This brings us on to the topic of substances around the household and neighbourhood that can be harmful to pets. A few years ago we lost two beautiful cat patients to poisoning, you will see them at the start of the article: Pet poisoning >>
5. PUPPIES & KITTEN CHECKLIST
Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping well & enjoying the long summer evenings. There has been a pandemic of cuteness at Sandymount Pet Hospital with the arrival of many new baby puppies and kittens! I thought I would put a quick check list together:
1) Vet check and vaccination: It is always best to take a new arrival to the vets within 1-3 days. The reason for this is to plan the immunity program. Some breeders advertise their animals as vaccinated but this is not a full course and a full core vaccine program is needed taking at least two weeks to complete. Time can be lost here by waiting and we want to get your puppy safe to go out and about as soon as possible. They should not be on walks in public places until vaccination is complete.
2) Worming: This will be done every two weeks to 14 weeks of age and monthly thereafter. Puppies and kittens are often born with a burden of roundworm Passed through their Mother’s milk, they can be very serious for the animal but also for children, you might have heard of the threat of blindness to children in some cases. Good hand hygiene and regular working keeps the risk of this at bay. Remember, even if there aren’t children in your household, your dog/cat will pass poop in a public place so regular worming is an important public health concern.
3) Nutrition: Weaning from milks to solids and moving to a new home can often cause dietary stress and occasional loose faeces for a few days. Always communicate this to the vet so they can assess if it is just nutritional stress or an infection requiring further attention. Abrupt diet changes are best avoided as the gut needs time to adapt. If you can adjust slowly from what they have been eating to what you intend to go forward with. There is lots to consider here, the main thing is that you will feed a paediatric food be it puppy or kitten for the first year. Dry food is better for dental health than wet food as it sticks to the teeth. Commercial pet foods will be balanced so don’t over supplement them. A little boredom may set in after a few weeks and often requires a little preservation to continue but don’t give up, your pet will have better teeth in the long run and we would recommend brushing of adult teeth from 6 months onwards! We will do dental advice in a future segment. People often ask how much to feed, this depends on the age and weight of the pet and the type of food so we can’t issue a set gram amount without those details. Pups and kittens between 8-12 weeks will generally require 4 daily meals reducing gradually to three between 12-16 weeks and between 5/6 months they will manage well with morning and evening feeds.
4)Training : Simple commands can be achieved with lots of praise and a little food reward for puppies. Get your pet to come to his/her name and to sit for you. A crate can be a useful safe haven for a puppy in a busy household and can make it easier to establish routine for them. Remember they won’t be able to hold their bladder all night before 10 weeks, after that routine will help establish toilet training. Kittens have an instinct to dig and bury their waste so need little toilet training!
5) Pet insurance: It is really worth considering pet insurance for cases of injury or illness that come unexpectedly. The policy needs to be taken out before an illness occurs. They will have an excess and that is per condition so it is important to know about your cover. We would say insure your youngster at the very least for the first year because if something establishes within the year the insurance company won’t cover that condition. Young animals often eat objects that can get lodged in the intestines requiring major surgery! Their youth often puts them at greater risk of running off into traffic and getting orthopedic injuries again requiring major surgery. So all in all do make sure to pick up a policy with your pup.
6) Microchip and license: You will require both by law for dogs but we do recommend microchips for identification of cats as they like to roam! Remember to get your chip registered to the database so you can be phoned if they roam, the chips are not currently GPS enabled, they require your pet to be scanned, usually by a vet and then you are phoned so an id collar with your number is a good idea too.
7) Neutering: Neutering is an important population control measure and it can often help make a companion animal more manageable from a behaviour point of view though it is not a cure for all behaviours, training is your most important tool for that. Female will have a reduction in mammary cancers and womb infections while males will suffer less with prostate and testicular issues as they age if they are neutered young. Timing is generally around 6 months for smaller dogs and cats but 1 year to 14 months for larger and giant breed dogs.
Next week we will discuss older pet wellness. I hope that everyone stays safe and gets out for lots of nice walks.