital is here to help you do it well.