Having a new puppy or kitten can be an exciting time, but the best care and advice is important from the start. We can advise on what is right for their health - from diet, to how and when to exercise, recommendations for good training and what care and treatments they will need.
Though it may be tempting to show off your new pet, care is needed. As they don't have immunity to many diseases that can have an adverse effect on their health, they need to be kept in the safety of your home or garden until they have had the necessary vaccinations.
Bell and Partners can schedule all vaccinations, keep an eye on their health and send you regular reminders of when a consultation or injection may be needed.
Welcoming a new puppy or kitten into your life is a big commitment, and one you need to be sure you are ready for. Can you offer your new family member enough time and attention? Will you be able to give them the exercise that they need? Will you need to leave them to go to work and how long will you be away? Have you got someone who can look after them if you can't be there?
If the answer is yes then next step is doing your research to find out what breed of cat or dog would be right for you and your lifestyle. For example, are you looking for a house cat to relax with you on the sofa, or a mousing maestro to be out keeping vermin at bay? Are you looking for a small dog that will be happy tootling round the block or a dog to join you on long adventures uphill and down dale? Once you know what you are looking for, you can begin your search.
It is vital to take care when deciding where to buy a puppy or kitten. From 6 April 2020 the law has been changed to make it illegal to sell a puppy or kitten under six months old that you haven’t bred yourself - this is aimed to stop the unscrupulous trade in puppies and kittens. However, you still need to be very careful.
Look for a reputable breeder who is knowledgeable and passionate about the animals they have bred. The breeder should be happy for you to visit their home and meet the mother (and the father if possible) - you can tell a lot about how your puppy may turn out from meeting its parents.
Try to find a breeder who has kept the animals in a similar environment to your home. For example, if you are looking for a puppy or kitten to mix with children and live in the family home, try and find a breeder where the animals have already been in a home and met children.
There are many charities in the UK looking to find homes for all sorts of animals of all shapes and sizes. Before getting a puppy or kitten, ask yourself whether you may consider adopting an adult dog or cat instead. It is possible (and hugely rewarding) to adopt puppies and kittens through a rescue centre, but they are not always available and it may take patience for the right animal to come along.
From 6 April 2016, it became the law that all dogs and puppies must be microchipped and registered by the age of eight weeks. As it is recommended that puppies are at least 8 weeks old before leaving their mother, it is most likely that the breeder will already have had your puppy microchipped before you bring them home ( alarm bells should be ringing if they haven't). However, if for any reason your puppy has not been microchipped, you will need to get it done as soon as possible.
It is not currently law to have your cat microchipped, but we would strongly recommend getting your kitten microchipped.
Cats and dogs need to be wormed regularly to keep them healthy. Your puppy or kitten should be wormed monthly until they are six months of age and then routinely every three months. For more information on worms see our worm advice page
You need to be extremely careful to avoid having fleas and ticks on your new pet, these parasites can cause anaemia, especially in young puppies and kittens. For more information visit our fleas and ticks page (link).
You can treat your pet with flea treatments from 8 weeks of age - we recommend discussing managing fleas and ticks when you visit the vet for your vaccinations.
The first few months of your pet's life will shape the way they feel and behave for the rest of their days - so it's pretty important! You can help you pet grow into a happy and well-rounded individual by exposing them carefully and appropriately to all the things they will need to encounter in life, such as people, children, dogs and other animals (and vets!).
It can be difficult to expose them to these things before they have had their second vaccinations and can safely go out and about, but staying around your house and garden and introducing your puppy to people and pets that you know is a way around this.
Giving them positive experiences at a young age will prepare them to go forward and approach future situations with confidence.