Your pet’s health is of utmost importance. Below is our guide to caring for your brand new puppy or kitten

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Puppy Health Guide

Puppy Health Guide

Preparing for your new puppy
Preparing for the addition of a cute and cuddly puppy to your family will help you quickly put your new pup at ease. Puppies require a lot of time, patience and training, but you will ultimately be rewarded with a well-behaved dog that loves you unconditionally.

Follow the tips below to help you prepare for your precious new pooch.

  • Find out what your puppy is feeding on and continue on this diet before gradually changing it if you wish
  • Feed your puppy a premium food free of artificial additives that may cause health problems in the long run
  • Choose a good quality treat that you can use to reward your pup for good behaviour
  • Help your puppy feel at home with soft bedding, a warm blanket and heavy food and water bowls that are difficult to knock over
  • Provide your pup with toys to play with to develop its skills and enrich its play time. Chew toys are great to help with teething and prevent your new pup from chewing your shoes!
Establishing your puppy’s routine

Puppies prefer routine so it can be useful to establish feeding, play time, toilet and sleep time routines from the time you first bring your puppy home. The following points will help you to establish healthy routines for your new pup:

  • Feed your puppy three to four meals a day until it is six months of age, at which point you can reduce it to two meals a day
  • Create a little safe haven for your puppy to rest and sleep in when it tires
  • Choose a spot where you want your pup to go to the toilet and give it time to get used to this area. Take your puppy to this toileting area regularly and praise it for going in the right spot
  • Watch out for any signs of your pup needing to go, such as sniffing and circling inside the house. Puppies usually need to go to the toilet after every feeding, playtime and naptime.
Keeping your puppy healthy
Vaccinations

One of the most important things you can do to protect the health of your furry friend is to ensure it is vaccinated. Vaccinations will protect your puppy against diseases such as distemper, parvovirus and hepatitis. Pups should receive two injections between 8 and 12 weeks of age. After these initial puppy injections, speak to your vet for specific advice on when to bring your growing dog in for ongoing vaccinations.

Worming and Flea Treatment

Every puppy carries worms that are passed on from their mother, with roundworms being the main problem in young pups. Ensure your puppy is wormed with a good quality wormer every fortnight until it is 12 weeks old.

Your pup should then be wormed monthly until they are six months of age, and once every three months thereafter.It is just as important to remember to treat your pup for fleas. Not only can fleas affect the health and wellbeing of your puppy, they can take over your home too.

Flea treatments can be administered in a variety of ways and your vet can advise you on the most suitable product for your pooch.

Desexing

Desexing is important to not only prevent unwanted litters, but also to prevent undesirable behaviours in male dogs. Dogs should be desexed by the age of five to six months.

Desexing also has some health benefits for dogs, including preventing worm infections and mammary disease in female dogs later in life.

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Kitten Health Guide

Image: Small  kitten lying on the bed

Preparing for your new kitten

Being prepared for your new kitten before you bring it home will allow you to concentrate on giving the new arrival the love and encouragement it needs to settle in comfortably. Following the steps below will help you to welcome your kitten to a safe and healthy environment.

  • Choose a spot where you want your kitten to sleep and place a box, cane basket or soft bed here. Cats get used to routine, so ensure you place your kitten’s bed where you plan for it to stay as it gets older
  • Position your kitten’s litter tray in a discreet corner of the room. Place the food bowl in the opposite direction and the water away from both, as cats dislike drinking next to food
  • A cat scratching post is an absolute essential for a new kitten, but you should also provide toys for it to play with to help develop its skills
  • Ensure your home is ‘kitten proof’ by removing dangers to the kitten from around the home, such as chemicals and detergents, exposed electrical cords and small spaces where your kitten could get stuck.

When you bring your new kitten home, remember it is normal for kittens to feel timid and scared in their new surroundings. If your kitten is feeling shy and insecure, do not try to coax it out of its hiding place. Be patient and let your kitten get to know you and your family members at its own pace.

Feeding Your Kitten
Your kitten is totally dependent on you for their health and nutritional needs. To ensure your kitten grows into a strong, healthy cat you should feed it a premium food that consists of at least 26% protein. While wet or dry food it is fine, it is best to feed your kitten a combination of the two. The following foods should always be avoided to prevent your kitten from becoming ill or developing health problems later in life:

  • Raw fish
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Bones
  • Spicy food
  • Liver
  • Dairy products
  • Chocolate
  • Onions, tomatoes and mushrooms
  • Avocado
Keeping your kitten healthy
Vaccinations

Ensure your kitten is up-to-date with its vaccinations to help it stay happy and healthy. Vaccinations can help to protect kittens against three very serious diseases – cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukaemia virus. Kittens should receive two injections when they are aged between nine and 13 weeks. A third injection is typically offered as an optional extra for a kitten to develop maximum immunity.

Worming and Flea Treatment

Every kitten carries worms that are passed on to them from their mother. You should ensure your kitten is wormed fortnightly with a good quality wormer until it is 12 weeks of age. It should then be wormed monthly until it is six months old, and once every three months thereafter.

Fleas are another pesky problem to look out for. Fleas may be tiny but they can cause big problems for kittens, which is why it is vitally important to treat your kitten for them. Flea treatments can be administered in a variety of ways, including sprays and spot-on liquid.

Your vet can advise you of the most suitable product for your kitten.

Desexing

Desexing is important to prevent unwanted litters and to help avoid undesirable behaviours in male cats. Kittens should be desexed by the time they are five to six months old.

Desexing can also have health benefits for your cat, including preventing womb infections and mammary disease in female cats later in life.

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