Bringing home a new puppy or kitten: an introduction to caring for young pets


By Lidja Gillmeister, DVM

Bringing home a new puppy

or kitten to your family is an exciting time. In order to prepare for a long, healthy and happy life together by providing the highest quality care, we at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital have put together some tips for new pet owners to help guide them through an animal’s critical first six months of life.

Ideally, we recommend an evaluation of a new pet within 24 to 48 hours of when he or she comes home with you. We will perform a thorough physical exam to verify that they are healthy, including a test for intestinal parasites, which are not uncommon in puppies and kittens. Our staff will also advise you about when to start regular examinations and immunizations, usually at 6 to 8 weeks of age. Until the vaccine series has been completed, typically around 16 weeks of age, it is very important to limit exposure to other pets and the environment to minimize risk of infection to potentially fatal illnesses. You will want to bring a copy of any previous records and a stool sample to your pet’s first appointment.

During our initial examination, we will check your pet for any problems concerning teeth, orthopedic conditions, heart murmur, hernias, cleft palate, or other congenital conditions. We will also discuss care and behavioral tips for your puppy or kitten. This is an ideal time to get answers to questions about preventive healthcare, litter box or housebreaking, nutrition, exercise, obedience training, and pet toys.

After the examination, our staff will give you a schedule of recommended vaccinations and treatment for internal and external parasites. As your new pet returns to us every 2 to 4 weeks, we will closely monitor their development, identify any problems early on, and ensure your puppy or kitten receives the necessary care to grow healthy and strong. We will also provide information on spaying or neutering your pet.

Welcome your new pet into the world with premier care at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital

Opening your heart and home to a new pet will certainly add a great deal of joy to your life. It also comes with new responsibilities. At

La Jolla Veterinary Hospital

, we are committed to providing a trusted source of information and advice during this exciting time. We welcome your questions and encourage you to ask us about any other concerns you may have. To schedule an appointment for your puppy or kitten, or to learn more about health care tips or

training a new pet

, contact us today: