Caring for Your Puppy or Kitten
Pets of any age can make a wonderful addition to your family, but there’s something especially rewarding about raising your new companion into a happy and healthy adult pet. That said, puppies and kittens come with a whole new level of responsibility. Most people tend to get a new puppy or kitten when they’re 8 weeks or older, meaning there is still a lot of learning and developing to do. It’s important to know what is necessary when it comes to kitten or puppy diets, play, grooming, and medications. Luckily, at Pet Drugs Online, we have everything you need to love them well from the very beginning.
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Welcoming a New Puppy or Kitten
There is nothing quite as joyous as welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your home and starting your new lives together. However, there is far more to getting a new pet than simply bringing them home and it’s important that you get all the necessary supplies and prepare your home for the new arrival!
Kitten and Puppy Checklists
A new puppy or kitten (while adorable) can be a bit of a handful, which is why it’s important that you have everything they need to feel at home before you bring them home. Here is a puppy and kitten checklist of all the essential things you’ll need to welcome your new pet into your home.
- An appropriate pet carrier — you’ll need this to bring your new puppy or kitten home as well as to take them to the vets when necessary.
- Food and water bowls — It’s a good idea to get a minimum of two bowls for food and water and more if you are planning on giving a mix of wet and dry food.
- Appropriate puppy food or kitten food — it’s always best to find out what they have previously been eating so you can transition them slowly onto a new diet.
- Bedding — You want your new puppy or kitten to be as comfortable as possible!
- Toys — Kittens and puppies are bundles of energy, and they’ll need something to keep them entertained and encourage their natural instincts to chew and chase.
If you are bringing home a kitten, then it’s also important to get a scratching post and litter tray ready too. If you’re bringing home a puppy, make sure you’ve got a collar and lead ready for when those first walks.
Make a Safe Space
Once you have all of your essentials at the ready, it’s time to find a space in your house where your new puppy or kitten can adjust. This should be a room that doesn’t have a lot of traffic during the day, so your new pet can begin adjusting to the new sights and sounds in a safe, quiet space. Set up everything your new puppy and kitten will need from the checklist here to start with (you can always move things once they’re more comfortable).
Remember, this may be the first time that your puppy or kitten has been alone without their littermates, so some separation anxiety is natural. If you are worried about separation anxiety, you can ease the transition for your new puppy or kitten with a calming aid which releases pheromones similar to those released by the animal’s mother to help soothe and calm them. If using a diffuser, this should be plugged in a week before your pet’s arrival.
As your pet begins to grow in confidence and becomes curious of their surroundings, you can begin to let them explore your home until they are fully settled in!
Register with a Vet
Bringing home your new puppy or kitten is a lifelong commitment, and that means ensuring they have all the necessary healthcare they’ll need through their lives. This is why it’s essential to register your new pet with a vet as soon as you’ve brought them home. This way, you can be ready for all the milestones to come, including vaccinations, microchipping and spaying/neutering. Your vet will also be able to give you the best possible advice when it comes to flea and worm treatments for your kitten or puppy as well as answering any unexpected questions you might have.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should You Worm Your Puppy or Kitten?
Both puppies and kittens should be wormed every two weeks until they are twelve weeks old, and then monthly until they are six months old. Once your puppy and kitten is six months old, they can start on an adult worming routine, which may be monthly or every three months, depending on the chosen wormer. Always make sure the worming treatment you are using is suitable for puppies or kittens, and if you’re not sure, speak with your vet for recommendations.
What Age Should You Get A Puppy or Kitten?
The absolute youngest a puppy or kitten should be before you take them home is 8 weeks. This is to ensure that your kitten has been properly weaned and has received all the benefits of their mother’s milk. However, many breeders will only let puppies or kittens leave between 12-14 weeks old. This ensures proper weaning and also allows proper socialisation between the new puppy or kitten and their littermates.
When Can Puppies and Kittens Eat Solid Food?
A puppy or kitten can transition to adult food as soon as they become an adult and have reached their appropriate adult weight. This can vary between breeds, with larger breeds needing more time to grow into their full size. Generally, this transition can begin anywhere between 8-12 months of age. Always speak with your vet before making any major changes to your pet’s diet.
How Many Hours a Day Should You Be with Your Puppy or Kitten?
Bringing home a puppy or kitten is a commitment, and you should be prepared to spend at least two to three hours per day with your new puppy or kitten to allow for proper socialisation and bonding. This can easily be broken into smaller, 15 minute chunks if necessary.
Puppies and kittens should not be left at home on their own for longer than four hours. Once cats are six months old, they are usually okay to be left for up to 8 hours, and, once they are fully grown, can be left for 24-48 hours so long as they have access to fresh food and water.
Even once fully grown, dogs should not be left for more than 6-8 hours without proper exercise or the chance to relieve themselves.
How Long Does a Kitten Stay a Kitten and a Puppy Stay a Puppy?
Kittens are considered being an adult cat physically once they reach 12 months of age, although they are still developmentally growing until 18 months old.
Breed plays a big role in how long a puppy is considered a puppy, with smaller breeds maturing much faster (as early as 9 months) than larger dogs (some as late as 15 months).