NEW PUPPY OR KITTEN ARRIVING? TOP 6 MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR SHOPPING LIST.
With springtime on the horizon, the world will soon be alive with furry bundles of joy and many of us may be preparing to welcome a new canine or feline family member. After years of advising new pet-parents, we’ve put together a handy checklist so you know you’ve got the most important things covered.
As in the case of a human baby, the right nutrition may be the single most important investment in your pet’s life; choosing the best diet for your new puppy or kitten needs to be your number one priority. Budgeting for a top-quality, veterinary-endorsed diet will ensure your new baby receives the nutrition and immune-boosting he needs at this vulnerable age and will help set him up for a long and healthy life with your family. Studies have proven that feeding a premium diet can actually lengthen the lives of dogs and cats! Then, consider good quality feeding bowls that can be cleaned easily and will last.
MICROCHIP AND ID TAG
Legally speaking, dogs and cats are considered to be possessions in South Africa and the only true way to prove “ownership” of your pet is if it carries a microchip linked to your details. Puppies and kittens are tiny and curious – this is the time they’re most likely to stray from the safety of your property. A microchip, together with a collar and ID tag will alert people to the fact that your pet belongs to someone. Microchips can be inserted for animals as young as 6 weeks and this service is provided at Twisted Whiskers by our veterinarian and owner, Dr. Katja Bier.
CLEAN UP “GEREEDSKAP”
House-training kittens is relatively easy, but with pups it can be a process. And there will inevitably be some accidents along the way…. Not only do you need a litter tray, scoop and a stash of litter for kittens, and plenty of puppy pads and training spray for puppies, you’ll want to ensure you have products to hand that are formulated to eliminate stains and odours on a variety of surfaces, rather than just masking them, as household detergents do. Pets have a much keener sense of smell and will easily ‘find’ their familiar spot again and again, unless all trace has been removed.
COLLARS, LEADS AND HARNESSES
All puppies and kittens should be introduced to a collar as soon as possible. Remember that these are species-specific. Dog collars should never be used on cats, as they don’t have a break-away mechanism that helps cats get out of trouble if they get caught on something. Similarly, a cat collar won’t be much use for walking your pup as it will break open as soon as he pulls on his lead.
Small and medium dogs should be walked in harnesses (as should cats… yes, they can be taught to go “walkies” too!) For large and giant breeds, a collar and short lead are recommended for walking, as harnesses allow them to use their full power centre (in the chest) to pull against you. Bear in mind that the collar will need to be replaced as the puppy outgrows it.
BEDDING AND BLANKETS
While you may already have decided that your furkid will have free access to all couches and beds in the house (in which case, you’ll want to set up regular grooming bookings with us!), some pet parents may prefer a “Pets In Pet Beds” rule. The new baby may feel bewildered initially, so comfy, welcoming bedding can help a lot. Both puppies and kittens enjoy an igloo-type bed to start, which provides a safe hide-away. For pups, ensure that whatever bed you decide on is washable and made of a robust material, as it can become the target of chewing during moments of boredom.
TOYS AND TREATS
Youngsters have boundless energy and enquiring minds, so if you aren’t properly prepared with a wide range of toys and safe items to chew, you’re setting yourself up for chaos in the home. Anything and everything (including books, electrical wiring, plants, valuables…) becomes an object of fascination to your furry baby, so ensure he has plenty of other options to keep him busy. Favourite toys for kittens include feathers, soft balls that bounce and toys that make rustling sounds. Smaller pups enjoy plush toys that offer comfort and are easy for them to get their jaws around, while the larger guys will demolish these in 5 seconds flat and need toys that are a lot tougher. Consider rope and tug toys for them. Hunting breeds like Labs, Goldies, Spaniels and Pointers enjoy anything they can carry around in their mouths, preferably with a squeak or quacking sound (think amphibious toys, too, for games on land and in the water). And if you’re the parent of a Pitbull, Boerboel, Bull Terrier or Staffie, you’ll need to bring out the heavy artillery and invest in durable Kong toys, super-thick ropes or toys made of firehose webbing. As they grow, items made from tyres also work well.
There are loads of treats to choose from – bite-sized, yummy ones to reward good behaviour, or tougher sinewy ones to keep a bored dog busy for a while. Treat dispensing toys are a fun combination of both.
Twisted Whiskers staff are on hand to advise on all aspects of kitten- or puppy-parenting. We’d love to help make this the special time it should be. Feel free to pop in and browse all of the goodies we’ve selected especially with the younger furry family members in mind. We also have contact details for Puppy Socialisation specialists and the best Doggy Day Cares around; they’lll be of inestimable value to you, trust us!
Written By Twisted Whiskers