Spring is finally here! If you’re like most people, the sudden influx of baby animals has stirred a frenzy within you to scoop up every big-eyed, wobbly-headed little creature in your path. If you’ve contracted cuteness fever this season, just remember that pets are for life, and the animal shelter is always the best place to start your search. With those things in mind, here are some ways to prepare for your new arrival!
1. Make certain you don’t adopt puppies or kittens before they are properly weaned and socialized. Healthypet.com says the optimal period to adopt is 10-16 weeks after birth for kittens and 7-10 weeks for puppies.
2. Keep up on those vaccinations! Kittens and puppies will receive vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until they are at least six months of age, at which point they will start receiving booster shots.
3. Take care to puppy/kitty-proof your home beforehand. Keep toxic plants, chemicals, and any cables out of their reach (see healthypet.com for a list of poisonous plants). To prevent your little adventurer from taking a nasty fall, block off any precarious ledges.
4. Purchase foods that are formulated to meet the developmental needs of kittens and puppies. You can start mixing adult food into their usual blend at about six months of age (or later, for cats).
5. Purina says the key to training a kitten or puppy is mainly to reinforce positive behavior. Ignore or disapprove firmly of bad behavior, but never strike your kitten or puppy.
6. Want to know how to get your kitten or puppy to come when called? Only use its name in pleasurable settings such as meal time. Don’t shout its name to reprimand it, and it will always come running.
When all else fails, and your puppy or kitty is being bad, be sure to have one of the I Love My Pet Plaques on your wall to remind you of all the joy and love that pets give. Each is a striking composite of descriptors that paint life with a kitten or puppy. Each ends with a universal truth: “Loves me no matter what.”