Puppy FAQ’s (Scroll for Kitten FAQs)
Welcome to Community Veterinary Clinic! We pride ourselves in offering quality medicine with
dedication to you and your pet throughout their life. We look forward to getting to know your pet
and your entire family for years to come! Thank you for allowing us to partake in your pet’s healthcare!
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding your new puppy!
Heartworm is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes. When mosquitoes bite your dog, they transmit the larvae “teenagers” into your dog. These teenagers will become adults in a little over 30 days. The monthly preventative only kills teenagers, it DOES NOT kill adults. Treating heartworm disease can cost up to $3,000. This is why it is important to give a heartworm preventative each month.
Pill = Heartgard (this is given as a free dose)
Topical = Revolution
Fleas and Ticks transmit a variety of diseases like Lyme, Anaplasma, and multiple intestinal parasites. These diseases can be fatal or expensive to treat, thus we recommend giving the preventative year-round.
Pill = Nexgard (this is given as a free dose)
Topical = Frontline
Collar = Seresto
What should I feed my puppy?
There are many types of food available for puppies and adult dogs. We recommend sticking to brands that have been present for decades and proven to work. We recommend Purina Puppy Chow, Hills Science Diet Puppy or Iams Smart Puppy for most dogs.
Some dogs may require a special diet, but those are decided on a case-by-case basis. If you choose to select another diet, we recommend reading the “Guaranteed Analysis” to ensure the diet meets “AAFCO approval for growing puppies.”
Puppies should be fed three times a day until they are approximately 10 months old, then they can transition to twice a day feeding and an adult food at that time. Again, we recommend Purina, Iams or Hills for adult food. The amount of food your puppy should eat will vary on their breed, the veterinarian will assist you in determining how much they should be fed.
When can my puppy socialize with other dogs?
Your puppy may socialize with dogs owned by your friends or family whom you know are healthy and vaccinated. We recommend avoiding other dogs until your puppy is at least 16 weeks old and has received the Kennel Cough vaccine.
What vaccines should I give my dog?
This will vary from patient to patient based on what type of vaccines they have already received (if any), and what type of lifestyle your dog may have. The veterinarian will go over the different options and what is best for your dog.
When do I neuter?
For male dogs, we recommend waiting until they are approximately 12 months old. If your puppy begins to show behavioral issues (urinating on furniture, aggression, etc.) then we recommend neutering as soon as possible.
For female dogs, we recommend they are spayed before 7 months old. Each time your puppy has a heat cycle, their chance of breast cancer increases. Without any heat cycle, the chance is 0.5%. After 1 heat cycle it is 8%, 2 heat cycles it is 25%, and 3 heat cycles or more it is 50%.
Recent research has shown that for large breed dogs (adult weight > 44lbs), spaying after 1 year could help minimize future joint issues. We urge owners to weigh the pros and cons when deciding to spay their dog. As a profession, we generally recommend spaying before 7 months old as it is easier to treat joint pain than cancer.
Should I microchip my puppy?
A microchip is used as an identification for your puppy. It is not a tracking device. If your dog should ever go missing, this microchip will help identify them and return them to your home. We recommend implanting the microchip under the skin during the time of your puppy’s spay or neuter.
How do I housetrain my puppy?
Reward your puppy every time they eliminate outdoors. Do not reprimand your puppy if they urinate/defecate in the house, it is better to ignore the behavior (easier said than done... we know!)
Most puppies can hold their bladder overnight (approximately 6-8 hours), but some puppies may require more frequent walks (every 2-4 hours). Getting your puppy to eliminate outdoors (the desired location) is achieved by habitual behavior. When your pup eliminates
outdoors, always give praise.
To prevent them from eliminating indoors, we recommend “crate training.” Dogs are den animals and as such do not like to eliminate in their immediate space. Your puppy will give signals to go outside (whining, actively sniffing near door, going back and
forth to the door, etc.), so please watch for these signals. If your puppy does not have your 100% undivided attention, then we recommend keeping him/her in the crate in order to prevent any accidents from occurring in the house. This also means keeping your pet in a crate overnight.
After a few weeks to months of “crate training,” your puppy will understand that he/she can communicate the desire to go outside to eliminate. When that happens, your house training will be complete and your carpet and floors will be safe and clean to navigate once more!!
My puppy is always biting me, what do I do?
First, be patient and understanding. Puppies/dogs need to be taught WHAT TO DO, rather than WHAT NOT TO DO. We recommend always trying to play with a toy so your puppy understands they can play hard with a toy, but not with hands.
Playful mouthing is normal behavior for a puppy or young dog. Time-outs are often very effective for curbing mouthing in puppies. When your puppy bites you, we recommend saying “NO” in a stern voice or saying “OUCH” in a loud voice. Then, get up and ignore them for 30 – 60 seconds. After the short time- out, return to your puppy and encourage them to play with you again, but with a toy.
It’s important to teach them that gentle play continues, but aggressive/painful play stops.
Kitten/Cat Supply Checklist:
Cat food, food dish, water bowl, litter box with litter, interactive toys, brush or comb, scratching post or pad, climbing tower, cat carrier and a cat bed or box with blanket.
Should my cat be indoor or outdoor?
When your feline friend is still a kitten, we strongly recommend to keep your cat indoors as they could be easy prey for wildlife. There are pros and cons for both lifestyles and the decision ultimately comes down to your lifestyle and comfort. Outdoor cats are exposed to many safety concerns including: other cats, being hit by a car, wildlife and toxins. Outdoor cats are more likely to be exposed to infections and parasites which could affect their health in the short and long term. Indoor cats are therefore “more protected,” but not every family will keep their cats indoor due to behavior issues.
Although rare, some cats may scratch furniture, urinate in inappropriate places or have other behavior issues due to being indoors. An owner can easily enrich a cat’s indoor space in order to resolve any behavioral issues: adding a companion (not for every cat), interactive toys, scratching posts, and cat perches. Feel free to call our office for other recommendations. Please let the veterinarian know if you think you would like your cat to be indoors vs outdoors as this will affect what vaccines we recommend.
What and how often should I feed my kitten?
We recommend brand names which have been present for decades that we can trust; for example: Purina ONE Healthy Kitten, Hill’s Science Diet Kitten, and Iams Healthy Kitten. If you choose to select another diet, we recommend reading the “Guaranteed Analysis” to ensure the diet meets “AAFCO approval for growing kittens.”
It is important to feed your kitten at least 3-4 times a day until your kitten is 10 months old, after this you may feed him/her twice a day. We recommend having scheduled meals as an adult as this decreases the likelihood of your cat becoming obese and developing further diseases/issues. ** We have had good success with Purina ProPlan Focus Hairball Management for the occasional hairball in our own long-haired pets.**
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
Commonly referred to as FeLV and FIV respectively, these are two viruses we recommend that all cats be tested for. Feline leukemia virus infection is more commonly spread among cats that live together. The virus can also be spread from mother to kittens, and among cats that fight. It is mainly spread through saliva when cats groom each other, and when food and water bowls are shared. Feline immunodeficiency virus is more commonly found in male cats that are not neutered and in cats that fight with other cats. The virus is spread through the saliva and is usually passed to other cats by bite wounds. FIV is rarely spread among cats that live together.
How many litter boxes do I need?
All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be in a quiet, accessible location. We recommend having one litterbox for each cat, plus one additional litter box (n + 1 rule). (If you have 2 cats, you should have 3 litter boxes total). Cats will not use a messy litter box, so it is recommended to scoop any waste out of the box daily. Every other week, one should dump everything out of the litterbox and wash with a mild detergent and refill with litter. If your cat will not use the litterbox, please consult with a veterinarian.
Is my cat going to scratch furniture?
Cats like to scratch! Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post, at least 3 feet high. The post should be stable and covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark. If your cat is scratching furniture, we recommend trying different scratching posts/pads as well as providing an elevated area for them such as a cat tower or shelf. We recommend trimming your cat’s nails once a month. Please feed treats as you trim your cat’s nails, so they associate it with a positive experience.
When do I spay or neuter my cat?
We recommend having your female cat spayed and/or your male cat neutered by 6 months of age if possible.
Do I need a microchip for my cat?
A microchip is a small transponder (the size of a grain of rice) that can be placed under your cat’s skin which has an identification number that is registered in a national database. This is not a GPS tracking system. This ensures that your cat can be identified and returned to you if they get lost and someone else finds them. If you think your cat will spend any time outdoors or is an escape artist, we strongly recommend having your cat have a microchip.