Puppy and Kitten Care
Puppies and kittens may look like tiny versions of adult dogs and cats, but their brand-new, growing bodies need extra special care. For the youngest member of your family, the emphasis is on preventive care and establishing habits and routines to set them up for a lifetime of good health.
Wellness and Prevention
Puppies and kittens grow quickly in their first year, so they need wellness exams much more frequently than their adult counterparts. We recommend that you bring your puppy or kitten in for a comprehensive physical exam at 8, 12, 16 and 20 weeks, and again at 6 months. Each exam will include the following as recommended by the veterinarian and determined by the risk factors of your specific pet:
Our veterinarians will perform a full nose-to-tail examination at each visit, including monitoring breed-specific conditions, checking your pet’s heart and lungs, joints, and other development.
You’ll have the opportunity to discuss nutrition, behavior, microchipping, grooming and any other questions you might have about your new family member.
Current vaccine protocol requires puppies and kittens to receive a series of three boosters of a combination vaccine – DAPP/DHLPP for puppies and FVR-CP for kittens. The immunization effect is cumulative and protects your little one from communicable viruses like parvo and distemper for puppies and feline distemper and rhinovirus for kittens. This is especially important because young pets are often socializing for the first time just as antibodies from their mothers’ milk wears off. Rabies vaccine is given between 12 and 16 weeks to both puppies and kittens. We also recommend that puppies receive a Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine, particularly if they’ll be attending behavioral training.
Parasite Prevention and Treatment
Puppies and kittens often have intestinal parasites from nursing, so your pet will receive a mild dose of dewormer at each visit. We also recommend an intestinal parasite screen to detect additional parasites. A sample may be able to be collected at your visit, but it is much easier if you scoop up a bit in a plastic bag and bring it with you. Additionally, we’ll start your pet on monthly parasite preventives, including flea and tick prevention as well as protection against heartworm and intestinal parasites.
Nutrition and Environment
Puppies and kittens need a diet much higher in calories than adult dogs and cats. Our veterinarians can offer nutrition guidelines to help you choose the right food for your pet’s size, breed, and individual needs. We’ll also discuss with you healthy feeding habits and appropriate treats for training and fun.
Young pets, especially puppies, need socialization and behavior reinforcement as soon as possible to establish good behavioral patterns into adulthood. At Complete Pet Care, we offer puppy daycare to help with socialization and exercise. We are also happy to make recommendations for obedience classes and trainers as well as offer tips and tricks for healthy socializing, bite inhibition and house training/litter-training.
Spaying and Neutering
With few exceptions, we strongly recommend that you have your pet spayed (female pets) or neutered (male pets). We have rescues and shelters that are beyond capacity. Let’s be responsible pet owners and not add to the problem. There are health and behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering. In female pets, spaying removes the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers entirely and significantly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Additionally, it eliminates the risk of a serious uterine infection called pyometra. For male pets, neutering removes the risk of testicular cancer and can greatly reduce the chances of hernias and prostate problems. Behaviorally, neutering may help reduce aggression and roaming if performed early enough, and can significantly cut down on spraying by male cats. Pets should be spayed at 5 to 6 months before coming into heat or neutered within the first 12 months, unless otherwise discussed with your Complete Pet Care veterinarian.