No two ways about it, baby animals are adorable. It's easy to be transfixed by the tiny paws, tiny noses, and big bellies galloping around your home in a riot of excitement. Puppy and kittenhood the first six months of life can be one of the best times in a pet's life, but it requires some diligence and special care from loving pet owners.
First off, if you're in the market for a new pet, be sure you allow him enough time with his mother and his littermates to be healthy and well socialized. Young animals should be adopted when they're ready to be socialized somewhere between 10 and 16 weeks for kittens and 7 to 10 weeks for puppies. Once you get them home, and have picked up the litter, collar, leash, pet bed, and everything else you need, you can start to be a wonderful pet parent.
Come see us
The first thing you should do with your new pet is make an appointment to see us. Young animals, whose immune systems are not yet running at full force, are more vulnerable to parasites like fleas and worms as well as respiratory infections and other conditions. We will record your pet's weight, perform a physical exam, and if necessary do a fecal exam or a blood test, in order to rule out parasites or other potential problems. There are several conditions, such as orthopedic problems, that can be effectively treated if they are caught when animals are young, so seeing a veterinarian early is vital.
It's also important that your little pet sees the veterinarian because he needs to be immunized. Puppies and kittens are initially immune to many diseases because of the antibodies they receive from their mothers' milk. After weaning, however, they need to receive a series of vaccines in order to develop immunity on their own. Our prevention page has details on this.