There is nothing cuter or more adorable than a little ball of fur that smells so sweet and just wants cuddles. Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is a very exciting time, but it can also be a little bit stressful.
When you decide to get a new puppy or kitten for your family you should try to be prepared in advance. This will help make the transition as easy and stress free as possible for both you and your new little one. Remember that this is often the first time your puppy or kitten is going to be away from its mother and its brother’s and sister’s, so they are likely to be unsettled and upset.
The following is a checklist of things to consider to help you be prepared for when you bring home a new puppy or kitten.
- Before picking up your puppy or kitten make sure that you have a suitable and safe way to transport them home. The safest way is to put them in a pet carrier or cage. You could also use a cardboard box, just make sure it has air holes. It is not safe to have them just roaming around in the car as they may distract the driver. Plus if they decide to go to the toilet on the way home the smell can be very hard to get out of car upholstery.
- Take a collar or halter and lead so that you can put them on the little one if you need to stop on the way home for a toilet break.
- Make sure you have food, water and bowls ready to go when your puppy or kitten get home. It is best to try and keep the puppy or kitten on the same food that they have been eating as this reduces the likelihood of them not liking it, not eating or getting an upset tummy. If you are going to change their diet it is best to do it by introducing the new food to the old food by mixing them together and slowly reducing the amount of the old food.
- Make sure that your yard is puppy or kitten proof and safe. Remember that they like to chew things and eat plants, so make sure there is nothing toxic (check the RSPCA list of toxic plants here). Also make sure the fence is puppy proof as they like to squeeze through little holes and escape.
- Make sure that you think about where your new puppy or kitten will sleep. Crates are a good safe option with a nice cosy bed in there for them. For more information on Crate Training your puppy click here. There are also some great heated pads available, like the Snugglesafe Microwave Heat Pad, that you can put in bed with them, which are comforting for them and help keep them warm.
- Toilet training a new puppy or kitten can at times be a bit frustrating, but like toddlers they will get the hang of it. For kittens it is best if you can supply a litter tray using the same cat litter that they were already use to. As they get older you can change it but to start with it can just make things a bit easier. With both puppies and kittens you will have to teach them where they can go to the toilet and continually take them and encourage them to do their business. Be prepared for little accidents as they will most likely happen. For more advice on Toilet Training Your Puppy read our article here.
- Try and have a few toys at home for them to play with and that you can use to play with them. This will help you interact and bond with your new puppy or kitten and encourage them to play with toys, not your shoes or furniture.
- Take your new puppy or kitten to your veterinarian as soon as you can. This way your new addition can get a checkup and the vet can talk to you about any concerns or questions you may have. The vet will check that your little one is healthy, up to date with vaccinations, and discuss the best options for flea and tick prevention, heartworm and intestinal worm control. They will also be able to recommend a suitable food and discuss de-sexing. If you ever have any concerns about their health you should always contact a veterinarian.
Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is a very exciting time. There is so much fun to be had watching them play and discovering their new home. They will add new life and animation to your household, and sometimes a bit of chaos too! Remember that puppies and kittens grow into adult dogs and cats and they will still need as much love and care as they get older. For looking after them you will be rewarded with unconditional love.
Until next time,