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Establishing a Strong, Healthy Foundation

Puppies and kittens usually require multiple trips to our hospital to ensure healthy growth and development. The following schedules outline care plans that are typical for most young pets, but our team will always check to make sure specific needs are addressed.

Puppy Exam

Kitten Schedule

8 Weeks

  • FVRCP #1 (feline viral rhinotracheitis/calicivirus/panleukopenia)
  • Feline leukemia vaccine (FeLV) #1 (non-core vaccine)
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Feline leukemia/Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) testing
  • Begin parasite prevention protocol
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Litter box training

12 weeks

  • FVRCP #2
  • Feline leukemia vaccine #2
  • Stool exam and deworming

16 weeks

  • FVRCP#3
  • Rabies vaccine

6 months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping

Kitten Behaviors

7-14 Weeks

Provide an outlet for your kitten’s natural scratching behavior (e.g., a cat tree) and note whether there’s a preference for a specific texture or orientation (horizontal or vertical).

Purchase a high-quality kitten food and follow the serving guidelines.

Position a litter box or two in easily accessible areas. We recommend a minimum of one box per cat per floor. Scoop daily and clean weekly to ensure appropriate elimination behavior.

3-6 Months

Regular play times are important to the growth and development of your bond. Avoid rough play as this will encourage inappropriate nipping/scratching.

Schedule your kitten’s spay or neuter surgery. This procedure should occur by the time your pet is 6 months old.

Puppy Schedule

8 weeks

  • DHPP #1 (distemper/hepatitis/leptospirosis/parainfluenza/parvo virus)
  • Bordetella vaccine, if needed
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Begin heartworm prevention
  • Begin parasite prevention
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Behavioral training

12 Weeks

  • DHLPP #2
  • Dental assessment
  • Bordetella

16 Weeks

  • DHLPP #3
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Lyme and Influenza vaccines (recommended based on lifestyle)

6 Months

  • Stool exam and deworming, if needed
  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchipping

Puppy Behaviors

8-12 Weeks

Puppies this age are very playful and curious, so it’s important to puppy-proof your home. Provide lots of love, toys, and encouragement. Security and predictability are crucial.

Purchase a high-quality puppy food that lists a whole meat source as the first ingredient. Follow the serving guidelines.

Everything your puppy encounters will have a lasting impact, so remember this when determining house rules. We recommend a “puppy class” for controlled socialization with other puppies and their owners.

12-16 Weeks

This is when your puppy discovers where he or she falls in the pack (your family). Your role is to become the pack leader. Be consistent with rules and avoid dominance games such as tug-of-war or wrestling.

Reward all positive behaviors.

Consider starting a puppy obedience class.

5-18 Months

Many of the behavior issues during this time (urine marking, roaming, inter-species aggression, increased dominance) can be reduced or eliminated with spay or neuter surgery.

Energy levels are high and mental and physical exercise play a large role in keeping your pet healthy and well-behaved.


Microchipping your new puppy or kitten is critical to their safety. Please visit our page on Wellness & Preventive Care for more information about this important practice.

Kitty Exam

On the Web

Visit the official American Veterinary Medical Association YouTube Channel for many helpful videos regarding pet care.

The American Animal Hospital Association Pet Health Library offers a range of information about raising pets:

Enjoy these informational slideshows from the Pet Health Center at WebMD:

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