Many of us chose the summer months to bring home a new furry friend. It’s so much easier to house-train a puppy without snow on the ground!! As we bring home these new bundles of joy, we need to keep a few things in mind. First of all, for the health of your new addition, take him or her to the veterinarian as soon as your schedule allows. Some breeders and rescues like to have your new friend checked out in 3 – 7 days after you bring them home. The veterinarian will be able to give you lots of advise on the health and well-being of your animals. In general, vaccines need to be started when your puppy or kitten is 8 weeks old, and you will need to bring them back to the vet for booster vaccines. The rabies vaccine should be given by the time they are 6 months old.
As soon as you bring home your new puppy or kitten, you should begin socializing them with your family and home. Other animals might need a few days or even weeks to get used to the new puppy or kitten, so don’t push anything. Make sure to continue to give your other pets individual attention. New puppies can meet vaccinated, healthy older dogs to begin their socialization with other animals. Try to avoid dog parks, where dogs are not necessarily vaccinated, until your puppy has had all its vaccines. Get your puppy used to being on a leash, because even if they don’t go on walks, you will have to have them leashed to go to the veterinarian among other places. Make sure to get toys for your kitten or puppy to play with, so they don’t chew up your things! Limit toys, so they don’t think they own everything. They won’t need more than a few, they can’t play with them all at the same time!
House- or litter box-training should start the day you bring your new puppy or kitten home. Your furry addition will have to use the bathroom when they wake up from a nap, eat a meal, or finish playtime. Take your new puppy outside at least every two hours until (s)he gets on schedule. Many smaller breeds may need to go outside more often. Ask your veterinarian about crate training your new puppy, as this keeps them out of trouble and helps with house-training efforts. If your kitten has not started to use the litter box by themselves, you may place them there after they eat. If they do not go, keep them confined to a small area with the box until they do. Most kittens instinctively use the box and you will have to do nothing after showing them where it is. If you have other cats, the general rule is to have one more litter box than you have cats, that way you are sure all cats can have access to a box.