Caring for Puppies and Kittens
By Ashley Watson
Getting a new puppy or kitten is an exciting experience for the entire family. Young dogs and cats are full of energy, fun to play with, and let’s not forget, adorable. Caring for them can also teach children responsibility. It’s important to make sure you’re providing adequate care to ensure that your new pet will grow up strong and healthy.
While finding a good veterinarian is your first step in caring for a new pet, there are many things you can do to provide early preventive care for your puppy or kitten. Regular vet visits, the right food, regular grooming, and pet-proofing your home are the four basic steps to proper care for young pets.
If your puppy or kitten came from a local shelter, they probably already have all the needed shots. Regardless, you should make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. Pets need vaccinations throughout their lives, but it is very important to give puppies and kittens vaccines early on. Their immune systems are still developing, making them susceptible to many common diseases. Young pets need vaccinations every month or so until they are about six months old.
Your vet will also keep track of your new pet’s weight or any sign of illness. They will also provide tips on how to keep your pet healthy, including dental and nutritional health. Establishing a good relationship with a vet early on is a very important part of keeping track of your pet’s health as your puppy or kitten grows.
Feeding Puppies and Kittens
Just like children, puppies and kittens grow fast, and they need proper nutrition and a balanced diet as they grow. You’ll need to make sure they get enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to ensure that they maintain a normal weight and have the nutrients they need for mental and physical health.
Adult pets don’t need as much fat and calories as puppies and kittens, so make sure you give them a food that is formulated for the right age. Wet food is preferable, especially for kittens, but you may need a combination of wet and dry to ensure that they are getting what they need for their growth and development.
You can also find supplements that provide extra support. At Pet Naturals® of Vermont , we are very excited about our new Daily Best Kitten and Daily Best Puppy as part of our full lineup of daily multi-vitamin supplements for dogs and cats. Daily Best Kitten and Puppy each provide vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other nutrients needed to support healthy, growing kittens and puppies for up to one year. These soft chews are made with a tasty chicken liver flavor that pets love.
Grooming is especially important for young pets since they are still learning how to groom themselves. Providing a positive grooming experience will encourage healthy grooming habits as they get older. Cats bathe themselves, and brushing your kitten will prevent hairballs and reduce cat hair inside your home. Puppies need regular baths, along with routine dental cleanings. Don’t forget their nails. Trimming their nails and claws is also an important part of grooming, but pets are a little more sensitive to this task. Ask your vet for ways to maintain good hygiene.
Pet-Proofing Your Home
Before you bring your pet home, you should ensure that it is safe for a young and curious puppy or kitten. Use baby gates at the top of stairways or to block off rooms where you want to keep your puppy safe. Make sure that anything toxic to animals is out of their reach. If there are hazards outside your home, keep your puppy in an enclosed area or on a leash when you take him out.
Pets will chew on almost anything, including electric cords, children’s toys, furniture, and any small objects left lying around. These are choking hazards, so make sure that your pet doesn’t have access to them. You can also try safe sprays that have a bitter taste to keep your pet from chewing on foreign objects. Remember to teach your children how to safely handle pets to avoid injuring the animal.