Welcoming A New Puppy or Kitten
Spring is a wonderful time to welcome a new puppy or kitten into your family. While your new furry bundle of joy is bound to bring fun, excitement, and a whole lot of cuteness to your household, it’s important to prepare your home and know what to expect at your vet visits.
- Puppy/kitten-proof your home. Ensure your home is safe for a new puppy or kitten. Clear your yard and thoroughly check the yard and fence for items that could result in cuts or lacerations, such as nails in the fence or exposed sharp branches. Inside your home, be sure to pet-proof toilets, electrical cords and outlets, house plants (some are toxic to pets), garbage cans, and food storage. Put fragile items away or out of reach and make sure your pet has a crate or designated space.
- Make a plan for training. For new puppies and kittens, start training as early as possible. Make a plan to help them and discuss your training plan with your veterinarian for further suggestions.
- Determine the responsibilities in your household and create a schedule for feeding, playtime, etc. Giving each family member a designated responsibility will help build a regular routine for your new puppy or kitten.
- Show your puppy or kitten where they will sleep and introduce them to their toys. This will help them understand what is theirs and help develop a routine.
- Keep an eye on them during their first few weeks in your home. Ensure they are always in view as they acclimate to their new environment.
- Introduce other pets in the household gradually. If you have other pets in your home, it may take some time for them to warm up to each other. Introduce them slowly and ensure they have space when they need it.
- Introduce children slowly. If you have children in your household, teach them how to welcome a new puppy or kitten appropriately before bringing your furry family member home. Families should make sure children give the puppy or kitten the space they need to get acclimated and allow them an opportunity to settle without being overwhelmed with their energy.
Certain vaccines are required and recommended for all puppies and kittens. Talk to your veterinarian about their vaccine schedule.
Vaccines for Puppies
Below are the commonly recommended vaccine guidelines for puppies. Discuss these with your veterinarian to decide what is best for your puppy’s lifestyle.
- The Distemper/Parvo Vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against viruses that cause life-threatening neurologic, respiratory, and gastrointestinal issues.
- The Rabies Vaccine is required by law and protects against fatal illness. Rabies can be transmitted to other pets and people through the bite of an infected animal.
- Lyme Vaccine helps prevent Lyme disease, which is easily transmitted through the bite of an infected tick.
- The Leptospirosis Vaccine protects against bacteria that can cause deadly kidney or liver disease. Leptospirosis is also transmissible to people.
- The Bordetella Vaccine protects against bordetella bacteria.
- The Influenza Vaccine protects against a contagious respiratory infection.
All puppies and dogs need prescription heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives year-round. Discuss with your veterinarian to choose the best one for your puppy.
Vaccines for Kittens
Below are the commonly recommended vaccine guidelines for kittens. Discuss with your veterinarian the recommended vaccines based on your cat’s lifestyle:
- Distemper and Upper Respiratory Vaccine (FVRCP): This combination vaccine protects against viruses that cause life-threatening respiratory and gastrointestinal issues.
- Leukemia Vaccine: This vaccine protects against contagious and often fatal disease, which is easily spread between cats.
- Rabies Vaccine: The rabies vaccine is required by law and protects against fatal illness. Rabies can be transmitted to other pets and people through the bite of an infected animal.
Cats and kittens are also at risk for heartworms and are the preferred host for fleas, even if they are indoor only. At your next appointment, ask our veterinarian for the best preventive options for your pet.
If you have any additional questions regarding vaccines, training, or preparing for your new puppy or kitten, give us a call at (253) 536-3633! Congratulations and we can’t wait to meet your new furry family member.