Care for Puppies & Kittens: A Foundation for a Healthy Life

Puppies and kittens grow at a fantastic rate, and starting them off on the right paw sets them up for a long and full life. Northern Valley Animal Clinic will partner with you to provide the best preventive care for the newest member of your family.

Wellness Puppy and Kitten Exams

puppy-kitten-care Our veterinarians recommend your puppy or kitten’s first wellness exam is around 8 weeks of age. They will check your new pet from nose to tail, looking for any subtle signs of concern, and will provide you with tips on proper nutrition and training to ease the difficulties of house breaking and behavioral issues.

Puppy and Kitten Vaccination Schedules

  • Puppies
    • Distemper combination—Puppies are given their first distemper combination vaccine at 8 weeks of age. They receive boosters three to four weeks apart until they are 16 weeks old, and then annually as adults.
    • Rabies—Puppies are given their first rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age, and then receive a booster at 1 year old. After that, dogs are given rabies vaccinations every three years.
    • Non-core vaccinations—Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, bordetella, and canine influenza are considered non-core vaccinations, which means that they are given to puppies based on your puppy’s unique lifestyle and risk factors. Our veterinarians will work with you to determine the best vaccination schedule for your puppy.
  • Kittens
    • Distemper combination—Kittens are given their first distemper vaccination at 8 weeks of age and receive boosters every three to four weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. From then on, they receive an annual booster.
    • Rabies—Kittens are given their first rabies vaccination at 16 weeks of age, and then receive boosters annually as adults.
    • Feline leukemia—While it is recommended that all kittens be tested for feline leukemia, the vaccination is only given to kittens at risk of contracting the disease. Our veterinarians will work with you to determine your kitten’s level of risk and whether the vaccine is appropriate for his or her situation.
    • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)—FIV is a non-core vaccine given only to cats at risk of contracting the disease. Our veterinarians will work with you to determine your kitten’s level of risk and whether vaccination is the appropriate course of action.

Parasite Prevention

  • Ticks and fleas —Care has to be taken when choosing a preventive for puppies and kittens, as the wrong dosage can be toxic to their small systems. Our veterinarians will advise you on safe and effective flea and tick preventives.
  • Heartworm —Depending on your puppy’s date of birth, he or she may need to be tested for heartworm before beginning preventives. Our veterinarians will work with you to determine proper preventive measures.
  • Intestinal parasites —Northern Valley Animal Clinic recommends all puppies and kittens be screened for intestinal parasites and treated as needed. A stool sample will be analyzed at our in-house lab and you will have the results before you leave your pet’s appointment.

Spaying and Neutering

Between the ages of 6 and 8 months, our veterinarians recommend puppies and kittens are spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering not only prevents unwanted litters, but it also provides a number of health and behavioral benefits, including:

  • Preventing cancers related to the reproductive system and hormones
  • Preventing territorial urination by males
  • Preventing females urinating around the house as an advertisement of heat cycle
  • Preventing male dog roaming
  • Reducing male aggression

Pet surgery at Northern Valley Animal Clinic is done using a surgical laser, which provides a safer procedure and allows pets to recover much quicker and in more comfort than traditional spaying and neutering.

If you have any questions about your puppy or kitten’s health, contact the helpful staff and veterinarians of Northern Valley Animal Clinic .

“I love when my dog Cash and I walk in the door and everyone greets us by name. It means a lot (to both of us! :)), and shows that you all really do care for your patients and guests. You guys are great! Thanks so much for everything!” -C. Johnson

“I chose Northern Valley when I got my first pet due to the extended hours during the week and on Saturdays. That is very helpful considering I work full time. The vets and techs are fantastic. They know my pets by name and are familiar with their medical history even without their charts in hand. All staff are very sweet to my animals.” -M. Moeller

“The vet was so nice and worked so well with Izzy, who is totally paranoid and afraid of other people. I appreciate his time to answer my questions and tell me how to keep Izzy healthy.” -R. Martin

“Thank you to all the wonderful staff of NVAC! You provide wonderful care to us and our owners. This year, we are particularly grateful for your care of Roger—he retrieved over 100 pheasants this season and is at his physical best—despite Addison s and ACL/broken leg—amazing!!!’ -Roger, Noel, Bella & Kiddy” J.&B. Oviatt

“Loved the tech who cut our dogs' nails. She did an excellent job!!! We have been coming to NVAC since 1992. It is so nice that everyone knows us and our pets. We appreciate all you have done for us over the years---esp. those Westie years!!” -C. Parker-Neiss

“The technician was very attentive and made sure to ask about my dog's weight history (we think there must have been an error on the previous visit). Both the vet and tech were accommodating to my dog's quirks (were very gentle with the ears and did not take the rectal temp as she freaks out and was not sick at the time of the visit). They were very kind to her and offered treats with the vaccinations. Even the receptionist made sure to pet her and offer a treat. My dog was not at all traumatized and was as happy as always when leaving. I felt all my questions were answered and I came away with good knowledge of my dog's health (fortunately it was great). I also bought some Heartguard and Frontline as flea and tick season will be upon us soon.” -L. Estes

“Northern Valley is fantastic. The attention and care that my pets and myself have received has been extraordinary, especially when dealing with a deathly ill animal. I really appreciated that the staff paid attention to my concerns and valued my thoughts and observations as we problem solved and determined treatment. I can't help but wonder if we would have had a negative outcome had I been at another vet. Thanks to the great staff for helping treat my kitty!” -M. Moeller

“Always a wonderful experience. Very professional and kind and friendly staff. Thank you! Vladimir had his hair cut by Shannon and she is amazing! She is kind and gentle with our robust pet. She is a brilliant groomer! We LOVE Shannon. Especially Vladimir.” -S. Palmer-Ziolkowski

“I am soooo very happy with Northern Valley Animal Clinic, and I am very grateful for all the care you all have taken care of all the pets we have had. Boozer, Sammy, Dolly, and now Izzy. I feel very confident in her care with you all. Thanks for being there.” -R. Martin

“The whole staff is awesome!!! Been there for/with me & my furkids in good times & in bad. Also, they are wonderful supporters of rescue groups.” -E. Meinecke

“They have treated me with such kindness. I had to put my little man to sleep, my 11-year-old ferret named Sid. Not only were they gentle and caring about the process, they sent me home with a little paw print keepsake. Thank you so much.” -D. Nicole

“Shannon is the best groomer!!” -M. Smith

“The staff were ALL very kind and seemed to truly like and appreciate the animals they were dealing with, they had good empathy with me and also my dear dog, who was their patient. I feel relieved to know that I have found a good "medical home" for my little animal family, at Northern Valley Animal clinic.” -N. Honeychuck

“We really appreciated being able to call at about 11:30 am on a Saturday and being able to be seen at 12:30 pm the same day. Meant a lot to us!” -J. Hill

“There is nothing more important than making sure that your pet is in good hands when it has a medical problem or needs preventative care. The team at Northern Valley Animal Clinic is wonderful and always treats you and your pets with respect. They have the knowledge and dedication to make sure that your furry family member is well taken care of. Every time we take our shelter animals into the clinic, they are always treated with the best of care and compassion. Thank you Northern Valley for all you do for the homeless animals and Paws and Claws!” -T. Johnson

“Dr. McKie really went above and beyond my expectations. I needed to bring my 2 young inquisitive children with me on the night of our cats' visit, and she let my children hear our pets' heartbeats and answered all of their questions even about animals that weren't even present! Thank you to her for giving us such a fun and exciting experience. My kids are still talking about it! Thanks again to all of the staff who made our night with their friendly service and willingness to answer questions!” -T . Tollefson

“Thank you, Thank you for the awesome grooming on my dear Ginger. My wife and I trust no one with our girl. Shannon was kind and warm to her which in turn made us very comfortable leaving Ginger in her care. Gin looked great when we picked her up and she did not seem to mind her ordeal at all. You guys are wonderful and we will be back. Thank you.” -J. Kapinos

“Woof Woof” -from Ginger

“You guys are great!!! I have a dog with lots of issues, and you guys always take good care of us! Thank you!!” -A. Reed