How To Care For Your Holiday Puppy or Kitten

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Published on: December 31, 2019

If you just brought home a new puppy for the holidays, you might be asking yourself: Is it too young to start training? It is actually a great time to start training simple concepts. “Sit” for example can be learned simply by raising a small treat above the puppy’s head while saying the word “Sit”.  Because of the size ratio of a pup’s head to it’s body, once a puppy looks up to see the treat, he will naturally fall backwards into a sitting position. Once the pup sits, reward him with the treat.

Another important aspect of caring for a new puppy, as well as kittens, is making sure to start them on heartworm prevention and flea at the appropriate age. Heartworm prevention can be started anywhere from 7 – 9 weeks of age. Heartworm disease can be deadly if untreated, and fleas are a nuisance that are difficult to get rid of. That is why it is extremely important to start your new fur baby on these preventions early on and consistently give every month for the rest of their lives. There are so many products to choose from, but it is best to check with your veterinarian concerning the best option for you and your pet.

A final word of advice would be to pick a veterinarian who will treat your new family member and begin visits at a young age. Whether you adopted a new puppy/kitten or got from a breeder, it is recommended to bring them in for their first wellness exam within a couple of weeks of first bringing them home. Most shelters and breeders will require a wellness check within days of bringing them home. It is common for young puppies and kittens to have intestinal parasites, and they will sometimes not be fully “dewormed” after only one dose. Further, the importance of immunizations at regular intervals as recommend by your veterinarian can help ensure the health and happiness of your growing puppy/kitten.

—Dr. Jason Robinson