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.
Easter has come and gone, and while some folks are still plucking overlooked eggs from their backyards, you might be one of many stuck with a more permanent reminder of the holiday. A pet rabbit might have seemed like a good idea at the time. An irresistible photo op, to be sure! But as that new bunny shine wears off, you may be quickly learning that a pet rabbit is more work than you first imagined. Myhouserabbit.com suggests these tips to properly care for your new friend and prevent bunny burn-out:
1. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low-maintenance pets. Domesticated rabbits cannot fend for themselves like their wild counterparts. An average of $675 a year is the estimated amount you will need to dedicate to your rabbit.
2. Nothing is cuter than a carrot-munching bunny, but the main staple of his diet is actually hay. If a member of the family has a hay allergy, this could pose a problem.
3. Bunnies are meant to be cuddled; it’s just human instinct! But rabbits are skittish animals and don’t like being cornered or contained. They might just try to leap from your arms. It’s much safer and less stressful for your rabbit to keep the lovings on ground level.
4. Rabbits may be the wallflowers of the animal kingdom, but they still need to socialize. Reserve a private place in the home for him, but don’t isolate him by any means.
5. Myhouserabbit.com suggests a little something called “bunny-proofing.” This means encasing wires in protective tubing, restricting access to priceless furniture, and substituting all the “un-chewables” in your rabbit’s life with old phonebooks or toilet paper rolls.
Don’t let this list get you down, though. Rabbits are intelligent animals and can even be litterbox trained. Most of all, they are tender and affectionate pets, as long as they are well cared for. Stress to young children that a new animal is a pet for life, even if he did arrive on a holiday, and you’ll cultivate in them a respect for animals as living creatures, rather than just another Easter basket stuffer.