Starting Off on the Right Paw: Good Care for Young Pets

BeverlyHills_iStock_000017597796_LargeWhen you bring home a new puppy or kitten (or any young pet), you are starting off with a blank slate. While it may seem that young healthy pets tend to be low maintenance from a health care standpoint, there are some finer points in the care for young pets that can make a real difference.

Keep reading to be sure that you get your furry family friend off to a great start.

Timeline of Care for Young Pets

Once you welcome a new pet of any age into your home, it is best to schedule a visit with us within a day or two.

Your initial visit allows us to meet and examine your new pet, identify any potential problems, answer your questions and concerns, and make recommendations specific to your new family member.

The first year of your pet’s life will include several veterinary visits:

  • New pet visit (usually within 24-48 hours of coming home)
  • Vaccination series, as recommended (starting around six weeks of age and finishing about five months for most pets)
  • Wellness checkups (twice yearly)
  • Spay or neuter appointment (typically at or around six months)

A Word on Vaccinations

Properly vaccinating  your pet is one of the most important things that you can do to help keep him or her healthy and safe. That being said, not all vaccines are recommended for all pets. We take into account your pet’s individual risk factors and needs in order to develop a vaccination protocol which makes sense for her or her health and lifestyle.

Puppies and kittens, as well as pets who have never been vaccinated before, need to undergo a series of vaccinations in order to ensure a strong immunity to serious diseases. A vaccine series ensures that all pets are protected as early as possible and that they have developed their own immunity when the maternal antibodies are gone.

Preventative Care

An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure (and then some!). When it comes to good care for young pets, preventative care is key. We will help you to develop a preventative care plan for your new pet that includes:

Screening tests – Based on your pet’s history and risk factors, we will often recommend testing for diseases or problems that may be present. This allows us to treat your pet early and keep him or her healthy. Such tests might include a fecal parasite examination or testing for infectious diseases such as heartworms or feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Parasite prevention – Heartworm, flea, tick, and intestinal parasite prevention is an essential part of proper pet care. We can help recommend specific product and protocols that will most benefit your new pet.

Spaying or neuteringSpaying or neutering your new pet not only decreases unwanted litters but can also reduce the risk of some behavioral issues. Likewise, spayed or neutered pets are also at lower risk of certain types of cancer, some prostate problems, and uterine infections.

If you are caring for a young pet, it is important to take the responsibility seriously. The steps you take early on can be key to having a happy, loving friend for a long time to come. We recognize that each pet is an individual and are happy to help you develop a plan to care for your special pet.