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It is time to get ready for the new arrival. They will need a place to sleep. You may want to buy a few

toys for playtime. Oh, and be prepared for some sleepless nights while they adjust to their new surroundings. In this case, however, the new arrival is not an infant but a fur baby. And caring for a puppy or kitten presents some of the same challenges a newborn poses.

A puppy should spend the first few nights sleeping in a crate in your room. Put a puppy pad in one corner of the crate because they likely will notbe able to get through the night without urinating.

As for kitties, make sure they know where the litter box is. You can also place a cozy cat bed in your bedroom. Cats will meow, and puppies will probably whimper and cry at first, especially if they have just been separated from their mom.

We humans know how critical health care is, so make sure you have selected a veterinarian to give your new peta thorough exam and set a vaccine schedule as soon as possible.

Talk with your vet about when your pet will be spayed or neutered and about getting your pet microchipped with your contact information if they escape the yard or house. Also, ask the vet for nutritional recommendations because many choices are available, from kibble to canned and “fresh food.”

If you are considering pet insurance,ask your vet for a recommendation ordo your own search. Pet insurance for cats and dogs ranges from the low $20s a month to $40 or more, depending on the type of policy. Most pet owners will choose accident and illness coverage with a low deductible of $250. Be forewarned — premiums increase like ours, and most insurance options do not cover pre- existing conditions.

Experts recommend interactive playtime with your kitty at least twice daily for about 15 minutes each session. Many suggest four 10-minute sessions a day for mental and physical enrichment. Dogs require more hands-on care, so be prepared for the commitment needed. Take the pup out on a leash every hour for potty training. Depending on the breed, your dog may need a lot of exercise; otherwise, prepare for them to get into some mischief in the house. Keep puppies and kittens away from exposed electric cords and cleaning supplies. Yes, even for cats who have nine lives. Speaking of cats, buy a scratching post or two, or the kitty will likely use your couch for one.

Puppies explore with their mouth and nose, so train yours early with treatsto stay away from your comfy slippers and keep their snout out of the trash can and away from the table when food is present. Because cats are climbers, be prepared to find them where they don’t belong. A pet clicker effectively discourages pets from misbehaving without shouting at them.

Even if you work remotely and are home every day, it is healthy for puppies to socialize. Enroll them in doggie daycare, where they can interact with other dogs and people. Leave the house for a half hour or so a few times a week so your puppy won’t develop separation anxiety. The safe bet is to keep your dog in a crate when you are away, and no oneelse is home. They will be thrilled to see you whether you have been gone for 15 minutes or a couple of hours. Cats may be more independent but must also get accustomed to some alone time. Pet care is a lot of work but look at it this way: Your fur baby will never ask whether they can borrow the car on weekends.


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