Puppies and kittens need plenty of care and attention in their first year of life. To help them grow up physically and mentally healthy, it’s important for them to see their veterinarian for three initial exams roughly three to four weeks apart. During these exams, we monitor your pet’s development and provide services including vaccinations and parasite preventative to increase their resistance to various illnesses.
First Exams & Vaccinations
Your puppy’s or kitten’s first exam is our opportunity for establishing their care and building a plan for maintaining their health well into the future. Bringing your new pet to the vet shortly after adoption also gives them the chance to meet new people and experience new sights, sounds, and smells.
The first exam typically happens when your puppy or kitten is about eight weeks old. This initial appointment tends to run longer than the average visit, as we cover lots of ground to answer your questions, establish a care plan for your pet, and administer the necessary treatments to keep them healthy as they grow into adulthood.
Below are the vaccines and treatments we generally provide at the very first visit.
The second exam, or recheck exam, is usually scheduled three to four weeks out from the first, when your puppy or kitten is around 12 weeks old.
Services typically provided at exam two include:
The third exam visit usually takes place when your puppy or kitten is around 16 weeks old. During this visit, your veterinarian will want to finalize your pet’s immunizations and discuss spaying/neutering and other steps to improve your pet’s health into adulthood.
Services provided at the third exam typically include:
Spaying & Neutering
Clarion Animal Hospital recommends spaying and neutering to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce risks for reproductive cancers and infections. Click below for more information about these procedures, and why they’re beneficial to dogs and cats.
HOW DO I SET A TRAINING SCHEDULE?
- First thing in the morning and last thing at night
- After spending time in a crate/upon waking up from a nap
- After eating/drinking
- Time between restroom breaks should not exceed 2-4 hours
HOW DO I CRATE TRAIN MY PUPPY?
- Dogs like clean living spaces and are less likely to have accidents
- Place your pet’s crate near an exterior door for quick relief
- The crate should be big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lay down in
WHEN SHOULD I REINFORCE GOOD BEHAVIOR?
- Don’t scold your puppy for having an accident
- Praise them for doing the right thing
- Reward them with treats, pats, and attention
Promoting Positive Puppy Behaviors
WHAT CAN MY PUPPY CHEW ON?
- Chewing is a calming mechanism for puppies and can keep them from chewing on furniture and other household items
- Keep chewing toys around the house for your pet; when they start to chew on toys instead of household objects, reward them with pats and a treat
HOW DO I STOP MY PUPPY FROM BARKING?
- Scolding your puppy when they bark can make it worse; instead, ignore the barking and praise your puppy when they’re quiet
- Training your puppy to sit helps them fight the impulse to bark
HOW DO I STOP MY PUPPY FROM BEGGING AT THE TABLE?
- Feed your puppy before you eat
- Create a cozy place near the table where your puppy can relax and be comfortable
- Praise your puppy with treats when they behave themselves
Feeding Your Puppy
HOW OFTEN DO I FEED MY PUPPY?
- 6-12 weeks: 4x a day
- 3-6 months: 3x a day
- 6-12 months: 2x a day
- After a year: 2 half portions a day
WHAT FOOD SHOULD I FEED MY PUPPY?
- Look for and review AAFCO guidelines to gauge nutritional content and safety
- Look for age-appropriate, health-specific formulas
- Ask your veterinarian for recommendations
WHAT ARE HARMFUL FOODS FOR PUPPIES?
Dairy, chocolate, grapes/raisins, sugary foods, snacks, desserts, fatty foods, and garlic/onions can all be harmful to your puppy.
WHAT SHOULD I BUY FOR A KITTEN?
- Scratching pads and posts to protect your furniture
- Litter boxes, cat carriers, food and water bowls, and toys
- Stain and odor remover in case of accidents
WHAT SHOULD I MOVE OUT OF THE WAY?
- Toxic plants
- Cleaners and sprays
- Any dog food that might be in the house, including dog food
HOW CAN MY CAT BE COMFORTABLE?
- Get them a soft bed and blanket
- Make sure they have a small, cozy space for curling up
- Invest in grooming supplies, including a brush and nail clippers
- Try pheromone products to help your kitten feel more calm
Playing with Your Kitten
HOW DO I PLAY SAFELY WITH MY KITTEN?
- Use balls, jingles, anything on a string, and cotton chew toys
- Avoid “play” with your hands to avoid encouraging your cat to see your hands as toys and causing injury
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING WITH YOUR KITTEN?
- It strengthens your bond with your kitten
- Play allows your kitten to release energy that could otherwise lead to damage
- It builds trust and comfort for your kitten in their new home
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I PLAY WITH MY KITTEN?
- At least 20+ minutes of play per day
- Set aside at least two times a day for play, preferably early in the morning and in the evening
Feeding Your Kitten
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FEED MY KITTEN?
- Dry food only: leave available at all times
- Wet food only: feed at least four times a day
- Combo: feed wet food twice a day and leave dry food available
WHAT SHOULD I FEED MY KITTEN?
- Check for AAFCO guidelines for nutritional information and safety
- Look for age- and health-specific kitten formulas
- Ask your vet for tailored recommendations
WHAT ARE HARMFUL FOODS FOR KITTENS?
Raw meats, eggs, raw fish, grapes/raisins, chocolate, and dairy can all be harmful to kittens.