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Guarantee the Health of Your New Family Member

Congratulations! Raising a new puppy or kitten is fun and rewarding — and a lot of work! At Companion Animal Hospital, we want to make sure your new addition gets a healthy start to life. The following are typical care schedules for most young pets, but your veterinarian will help you develop an individualized plan for your puppy or kitten.


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
  • FeLV/FIV testing

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 growth and development. Avoid rough play as this will encourage inappropriate nipping/scratching.

Schedule your kitten’s spay/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
  • Optional Lyme vaccine #1 (non-core)

16 Weeks

  • DHLPP #3
  • Stool exam and deworming
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Optional Lyme vaccine #2 (non-core)

6 Months

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

Puppy Behaviors

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 considerations 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 may have a lasting impact, so remember this when establishing house rules.

Puppy Behaviors (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 games of dominance such as tug-of-war or wrestling.
  • Reward all positive behaviors.
  • Consider enrolling in puppy training courses.

Puppy Behaviors (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 spaying/neutering.
  • 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 crucial to his or her safety. Please contact us for more information about this important practice.


On the Web

American Animal Hospital Association:

WebMD Pet Health Center:

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