New Puppy and Kitten Care

Few things can match the energy of a new puppy or kitten, except for possibly the number of questions going through the new owner's mind, 

  • How long will potty training take?
  • When, how much and what should I feed them?
  • Which shots do they need, and when?
  • What do I need to do to keep them happy and safe

All of these are important questions you will need to discover the answers to as soon as possible once your new puppy or kitten is in your home. If you have raised puppies or kittens before, you have a bit of an advantage, but not as much as you might think since every new pet is a little different than the last.

new puppy and kitten care from our watertown veterinarian

Tackling Potty Training

House training is usually a top priority for most new pet owners, Most kittens are relatively easy to train. Make sure they have a litter box that they can easily access and feel safe while they do their business. They will instinctively go there and bury their waste. Make sure to clean out their box often so they continue to prefer it to other places in your home.

Potty training a new puppy is more challenging, but the process should begin as soon as possible once they are in your home. Depending on the size of your puppy and living situation, you may choose for them to go outside consistently or use an indoor area line with puppy pads as their place to go. If you do plan an indoor area, make sure it is in a consistent place that is accessible rather than scattering pads around your home. 

Many puppies are successfully trained through crate training, but owners need to keep in mind how long a puppy is able to "hold it" based on their development. A general rule of thumb is that puppies should be taken outside or to their designated spot at minimum one hour plus their age in months. A three-month-old puppy should not be crated more than four hours before they are brought out to go. If a puppy is outside of the crate playing, they should be supervised and brought outside or to their spot at the first sign of sniffing or circling as if they might want to go. A consistent method will help both you and your puppy properly communicate when it comes to potty matters.

Feeding Guidelines for Puppies and Kittens

Puppies and kittens should be food that meets their nutritional needs and allows for their optimal growth and development. Most food bags include feeding directions on how much to feed your pet based on their weight, Keep in mind that too many commercially prepared treats or table scraps will add extra calories to your pet's diet, and many human foods may be bad for your dog, even if it is good for you. Some dogs and cats are sensitive to ingredients even in pet food, so watch the consistency or their bathroom habits, energy level, or tendency to vomit to determine whether a specialized diet is necessary.

Getting Shots and Early Vet Exams

One of the first indications that a new puppy or kitten needs care beyond what you can provide as an owner comes when it is time for them to get their shots, however the need for vet care, but it is important to remember that their needs go beyond shots, even if they are seemingly healthy. At  Watertown Animal Hospital we see our youngest patients more frequently than dogs and cats that are a bit older. Vet exams can help you stay ahead of any health problems that are common, such as parasites or kennel cough, and will give you the opportunity to discuss nutritional needs or any behavioral concerns. Puppy and kittenhood is also a perfect time to consider microchipping, as that first month can easily bring on your new pet's inner escape artist.

Call Our Watertown Veterinarian Today to Learn More!

Puppies and kittens are fun to play with, and they certainly need plenty of exercise in order to thrive, but it is also important to respect their rest times, as puppies and kittens will spend 16-20 hours a day or more getting their beauty sleep and growing.  To learn more about your new pet or to schedule a checkup, contact us at Watertown Animal Hospital in Watertown, CT at 860-274-2212.


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  • "The staff is wonderful. We brought Otis, a very large 4 yr old Rottie there for an ACL/miniscus surgery. Everything was successful. We just brought him for his final follow up and all is good. This big guy has no manners and no sense of personal space except for his own space, but he loves the receptionists and vet techs there, and they love him. Nothing but good things to say about Watertown Veterinary Hospital."
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