Once you have organised a Pet Medical History, Vaccinations and Microchipping for your new pet, its important to focus on Worming and Flea Prevention, Nutrition and Desexing your pet. For more information on Pet Medical History, Vaccinations and Microchipping, read the first part of this series here.
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Worm and Flea Treatment It is very important that you take measures to prevent your pet from getting worms or fleas. There are many products on the market today to aid this prevention.
You have to be careful when reading these boxes to make sure that you know what the product covers. Some may only prevent fleas, while others prevent worms and fleas but may not prevent tapeworm or heartworm. It can be quite mind-boggling at times!
The best thing to do is to visit your local veterinary practice and ask a vet or vet nurse which product is most suitable for your pet. It is also important that you pick up a treatment pack suitable for your pets age and weight.
Worming Puppies and kittens should be treated every two weeks until they are twelve weeks of age with a product that will prevent roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and tapeworm.
After the twelve week mark, treatment can be reduced to monthly until six months of age and then once every three thereafter for life. Puppies should also be given either a heartworm prevention injection once a year, or in a tablet form, however this again is once every three months. This prevention can be given from 12 weeks of age. A lot of people tend to opt for the injection for their pet as they do not have that nagging feeling of "Did I give Coco her heartworm tablet?" alongside her other tablets.
Flea Prevention Flea prevention can begin from about 6 weeks of age. Please note that not all flea prevention products are suitable for these young animals, so please don't apply any leftover packs you had from a previous animal.
There are some products which are directly aimed for puppies and kittens, for example Revolution for puppies and kittens can be used from 6 weeks of age and prevents flea infestations, ear mites and roundworm while also controlling flea allergy dermatitis and treating sarcoptic mange in puppies.
It comes as a topical treatment, ie: a spot on, which is a tube that contains the liquid agent. It is applied by parting the hair on the back of the neck and squeezing the contents of the tube onto this patch.
Remember: Educate young children to always wash their hands after handling puppies and kittens.
Nutrition Out of all the above mentioned, this is the only one that your pet will have a strong opinion on!
Nutrition is an important factor in making sure you give your new pet the best start in life. By the time you get your puppy or kitten they will have been weaned off their mum and will have started eating biscuits for themselves.
It is a proven fact that dry food is much better for your pet, the main reason being dental related. The grinding action of chewing the hard kibble acts to remove plaque off teeth thus keeping teeth clean and healthy and also avoiding dental bills in years to come! However, this is not to say that wet food is bad for pets. Pets can sometimes be fussy eaters when it comes to dry food, so mixing some wet and dry can sometimes solve this fussy eater dilemma.
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Hills and Royal Canin are the leading pet food manufacturers, recommended by vets all over the world. They produce life stage and specific breed diets which contain a complete balanced diet for your pet. It is important to buy the correct pet food for your pet, for example you don't want to feed your new Pug puppy the diet specified for a Great Dane puppy or vice versa as they contain different amounts of nutrients and minerals specific to that growing breed which can lead to deficiencies or overloading your pet with unnecessary nutrients or minerals.
The back of these pet food bags contain a feeding instruction chart which outlines how much food you should feed your pet over the course of the day. It is important to stick to this chart to make sure you are not over feeding or underfeeding your pet.
It is a good idea to a a look at the manufacturers websites so you can see for yourself all the different varieties of food they offer.
Remember: If you are changing your pets food from one brand to another, gradually introduce the new food by mixing the new food in with the original brand you were using. This will avoid gastrointestinal upset.
Desexing Your Pet As mentioned in my previous article about microchipping, desexing has also been made mandatory under the new law. Desexing is usually done from 5 months of age.
Not only is it now the law, there are also numerous other benefits for cats and dogs:
It solves the problem of having unwanted puppies or kittens,
Cats especially are less likely to spray to mark their territory, thus no horrible smells,
They are less likely to wander or get into fights,
It can help with male dog and cat aggression,
Can help to prevent cancers developing in males and females later on in life.
The procedure is quite straight forward and regularly performed under general anaesthetic. In most veterinary practices, you will attend a pre-op consultation. This is to check that your pet is fit and healthy enough to be admitted for surgery. Once this has been approved, you can book your pet in for surgery. The night before surgery, you must make sure to fast your pet , i.e.: do not feed, after whatever time recommended by your vet. Water can still be supplied until the morning of surgery.
Remember: If you've any questions or worries about your new pet, don't hesitate to contact your vet. They are there to help and are the people to give the best advice for your pet.
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Although I’ve focused on six topics altogether in my article, this is not to say that this is all you need to know. There is so much information to know about caring for a pet, I could talk forever on the subject! Hopefully you will find the information in my articles as stepping stones in learning.
As I said at the start, it is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences you will have and no doubt you will have many fantastic years with your best friend.