After the holidays, we always look forward to meeting the tiny new family members who have joined your home. Really, though, anytime is an exciting time to welcome a new puppy or kitten. We couldn’t be happier for you as you embark on this adventure!

As you likely know, it’s a whole new world acclimating a new puppy or kitten. This might not be your first rodeo, and things like making your house safe, crate training, and house-training might be second nature to you. But what about preventive care? What’s needed to make sure they start off on the right paw, so to speak?

The Importance of Preventive Care

Wellness (preventive care) is a common term in human medicine, and it’s just as important for pets. By bringing your pet in regularly, we can catch small problems before they become big ones, get to know you and your pet, and help you provide a happy and healthy life for them. This goes for pets at any age! With puppies and kittens, however, it’s especially important to bring them in right away for their first wellness appointment. Here’s what you can expect.

Physical exam – A 13-point nose-to-tail physical exam is the most important part of the wellness appointment. Your pet’s veterinarian is trained to take a comprehensive look at all your pet’s body systems and to make notes about the health of each. Using the physical exam, we can make sure your pet is healthy, and we can often catch small problems before they become big ones.

Intestinal parasites – Puppies and kittens commonly have intestinal parasites from their mothers, contracted either in utero or through nursing. We’ll check a stool sample for evidence and treat your pet if needed. Preventive monthly medication for heartworm and other parasites (hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, etc.) is important to keep your pet feeling their best and to protect your family and other pets from infestation.

External parasites (fleas and ticks) – As a part of your new pet’s exam, we look at the coat and skin, parting the hair to check for parasites. At some point, most dogs and cats have problems with fleas and ticks. We can talk with you about monthly preventives to keep these pests off your pet and out of your house.

Nutrition – Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to prevent disease and ensure a long, healthy life is to feed your pet a high quality diet. Like humans, your pet’s health depends largely on their diet. We can talk with you about nutrition and help you select a balanced diet for your pet’s individual needs.

Behavior – Many behavioral problems can be headed off at the pass by understanding how to set your new pet up for success. Your veterinarian is an expert and can give you tips and answer any questions about your new pet’s behavior.

Spaying or neutering – Many shelters and even breeders spay/neuter pets before adoption, but if your pet still needs this procedure, we will review things with you during your wellness appointment. Spaying/neutering is a great way to prevent health and behavioral problems in the future. It also helps prevent pet overpopulation and homelessness.

Vaccinations – Your veterinarian will look at your pet’s vaccine records. Based on their age and lifestyle, we can administer any needed vaccines to prevent disease.

Following Up

There is so much included in preventive care! It’s tough to get through everything and answer all your questions in one appointment, which is why we want to see your new puppy or kitten several times within the first year. Pets grow and age faster than humans, so we want to ensure your pet’s wellness from the very beginning.

Whether you got your new puppy or kitten from a breeder or a shelter, bringing them in to see us should be one of the first steps in pet ownership. Please give us a call if you have any questions about your new pet or their wellness.