A New Pet! Now What…?

iStock_000060542506_LargeCongratulations on welcoming home your new pet! Now that your furry family member is a reality, you probably have a few questions. Read on to be sure that you get your new pet off to a great start.

What to Feed Your New Pet

As you wander the aisles of your local pet store, the choices can be simply overwhelming. How on Earth are you supposed to pick what type and brand of food to feed your new pet? To help whittle down the options, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is your pet eating now? – You may wish to continue the same diet if it is accessible, affordable, and appropriate.
  • Do I need a special formula? – You will want to pick a food targeted for your pet’s age (puppy or adult?), size (large breed or small?), and any special medical needs (for instance there are diets for hairballs, urinary issues, or weight control).
  • Do I have a budget or other restrictions? – You don’t need to feed the most expensive food to meet your pet’s nutritional needs. Determine your budget and where you would like to purchase the food (grocery store, vet’s office, pet supply store) and peruse your options there.
  • Is my choice a good quality diet? – Any diet that you chose should bear and AAFCO statement and be deemed complete and balanced for feeding as a main diet. Look for meat to be near the top of the ingredient list and try to avoid added coloring. Don’t forget that words like “holistic” bear no legal meaning.

If you need guidance or recommendations specific to your new pet, we are always happy to help. Don’t forget that if you change your pet’s diet, you should do so slowly over the course of a week or so to prevent digestive upset.

What Vaccinations Does Your Pet Need?

Some pets come straight from the shelter fully vaccinated, while others may still need a round or two of vaccinations. This can be difficult to determine.

We recommend that all pets, young and old, come to visit us in the first week or so that they are with you. This way we can review what vaccines and other care your pet has already received and advise you as to what he or she still needs, such as a spay or neuter surgery.

This is an important opportunity for us to get to know your new family member, examine him or her for signs of any problems, and make other care recommendations such as parasite prevention. It is also a great time for us to address all of your questions.

How to Socialize Your New Pet

New pets, especially puppies and kittens, are often in need of learning experiences to acclimate them to the world around them. It is important to provide them with experiences to teach them that the world is generally a good place. Pets who are well socialized tend to be much more enjoyable pets. Puppies and kittens are most open to socialization between 3 and 12 weeks of age.

In order to socialize your pet consider:

  • Enrolling him or her in puppy or kitten classes
  • Introduce him and her to children, loud noises, other pets, and other potentially intimidating experiences in a safe, controlled manner
  • Provide lots of praise and positive reinforcement
  • Provide your adult pet with socialization experiences as well

When taking your new pet out in public, keep in mind that he or she is probably not fully vaccinated and use some caution.

Bringing home a new pet is an enjoyable but sometimes overwhelming experience. Keep in mind that we are always here to hold your hand through welcoming your new pet home. Please call us with any questions or concerns.

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