Puppy & Kitten Month Tips

Tip #1
Your puppy or kitten will likely be nervous when you first bring them home. Start by introducing them to your home one room at a time, over the period of a week. This will help them feel more secure in their new home! Of course, each pet varies, so gauge how your new little one is doing! If they are adventurous and interested in leaving their safe zone, let them explore at their own pace! Or if they are still nervous about leaving their safe zone, let them adjust at their pace. Of course, you can always ask your vet for advice on your new pet!

Tip #2
When puppies and kittens are born, they share a bed with their mother and siblings. When they are separated from their families, they need a cozy place to sleep and feel safe. A soft bed where they can snuggle can reduce the chances of the new furry friend crying in the middle of the night.

Tip #3
Keep your puppy or kitten on the same food they have been eating. If you choose to change their food, then slowly transition them to a new brand once they are comfortable in their new home. Rule of thumb is 25% new food for 2-3 days, 50% new food for 2-3 days, 75% new food for 2-3 days then fully to a new food.

Tip #4
Decide if you will be crating your dog at night, when you are not home and periodically for ‘timeouts’ or naps during the day. Keep the crate in your room for the first few nights as this can be a scary time for your new pet. Always have the crate experience be a positive one with a treat, favourite toy or just relaxing. Also, leave the crate door open when your pet isn’t being crated so your puppy knows it is a safe space where they can retreat to when they need space.

Tip #5
If you don’t want your puppy or kitten on the furniture when they get bigger, don’t allow them on when they are a baby. Establishing a set of rules from the start is important. Be consistent! New pets need consistency (and lots of reminding).

Tip #6
Introduce your pet to other people, kids, and healthy pets of all sizes to socialize them and help them get used to being a great family pet. Don't head to dog park right away, wait until they have all of their vaccinations first! Also, it’s good to work on their recall before a trip to the park in case you need to call them back – remember not everyone is a responsible pet owner so always be aware of your pet and others at a leash free park.

Tip #7
Take care of their teeth! Start brushing your young pet's teeth and giving them healthy dental chews early to make sure their teeth are healthy for their whole life! Make sure they get used to you checking their mouth and teeth – keep it a positive experience.

Tip #8
Cats need to scratch!
Establish a designated scratching area for your pet. A scratching post or cat tree works great! Don't forget to reward your kitten for using it as this will help save your furniture in the future.

Chewing: Buy some good chew toys. When you spot your puppy chewing on something it shouldn’t immediately give them their chew toy to teach them what they are allowed to chew on.

Naming your pet: Choose a name that is easy to understand. Or give a nickname. One or two syllables make it easier for a pet to know their name. After all, they don’t speak English. 2 syllables, high pitch.

Tip #11
Training to use the litter box or puppy pads!
• Show the kitten their litter box shortly after they arrive in their new home and reward them for using it.
• If you choose to use training pads, show the puppy the designated area (don’t move this around) and reward them when they successfully go on the pad. Keep it close to the door so you can start encouraging them to go outside.
• If your kitten is having accidents around the house, consider using multiple litter boxes to help them get to their bathroom faster.

Tip #12
Your pet will likely need a carrier at some point.
• This is especially true for small dogs and cats.
• Make the carrier their safe space!
• Choose one where the top and door can be removed.
• Always have the carrier in your home as a safe space for your pet.
• Line it with blankets and use a calming spray to help them feel at home!
Once your pet is used to the carrier, trips to the vet won’t be so traumatic.

Tip #13
Riding in cars!
Riding in a car isn’t natural for animals. They should be trained when they are young that the car is a safe and fun place to be! Start with short trips around the block and reward them when you come home. They will soon love it!

Tip #14
•To help make vet visits and grooming visits easier, get your puppy used to have their feet, nails, tail, ears, mouth, teeth and belly touched.
•Play with your pet's paws frequently so they become comfortable when it comes time to trim their nails.

Tip #15
Practice leaving them alone from day one. Set a routine, don’t make it a big deal when you come home or leave. Teach them that it’s normal and part of life!

Tip #16
Pet-proof your home! Literally get down on your hands and knees and walk around your home, looking out for anything that could be a choking hazard or could be chewed on. Cover ALL wires and move items up away from the pet’s reach. With kittens, either take down or tie up your curtains so they cannot climb them.

Tip #17
House Training!
•Set up a routine for house training, this will help your dog know when they will be going out to the bathroom.
•Know when your puppy needs to go! A puppy can typically only hold its bladder for one hour for every month it has been alive. For example, a four-month-old puppy who has been taught to pee outside will need to pee at least every four hours. Consider hiring a pet sitter to let your puppy out during the day when you’re at work.

Tip #18
Accidents happen!
Reward your puppy or kitten when they go to the bathroom in the correct space, ignore the accident! Make sure you always have a pet safe cleaner to clean up!

Tip #19
•Choose a litter and litter box that works best for your kitten and you. Cats can be picky, so there are lots of different kinds of litter from clay, paper, wood, corn, walnuts. The possibilities are almost endless!
•Start off easy with an uncovered plain litter box. Gradually transition your cat to the litter box you’d like them to use.

Tip #20
• Start leash training your kitten or puppy young.
• Choose an adjustable harness that can grow with them and a sturdy flat leash. Retractable leashes can be a bad idea when training as they can encourage your pet to pull and give you less control.

Tip #21
• If you are really struggling with behaviour or training reach out for help! Many trainers will do 1 on 1 work with you and your dog to help make sure they fit into your family perfectly!
There are always benefits to taking a level 1 puppy class!
• You can also find useful videos online.

Tip #22
Microchipping is always a good idea just in case something happens and you need to be reunited with your furry friend. Also, having your pet licensed with your local Animal Control Office or City is the responsible thing to do and will help you get your pet back if they get lost.

Tip #23
Keep your pet busy with interactive toys. Every dog is different and you will learn over time what makes your pet tick! Tennis ball or Frisbee? Crinkle ball or mouse? Don’t be disappointed if they don’t play with something right away, it can take time and new environments and lots of toys can be overwhelming. Think about rotating their toys too, put some away when not being used and bring out new ones.

Tip #24
Decide before you bring your kitten or puppy home where their designated sleeping area will be. Will they be allowed to sleep in your bedroom or will they have space elsewhere in the house? Keeping this as part of the routine will help them to settle in quicker.

Tip #25
If you know that your pet will need to be on their best behaviour, (maybe people are coming over or you are going to visit friends), take them for a long walk or play with them to tire them out. A tired pet is a well-behaved pet! Plus make sure to have things to keep them busy while you’re busy.

Tip #26
Begging at mealtime? Try not to feed them from the table while you are eating. Designate an area for meal time away from the dining table to deter from begging. This is a great use for an exercise pen or crate. Give your pet their own spot with a favourite toy or treat while you’re in the kitchen working or eating at the table.

Tip #27
High energy dogs do not necessarily mean bad behaviour. They need an energy release like long runs at the dog park or taking special classes that can wear them out physically.

Tip #28
Handling your pet's paws early on will help get them comfortable with nail trimming on a regular basis later. Look at and handle their toes and in between their toes often. Make sure to have an expert show you how to trim their nails so you can be comfortable with the tools and the process.

Tip #29
Train your puppy or kitten not to bite (no matter how small the nip may be) by shouting ‘no’ in a loud, firm voice or yelping loudly to mimic another animal. Praise your pet if they stop, and continue the same steps when needed, to train them not to bite.

Tip #30
Don’t let your frustration show. Training a puppy or kitten is hard! Take a few deep breaths, and try again, reward the good! Remember learning is constant and be consistent.

Tip #31
Patience! If your pet is struggling with training, try practicing in shorter periods more frequently during the day. It is well worth the time spent during the early stages of your pets life to ensure smooth sailing for years to come!

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