Getting a new puppy or kitten is a very exciting time. However, there are lots of different things to think about, and this list of considerations can be a little overwhelming – especially if you haven’t had a puppy or kitten before. To help you make sure that you are ready for their arrival, here are our top tips for preparing for a new puppy or kitten.
Buy Everything That You Need Before They Arrive
Puppies and kittens are a lot like children. They need certain items to keep them healthy, happy and entertained. Making sure that you have everything that you need in advance of bringing them home can help you to avoid urgent last-minute trips out to buy supplies, giving you more time to spend at home settling your new fur baby in. Some of the items that you should have ready for your puppy or kitten’s arrival home include:
A bed and blankets.
Food bowl and water dish.
Collar with an identification tag.
In the case of dogs, a leash or harness.
Grooming equipment including brush and clippers.
Poop bags for your puppy.
A scratching post for your kitten: important since felines need to scratch and providing a post could save your furniture from being clawed!
A crate/gate to contain a puppy during training and when you first start leaving them home alone.
Toys to play with: puppies need something to chew on unless you want them to start destroying shoes and your furniture!
A carrier, which you will use to collect your new puppy or kitten and may need to transport them in the future.
Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Food for Your Puppy/Kitten
What your pet eats is extremely important to their health, growth, and development. Therefore, it’s essential to think carefully about the food that you provide. Most vets recommend that you continue to provide the same food that the breeder has been supplying them with as any sudden changes can upset your pet’s digestive system, so make sure that you can get hold of this. If you do want to change your new puppy or kitten onto a different feed, you will need to do this gradually. Your vet will be able to give you specific advice on the best way to change them over.
Take Out Pet Insurance
While there is no legal requirement for pets to be insured, many vets recommend that owners do take out insurance to help cover the cost of any medical treatment that their puppy or kitten may need in the future. This is because veterinary care can become expensive, especially if your pet has a serious injury or develops a long-term health problem. Make sure you do your research before you commit to a policy.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Your home may seem extremely safe to you, but this doesn’t mean that there aren’t hidden dangers for your pets. Like human babies, our pets have little concept of danger and their naturally curious noses can lead them to touch and eat things that they shouldn’t. It’s important to puppy or kitten-proof your home before you bring them indoors for the first time. Some of the things that you should consider include:
Putting locks on your cabinets.
Locking all medications and cleaning products away.
Tidying cords, cables, and other long or electrical wires.
Ensuring you don’t have any toxic houseplants in reach.
De-cluttering your space, ensuring there are no small objects around that your pet could potentially choke on.
Block gaps behind or under fixed cupboards and appliances so that your puppy or kitten can’t get stuck.
Screen off any fireplaces.
Keep toilet lids closed.
Secure your yard so that your puppy can’t escape.
Schedule a Visit to Your Vet
Shortly after you bring your new puppy or kitten home for the first time is the ideal time to schedule their first visit to your vet. Not only is this important for getting them registered, but it provides your vet with an opportunity to check the health and condition of your fur baby and give you plenty of advice about their care going forwards. They will let you know when your pet needs their next vaccinations and what parasite preventatives they require. They will also create a record of your puppy or kitten’s current health which they will use as a tool to build up a picture of your pet’s growth and development over the years. This is also an ideal time for you to ask any questions that you have so that you can ensure that you are providing your pup or kitty with the best care possible.
For more advice on how to prepare for a new puppy or kitten, contact Goose Creek Veterinary Hospital in Ashburn, VA at (571) 444-8600.