Before you bring your pet home, it is important to set up an area where they will be safe and comfortable as they learn to live with you, and learn the rules of the house. New pets should always be quarantined for 14 days to be sure they are not incubating any contagious diseases.
- New kittens or adult cats should be confined to one room initially with easy access to a clean litter box, food and water. Kittens are instinctively very clean, prefer a sandy area to eliminate in and bury their waste, and typically will learn to use a litter box without much direction from you. After a proper quarantine, they can be slowly and safely introduced to other furry members of the household. A good first step is to put them in a carrier or crate and allow the other animals to introduce themselves while being unable to harm the newcomer. Once your kitten is using the litter box routinely, eating well and thriving, they can slowly be allowed more access to the house.
- For puppies we strongly recommend crating. A crate helps keep them safe when you are not supervising them, helps with house training, and often becomes a safe den that they may continue to use even as they get older. The crate needs to be large enough for them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably at their adult size. Some people choose to have 2 crates- a smaller one for initial use plus a larger one. Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals and you are their pack- they prefer to be with you. A second crate that is used in the bedroom at night is often very helpful until they are fully house trained. A defined sleeping space is very helpful for dogs, and a crate can eventually be replaced with a dog bed.
- Get down on the floor and pet proof! See what they can reach and possibly ingest. Cover electric cords which can be chewed on. Secure household cleaners and any other chemicals. Make sure there are no strings or ribbons your kitten cannot resist playing with- this is a commonly ingested foreign body! Pick up socks, refrain from small balls that can swallowed, throw garbage in a safely secured trash receptacle.
- We recommend all new pets be examined within 2 weeks of purchase. We want you to be aware of any health issues as soon as possible. Most purchased pets have a health guarantee that covers illness for the first 14 days, and genetic conditions according to state regulations. Puppies and kittens require a series of vaccines over a period of 4 to 8 weeks, depending on their risks. Many youngsters have intestinal parasites that require treatment.
- Discuss the rules of the house and put them in effect from day 1. Is your dog going to be allowed on the couch or bed when he is 70 pounds? If the answer is no, they can't be allowed to nap on the couch with you as a baby. Do you want them to eliminate entirely outside? Don't offer them wee wee pads inside the house, it only confuses them. Do you want them to whine or bark at you for attention? Don't ever respond to whining or barking, withdraw your attention, and instead ask them to sit for everything.
- Feed your pet on a routine daily schedule. We do not recommend free feeding for multiple reasons: it can make it significantly more difficult to house train your puppy, since their schedule will be very unpredictable. And a very high percentage of animals will over eat, causing obesity. Puppies should be fed 3 meals a day until 4-5 months old, then the total quantity can be divided into 2 meals a day. Some animals prefer to eat once a day. We recommend choosing a diet from a company that does research and feeding trials on ALL of their diets, and there are only 5 companies in the US that do so: Science Diet, Purina, Royal Canin, Iams and Eukanuba.
Most importantly, enjoy your new family member! Our goal is to assist you in keeping them happy and healthy, so they remain by your side for as many years as possible. Please call us with any questions or concerns.