Puppies and Kittens

Puppies and Kittens Photo

“A house is not a home without a pet.”
Anonymous

Baby animals are delightful, but they need special care and attention. At Continental, we strive to inform the new owner as we care for the young pet, helping you both to feel happy and comfortable in your new relationship.

If you are thinking about bringing a new puppy or kitten to your home, or if you already have one, you probably have questions about their care. Browse the information below for our general guidelines for puppy and kitten care. As you think of additional questions, write them down and keep them with your pet’s medical records, to bring along to your visit. Schedule an appointment for the newest member of your household today.

Puppies

First Check-Up: As soon as your puppy joins your household, schedule the first visit to the doctor. Bring any available vaccination and medical records, adoption records if you have them, and a stool sample to this visit, so the doctor can check for internal parasites. You can expect us to give your new pet a physical exam, and don’t forget to bring your list of questions—we are your partners in the health and well-being of this new pet, and we are here to help.

Special note to first-time breeders: when you bring your pregnant dog to us for a prenatal exam, we’ll explain what you need to know about puppy care during these critical early days immediately after birth.

Vaccinations: Mother’s milk offers pups some protection from disease, but that only lasts a few weeks. Once they are weaned from their mother, puppies should be given vaccines to protect them from disease. The “puppy series” gradually builds immunity during the first few months, usually beginning with the first medical exam at around 6 - 8 weeks.

“Puppy Series” vaccines may include:

  • DHPP (Distemper/Hepatitis/Parainfluenza/Parvovirus) vaccine given at 6 weeks, at least three doses
  • Rabies given at 14 – 16 weeks
  • Leptospirosis given after 12 weeks if puppy has high exposure to livestock

Please consult our Vaccinations page for more information on vaccines.

Food: Good quality puppy food is important, and some breeders may advise specific brands. Your new puppy may have come with a starter bag of puppy food, or you might have gone to the store and asked for help. If you aren’t sure, please call our office for a recommendation, even before your initial appointment. Never give a young puppy table food and always keep lots of fresh clean water available.

Spaying / Neutering: Unless you intend to breed your dog, we recommend spaying or neutering your puppy at around six months of age. An altered pet lives longer, and generally has fewer medical problems and a better temperament if this is done at an early age. Many unwanted puppies are euthanized every year, and responsible pet owners do not contribute to this pet over-population problem.

Puppies need regular exams, vaccinations and parasite prevention, socialization, behavioral training, and a safe comfortable environment in which to live. At Continental, we help you create such an environment. We enjoy meeting every new puppy and we hope to make your experience together a rich and rewarding one.

Kittens

First Check-Up: As soon as your kitten joins your household, schedule the first visit to the doctor. Bring any available vaccination and medical records, adoption records if you have them, and a stool sample so the doctor can check for internal parasites. You can expect us to give your kitten a physical exam, and don’t forget to bring your list of questions—we are your partners in the health and well-being of this new pet, and we are here to help.

Vaccinations: Mother’s milk offers kittens some protection from disease, but that only lasts a few weeks. Once they are weaned from their mother, kittens should be given vaccines to protect them from disease. The “kitten series” gradually builds immunity during the first few months, usually beginning with the first medical exam at around 6 weeks.

“Kitten Series” vaccines may include:

  • FVRCP (Feline Distemper) given at 6 weeks, at least three doses
  • Rabies given at 14 – 16 weeks
  • FeLv (Feline Leukemia) given at 8 and 12 weeks, if kitten goes outside

Please consult our Vaccinations page for more information on vaccines.

Food: Good quality kitten food is important, and many veterinarians recommend limiting dry food in favor of canned or moist cat food. Never give your kitten table food as it can cause intestinal problems and remember to keep fresh, clean water available at all times. Call our office for recommendations in feeding your new kitten.

Spaying / Neutering: We recommend spaying or neutering your kitten at around six months of age. An altered pet lives longer, and generally has fewer medical problems and a better temperament if this is done at an early age. Many unwanted kittens and adult cats are euthanized every year, and responsible pet owners do not contribute to this pet over-population problem.

Puppies and Kittens: Some Things to Avoid with your New Pet

  • Never use over-the-counter parasite control for your puppy or kitten—it is often toxic. We will put together a parasite control plan with you at their first check-up.
  • Never transport your pet without an appropriate pet carrier or leave a young pet alone in a vehicle.
  • Never feed your puppy or kitten “human treats” without talking to the doctor first. Some examples of toxic foods: chocolate can cause an increased or irregular heart rate, grapes and raisins can cause kidney damage and failure, and onions and beets can cause anemia.
  • Never give your puppy or kitten over-the-counter medications: acetaminophen (Tylenol) is deadly to cats and extremely toxic to dogs, and all NSAIDs are toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Never allow your pet to eat grasses or plants until you know if they are safe. Young pets love to chew and many plants are toxic, especially Lilies, Rhododendron, and Azalea.

The information on this page is only a start—bring your questions and concerns with you to your appointments. We partner with you to create a health and wellness plan unique to your pet’s needs and lifestyle.