Starting Little Pets in the Big City
So you have a new kitten or a new puppy! At South Loop Animal Hospital, we want to give you and your young pet a sound start in city life. Here are a few hints to help you prepare:
Your new puppy or kitten needs a clean, safe home environment with a constant source of fresh water, the appropriate amount of quality food, lots of personal attention and play time, and regular exercise.
Necessary supplies such as food and water dishes, high quality puppy or kitten food, pet bedding, collar or harness and leash, and appropriate toys can be obtained ahead of time at any local pet supply store.
Pet-proofing your home or apartment is also important. Try sitting on the floor and viewing the room from a pet’s-eye-view. Be aware of any hazards or toxins within reach, such as electrical cords or poison ant traps, and secure or remove them. Enclosing your young pet in a safe room or crate when unsupervised is always a good precaution against harm. Keeping puppies and kittens indoors helps them stay healthy and safe. If you are lucky enough to have a yard, make sure it is securely fenced to avoid the risk of being hit by cars or attacked by other animals. Never leave your young pet unsupervised, chained, or tied outside!
When you adopt your puppy or kitten, usually between six and eight weeks of age, call us to make an appointment for your first check-up. Visit our New Clients page, too. Your veterinarian will usually start your puppy or kitten on his or her first vaccination series at that initial check-up. Visit our Vaccinations page for more information on vaccines and disease prevention.
For safety, always bring your puppy or kitten to appointments in an appropriate pet carrier if you are driving. A puppy or kitten left loose in a moving vehicle may become frightened or sick. If you are a passenger, leash or harness your pet and hold them securely in your lap; we suggest bringing a towel or small blanket to protect you from a struggling or carsick animal. And never leave your pet alone in a car.
Puppies and kittens sometimes have fleas, but over the counter parasite control can be ineffective or toxic to young pets. Your veterinarian will advise you about parasite control during your first check-up. In addition, we recommend spaying or neutering pets at a young age. Spaying and neutering:
- Helps animals live healthier and longer lives
- Can help prevent some forms of cancer, uterine infections, and may decrease the likelihood of prostate problems
- Curbs overpopulation, overcrowded shelters and unnecessary euthanasia
- Reduces problem behaviors, including aggression and wandering
For more reasons to spay or neuter, visit the Y2Spay website.
Avoid giving your pet grapes and raisins, as these are toxic to dogs and cats, causing kidney damage and failure. Onions and beets are toxic to dogs and cats, causing anemia. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is deadly to cats and extremely toxic to dogs. Most over the counter NSAIDs are toxic to dogs and cats. Ask us about any ‘home remedy’ or ‘people food’ you want to try before offering it to your young pet.
If you already have a pet, a new puppy or kitten (or a new older dog or cat) needs your help making friends. Because this is a new animal invading your pet’s territory, your existing pet may feel threatened. This is normal behavior. Keep stress levels low during introductions, and be patient. Call us if you have concerns about your new pet fitting into your household.
Bringing home a new pet can be a great joy—let us help you make that first joy last a lifetime.
Don’t forget to register your new puppy with the City of Chicago—City of Chicago Dog Licensing Application.
The City of Chicago Park District has an online list of dog friendly areas for your companion animals.