Blog Post

Feb 28 | Brian Heuring

So, you got a new puppy or kitten—now what?

If the new year started off with a new furry family member, let us congratulate you on your new friend for life! Meanwhile, here is a common checklist to use in that first year with a new pet.

For puppies, we recommend scheduling the first vet visit at 6 weeks of age. This is often when the mother’s antibodies begin wearing off in her babies, and vaccines are needed. Bring any records from the adoption shelter or breeder. Your puppy will receive booster shots every few weeks, until it reaches four months old. 

Additionally, we will provide a timeline for flea and tick prevention and let you know when to start heartworm medication. It is strongly recommended all pets living in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois (no matter their age!) be protected from contracting heartworm disease, which is prevalent here and preventable. 

Before your puppy’s first vet visit, we will also let you know if you should bring a stool sample for a fecal exam, which helps us identify roundworms and intestinal parasites. Most puppies are born with roundworms, and your vet clinic will provide a medication to administer at home. 

For kittens, we typically give vaccines between the ages of 6 and 9 weeks. If your kitten is sneezing or having any other health problems, we will wait to vaccinate until it’s healthy. Kitten booster shots are done in 3-week intervals, until your furry friend reaches 16 to 20 weeks old. We administer the rabies vaccine at the final kitten visit. Like puppies, we give dewormer medication to help get rid of roundworms and intestinal parasites. 

We are also here to guide you through potty and litter box training, nutrition, spaying/neutering and behavior. Please do not hesitate to ask questions from the entire veterinary team, who often has additional tips on your pet’s care from wellness to playtime. We look forward to forming a new friendship with your pet!