Background white curve

Getting Them Off to the Right Start

Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Remember, you can never ask too many questions when it comes to raising a puppy or kitten, so don’t hesitate to ask our team for help or guidance along the way.

A Comprehensive Plan

All puppies and kittens require multiple trips to your veterinarian to ensure healthy growth and development. The following is a care schedule that is typical for most young pets, but our team will always check to make sure specific needs are being met.

Puppy Visiting the Vet

Kitten Schedule

8 Weeks

  • FVRCP #1 (feline viral rhinotracheitis/calicivirus/panleukopenia)
  • Feline leukemia vaccine (FeLV) #1 (non-core vaccine)
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Feline leukemia/Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) testing
  • Begin parasite prevention protocol
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Litter box training

12 weeks

  • FVRCP #2
  • Feline leukemia vaccine #2
  • Stool exam and deworming

16 weeks

  • FVRCP#3
  • Rabies vaccine

6 months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping
  • FeLV/FIV testing

Kitten Behaviors

7-14 Weeks

Provide an outlet (such as a cat tree) for your kitten’s natural scratching behavior. If you notice a preference for a specific texture or orientation (horizontal or vertical), get scratching posts that mimic this.

Purchase a high-quality kitten food, such as Purina Pro Plan, and follow the serving guidelines on the product.

Position a litter box or two in easily accessible areas. We recommend a minimum of one box per cat per floor. Scoop daily and clean weekly (or as needed) to ensure appropriate elimination behavior.

3-6 Months

Regular play times are important for the growth of your kitten and in developing your bond. Avoid rough play as this will encourage inappropriate nipping/scratching.

Schedule your kitten’s spay or neuter surgery. This important procedure should occur by the time your pet is 6 months old.

Puppy Schedule

8 weeks

  • DHLPP #1 (distemper/hepatitis/leptospirosis/parainfluenza/parvo virus)
  • Bordetella vaccine, if needed
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Begin heartworm prevention
  • Begin parasite prevention
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Behavioral training

12 Weeks

  • DHLPP #2
  • Dental assessment
  • Optional Lyme vaccine #1 (non-core)

16 Weeks

  • DHLPP #3
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Optional Lyme vaccine #2 (non-core)

6 Months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping

Puppy Behaviors

8-12 Weeks

Puppies this age are very playful and curious, so it’s important to puppy-proof your home. Your puppy may whine and cry the first few nights, and this is a normal response to a major life change. Support your new pet with love, toys, and encouragement. Create a routine and stick to it. Security and predictability are crucial.

Purchase a high-quality puppy food, such as Purina Pro Plan, that lists a whole meat source as the first ingredient. Follow the serving guidelines.

Everything your puppy encounters will have a lasting impact, so remember this when determining house rules. We recommend a “puppy class” for controlled socialization with other friendly puppies and their owners. In general, take things slowly and keep experiences positive.

12-16 Weeks

This period is when your pup discovers where he falls in his pack (your family). Your role is to become the pack leader. Be consistent with rules and avoid dominance games such as tug-of-war or wrestling.

Reward all positive behaviors.

Consider starting a puppy obedience class.

5-18 Months

Many of the behavior issues encountered during this time (urine marking, roaming, inter-species aggression, increased dominance) are reduced or eliminated with spay or neuter surgery.

Energy levels are high and exercise, both mental and physical, plays a large role in keeping your pet happy, healthy, and well-behaved.

Microchipping

Microchipping your new puppy or kitten is critical to their safety. Please visit our page on Wellness & Preventive Care for more information about this important practice.

Kitten Visiting the Vet

On the Web

Visit the official American Veterinary Medical Association YouTube Channel for many helpful videos regarding pet care.

The American Animal Hospital Association Pet Health Library offers a range of information about raising pets:

Enjoy these informational slideshows from the Pet Health Center at WebMD:

Footer White Curve