New Pet? Let's Get Started off on the Right Paw!

Have you recently made a commitment to decide to adopt a pet? Or have you already brought your pet into your home and are wondering how you can be the best pet parent you can be for your new companion? In this article, we’ll offer some tips on how to ease the transition of your pet into your home as well as get him or her started onto a healthy journey, maximizing the time that will be spent with you!

Tip #1: Prepare your home.

This sounds simple, but in reality, you really need to view every item in your home from the height of your pet. Perhaps furniture items that you never give a second glance to harbor curious extra sniffs, tugs or even chewing. Consider what you are leaving out in your pet’s reach and remember that he or she really doesn’t know the difference between a $10 pair of shoes or a $350 pair of shoes. As an alternative, have several pet-safe toys in the area your pet will be occupying. Clear away anything else that you don’t want to have innocently damaged.

Secure an appropriate crate, food and water bowls, and check for pet licensing requirements where you live.

Tip #2: Schedule your pet’s veterinary visit.

Preventive care is the key to your pet’s overall health. Vaccinating against disease, such as lyme, leptospirosis, Bordetella (kennel cough), and implementing other preventive measures to protect against heartworm, or tick-borne illnesses, help to not only keep your pet healthy and parasite free, but your family members, as well! On your pet’s first visit, we’ll help to set up a vaccination schedule and help you know what you might expect at the various stages of your new friend’s life.

Tip #3: Start with a dental regimen right way.

Much like preventive care that we discussed in tip #2, proper care of your pet's teeth will also help to contribute to his or her overall health. We can help show you how to brush your pet's teeth, but you can also check out the video below! It's important to begin this routine early on in your pet's lifetime, so that they can not only benefit from the rewards of dental health, but to help desensitize them in having their mouth, gums and face handled. Our team can provide suggestions on some of the toothpastes and brushes that both we and our clients prefer.

Tip #4: Socialization

The window of time from several weeks up until about 4 months is a significant time for your new pet, especially as a puppy. This socialization period impacts him or her for the rest of their life in reactions to environmental stimuli. For kittens, this time may vary from 2-14 weeks. 

Why is this so important? By helping pets feel calm in fearful situations or unfamiliar circumstances, you’ll not only build their confidence, but also help reduce potential for aggression, fear biting, or submissive behaviors that become difficult to manage. 

Seek out local obedience classes or ask our veterinarians for suggestions on how to maximize this pivotal moment in your pet’s life. Are you noticing excessive barking, destructive chewing or house training issues that seem to be lingering? These tips may help.

Tip #5:  Choose Good Nutrition

Navigating food labels is complicated for us as humans. Trying to understand what our pets need can be even more difficult. It’s important to choose a high quality pet food that meets each stage of your pet’s changing physical and mental needs. Our veterinary team can help provide guidance on the right amount of food, the best type for your pet’s individual needs, and what your pet’s feeding schedule should look like. Important to consider - even though treats may seem tiny and harmless to you, pet obesity is a common problem, and each calorie adds up in their overall daily dietary intake.

Tip #6:  Prepare for a Lifetime of Devotion and Companionship

Pets truly are a gift in our lives and they will be your most devoted of companions. By committing to a schedule of preventive care, parasite prevention and a healthy, active lifestyle, your pet will thrive and you’ll further strengthen the bond that you share. At Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo, we’re here to be with you on your pet’s journey of health, whether your pet is a dog, cat,  rabbit, gerbil, hamster, hedgehog, turtle, rat, chinchilla, ferret, guinea pig, pet chicken, duck, goose, snake, iguana, chameleon, frog, or, sugar glider! (or even, a tarantula!)

References:
Becker, Mikkel. “Your Guide on How to Socialize a Kitten.” Vetstreet, www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/your-guide-to-socializing-a-kitten.
Donovan, Liz. “Puppy Socialization: Why, When, and How to Do It Right – American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 4 June 2015, www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/puppy-socialization/.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species
651-487-3255

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1163 Helmo Avenue N
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1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)
651-293-1800