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PUPPY AND KITTEN ADVICE

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Introduction to the vet

Puppy & Kitten AdviceWe offer free puppy and kitten checks which we usually carry out within the first week of arrival to make sure all is well and to check if worming and defleaing is necessary.(Please do note,however,that should an illness be identified, a consultation fee will be applied).

It is recommended to let your new addition settle at home for 5-7 days before vaccinating. In this time it is good to get your pet used to being examined- look at the teeth by pulling up the lips, look in the ears and open the eyes and practice lifting the tail. When visiting the surgery please keep your puppy on your lap and not on the floor until vaccinated and kittens secure in carriers.

We usually weigh at each visit to check growth as this is a good sign of health.

Basic puppy and kitten care

Puppies and kittens need lots of sleep, when they are awake play is important for stimulation and for social development. It will encourage confidence and improve bonding. Play for puppies can be used as part of training and it is never too early to start.

We would advise you to use the same diet as the breeder/kennels initially for the first few days and then wean onto any new diet slowly over 5-7 days. Young pups and kittens are usually best fed 3-4 times daily until 14-16 weeks then can be weaned to 2 meals at 5-6 months depending on size and breed.

Particulary for puppies, it is good to get him/her used to spending some time alone with you in and out of the house to reduce any separation anxiety. At night it is best to set a time and place for puppy to go to sleep and then not to disturb until morning even if he/she cries out. This is to establish a routine as soon as possible. The use of a puppy crate at night can speed toilet training as a puppy will usually hold on to urine/faeces until morning.

Socialising at puppy parties and exposure to different situations (eg. different people, pets, noises, traffic) is important as soon as vaccination is complete, it is important for a puppy's development and ability to cope with the world around him/her.

For kittens it is good to have plenty of toys and also a scratching post as they will need to wear the claws down. We advise to have the initial course of vaccines and to neuter at 5-6 months before letting outside.

Diet

DIets come in various forms- complete biscuit, meat (canned, frozen), mixer meal/biscuits, organic/holistic, hypoallergenic and some owners use recipes for the raw meaty bone diet. Large breed puppies and some breeds are best fed a tailored diet as their nutritional requirements differ, please ask at your visit for more information.

Grooming

Grooming and bathing is best started at an early age to allow your dog to become used to it.

Thoroughly rinse and use warm water then towel dry fully. If cold you can then use a hairdryer on low heat to fully dry.

Brush and/or comb depending on coat length and type, this is good for your pet to get used to being handled. Medium or long coated breeds may need to visit the grooming parlour.

Persian and long haired cats are particularly prone to matting so it is advised to start daily grooming at an early age so they become accustomed to it.

Tooth brushing is also important to start at an early age , a dog or cat toothpaste is needed as human toothpaste is not suitable, start with a soft toothbrush or a designed finger brush.

Housetraining

Establish a routine from day one, puppies and kittens often defaecate after eating or waking up. Watch for mooching / sniffing / circling as early signs of looking for somewhere to void. It is good to take your puppy outside as much as possible if the weather will allow and if the garden is confined as this can speed up the toilet training process. Otherwise you can train to use pads/mats that are gradually moved outside. Repetition, reward and patience is key. You can use a voice command as your puppy voids and then if successful give praise or a food reward. Puppy crates for nights and short periods of the day can also help with toilet training.

Toilet training kittens is often easier as they usually have been trained by their mother. It is best to have a few litter trays around the house in quiet areas. Some kittens and cats prefer covered litter trays and can be fussy about the type of litter used. Always aim to keep the tray as clean as possible as some cats will use alternative areas in the house if the litter tray is not clean.

Vaccinations

Puppies are vaccinated against Distemper Virus, Parvovirus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis Virus ( Canine Adenovirus type 2),Parainfluenza virus and two serotypes (strains) of Leptospirosis. These can be started at 6 weeks of age , the 2nd vaccine has to be given at 10 weeks or older, there is a 2-4 week interval between the injections. In addition to these, there is the Kennel Cough intranasal vaccine available against Bordatella bronchisptica and Parainfluenza Virus given after 12 weeks of age.

The Rabies vaccine is available for pets travelling abroad and can be given after 12 weeks of age although a better response is seen if left until puppies are older.

Kittens are vaccinated against Feline Herpes Virus, Calicivirus, Chlamydophilia felis, (part of cat flu disease), Feline panleucopaenia virus (feline enteritis)and feline leukaemia virus at 9 and 12 weeks of age. If you intend to keep your kitten indoors then a vaccine consisting of Feline panleucopaenia virus, Feline Herpes Virus and Calicivirus can be given.

Worming

We usually de-worm monthly until 6 months of age and then every 3 months.

Identification

It is a good idea to get your puppy or kitten used to wearing a collar or harness before they are due to go out. Don’t choose anything too heavy and don’t fasten too tight, you should be able to get a couple of fingers underneath. Safety collars for kittens and cats are best to prevent entrapment. By law a dog must wear an identity tag when out in public, it should show your name, phone number and ideal.

Microchipping as a permanent, non removeable way of identifying your pet is also now a legal requirement.

Neutering

Neutering can be carried out at 5-6 months of age for kittens and often we microchip at the same time. For dogs neutering can be carried out from 6 months of age. In bitches there is evidence to suggest that speying 3 months after the first season reduces the occurrence of urinary incontinence in later life and so this is the current recommendation of the practice. However, neutering can still be carried out at 6 months of age if deemed necessary.