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Kittens cuddlingOpening your home and heart to a new puppy or kitten is a time filled with excitement, trepidation, worry, and joy. Those first weeks can feel like a blur as your family gets used to the new pet, and vice versa.

Having a new pet is a big job and a huge commitment, but the rewards of responsible pet ownership far outweigh the work involved. Your team at Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital is here for you every step of the way as you navigate the waters of new pet care!

Before Your Pet Comes Home

Having a plan in place before your new pet arrives can make the transition much smoother for everyone:

  • Gather supplies – Prepare the pet care items you will need in advance, such as food (call us for recommendations), a bed, crate, litter box, litter or waste bags, a collar, leash, and toys.
  • Establish rules – Make sure everyone in the home understands what his or her responsibilities will be regarding the new pet, including exercising, housetraining, feeding, and other important duties.
  • Pet-proof – Puppies and kittens are similar to toddlers…they get into everything! Make sure that cleaning supplies, medications, and food items are kept where your pet can’t reach them.  Keep trash cans covered and toilets and cupboards closed. Pick up any small items your pet could swallow or choke on.

New Pet Care 101

Plan to bring your puppy or kitten in for a wellness exam within a few days of his or her arrival in your home. The first wellness exam is your opportunity to go over the essentials with your veterinarian, including:

  • A physical examination
  • Setting up a vaccination plan
  • Options for parasite control and prevention
  • How/when your new pet should be spayed or neutered
  • Nutrition
  • Housetraining
  • Signs of illness to watch for during your pet’s first few months

A Word About Socialization

The importance of properly socializing your pet cannot be understated. A well socialized pet is more confident, happier, and poses less of a risk to him or herself and to others.

Pet socialization is essentially the process of integrating your pet with your family and learning to live comfortably in human society. The ideal age for socializing a pet is between 3 and 9 weeks for kittens and 3 and 14 weeks for puppies. Every pet is different, however, and successful socialization is possible, even for much older pets.

Some of your pet’s socialization will occur naturally as you go through daily life together, but it’s important to try and expose him or her to a variety of people, places, animals, noises, and smells as often as possible. Be sure to offer lots of praise throughout the process, and give your pet a break if he or she seems stressed or overwhelmed.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your questions and concerns regarding new pet care. We can’t wait to meet the newest addition to your family!