How to Care For Your New Kitten and/or Puppy

Here are some basic tips on caring for your new kitten and/or puppy.

Selecting your pet:            While purebred puppies and kittens are abundant widely available from breeders, don’t forget that our county animal shelters and animal rescues are full of eligible, adoptable pets of all sizes and breeds (mixed and pure).  In either case, you should select an animal that responds to you.  Do your due diligence research on the type of animal, type of breed and their activity and maintenance requirements before you adopt or buy.

Importance of Nutrition:            The proper diet is critical for your growing pet, ensuring they are on a high quality puppy or kitten diet is essential for a growing animal.   Most animals are weaned from their mothers at 4-6 weeks and started on a puppy/kitten diet.  Adult diets lack the proper calcium and phosphorus ratios for a growing animal.  Young animals should stay on the puppy diet until about 12 months of age.

It is also important that puppies and kittens have free access to water at all times.

When to feed your new pet:            Young animals, especially small breed puppies, have very limited glucose storage.  They use energy very quickly for growing and play.  It is important to feed your puppy frequently and regularly.  Three times daily is recommended for animal under 6-9 months, especially for small breed puppies.  This frequency of feeding can be decreased as the pet ages.

Vaccination Schedules:            Most “core” vaccinations are started when your puppy or kitten is 6-8 weeks old.  Vaccines are bolstered every 3 weeks until the animals are approximately 12-14 weeks.  Puppies should be vaccinated for distemper/parvo and rabies.  Kittens should be vaccinated for FVRCP and rabies.

It is recommended that puppies also be vaccinated for canine influenza and bordetella.

Please consult with your veterinarian for any additional vaccinations that may be important.

Deworming:            All young animals should be dewormed at least twice before they are 10-12 weeks of age.  Fecals test should also be run to screen for any gastrointestinal parasites

Flea Control and Heartworm Control:  Even at a young age, puppies and kittens are susceptible to fleas and heartworm.  We recommend that you start flea and heartworm preventative at 8 weeks and maintain year round.  California’s wonderful weather allows for fleas and heartworm to be present at all times of the year.  Ask your veterinarian for details on fleas and heartworm in the Silicon Valley.

Spaying/Neutering:  Spaying is to alter a female animal, and neutering refers to males.  Spaying and neutering animal is an important responsibility as a pet owner.  Not only does neutering males curb stressful, potential behavior issues, neutering and spaying reduces the risk of related cancers and other complications as your pet ages.  In addition, our shelters and rescues are full of lovable, adoptable pets just waiting for a home.