We are now into the time of year when many families are considering adding a new furry friend to the home. Since dogs and cats are the most popular household pets, I will confine my remarks to the care of these two species. The decision to add a pet is sometimes well planned but often, the opportunity just presents itself. In my own experience, only twice did we actively seek to add a pet to our home, but mostly the opportunity just happened and we added them to our menagerie. Fifteen times to be specific.
However it happens, the addition of a pet or pets to a home can be a wonderful experience and we look forward to seeing the holiday puppies and kittens in this season. I will list a few important things to consider when purchasing or adopting a new pet:
- The ideal age for bringing a new puppy or kitten in is eight weeks of age. This is the best age to socialize and train the youngster, and they no longer need their mother.
- House training a puppy requires a commitment of time and patience to see the process through. Kittens are much easier since they will instinctively use a litter pan at this age.
- Conscientious breeders and pets stores will provide the legally required Official Certificate of Veterinary Examination, prepared and signed by a Florida licensed veterinarian. This certificate will document the required examination, laboratory tests, and vaccinations for each animal. Insisting upon this certificate is your best assurance of proper pre-sale health examination and timely and appropriate preventative health vaccinations and parasite control treatments. It will also document any apparent congenital abnormalities or deficiencies.
- The Osceola Animal Control Shelter in St. Cloud is a very well managed facility and is a great place to adopt pets of all ages.
- A new pet examination check-up should be arranged within 24-72 hours of adoption/purchase. Your veterinarian will review the past immunizations, parasite control measures, and perform a complete physical examination. This is also the time to discuss nutrition, feeding practices and parasite control options.
- The care and feeding of a new puppy or kitten is another whole subject. As a general rule, an eight week old kitten will make it just fine with a bowl of a good quality kitten chow available to nibble on. Puppies on the other hand should be fed a quality puppy chow or growth formula food, two or three times a day with close supervision to train their elimination habits.
- Some puppies are very easy to housebreak and some are more challenging. We are happy to discuss the crate training process but this discussion is beyond the scope of this short article.
The veterinarians and staff at Kissimmee Animal Hospital (Tel 407-846-3912) and Poinciana Pet Clinic (Tel 407-518-0880) are available to answer your questions about the care or your pets. We are here to help and to serve.