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Getting Your New Pet Off to a Great Start

Samoyedo Puppy getting his 8 week checkup

Congratulations on your new family member! Raising a puppy or kitten is fun, exciting, and a BIG job. Remember, there are no stupid questions when it comes to raising your new pet, and our team is here to help.

In general, we recommend the following for every puppy or kitten:

Puppy and Kitten Care Plan

To ensure their healthy growth and development, all puppies and kittens will require several visits to your veterinarian. The following is a typical care schedule for most young pets, but our team will always check to make sure your cat or dog’s specific needs are met.

Kitten Schedule

8 Weeks

  • FVRCP #1 (feline viral rhinotracheitis/calicivirus/panleukopenia)
  • Feline leukemia vaccine (FeLV) #1 (non-core vaccine)
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Feline leukemia testing
  • Begin parasite prevention protocol
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Litter box training

12 weeks

  • FVRCP #2
  • Feline leukemia vaccine #2
  • Stool exam and deworming

16 weeks

  • FVRCP#3
  • Rabies vaccine

6 months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping

Puppy Schedule

8 weeks

  • DHPP #1
    (distemper/hepatitis/parainfluenza/parvo virus)
  • Bordetella vaccine, if needed
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Begin heartworm prevention
  • Begin parasite prevention
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Behavioral training

12 Weeks

  • DHLPP #2

16 Weeks

  • DHLPP #3
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Rabies vaccine

6 Months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Dental assessment
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping

Basic Pet Care Needs

Basic care supplies should be obtained prior to bringing your new puppy or kitten home. Here are some suggestions:

  • A sturdy pet carrier is essential. Transporting an unrestrained pet can be hazardous, and many puppies and kittens are frightened when riding in a moving vehicle. It’s also advisable to contain your pet while in the veterinary waiting room.
  • All water and food dishes, bedding, and collars should fit your young pet’s needs. For example, small and stable water and food dishes are preferred, even if you have a large breed pet. Puppies and kittens need to be able to eat and drink without having to strain or climb over anything.
  • Toys should be safe and appropriate for the current size and breed of your cat or dog. Choose only one or two toys so as not to overwhelm him or her and be certain they meet safety standards.


Microchipping your new puppy or kitten is critical to their safety. Please visit our page on Wellness and Preventive Care for more information about this important practice.

On the Web

Visit the official American Veterinary Medical Association YouTube Channel for many helpful videos regarding pet care.

The American Animal Hospital Association Pet Health Library offers a range of information about raising pets:

Enjoy these informational slideshows from the Pet Health Center at WebMD:

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