Home for the Holidays: Your New-Pet Checklist
Did you bring home a new pet for the holidays? Welcoming a furry member to the family is an exciting time, and it can be easy to forget a few simple but important steps to ensure life with your new dog or cat begins on the right paw.
Get a head start on a happy, healthy life together with these tips.
Visit Your Veterinarian ASAP
If you’ve adopted your new pet from a shelter, chances are he has already been vaccinated, neutered, and microchipped—but it’s still important to follow up with a visit to your veterinarian.
A nose-to-tail wellness exam, which includes an assessment of your pet’s heart, lungs, eyes, ears, mouth, skin, and haircoat, as well as overall body palpation, allows your veterinarian to determine a baseline for your pet’s health status and identify any potential problems. Your veterinarian may also update any necessary vaccines or recommend lab tests, such as blood work, urinalysis, or a fecal screening, at this time.
During this visit, your veterinarian will also want to discuss your pet’s health at home—including nutrition, weight, behavior, training, grooming, exercise, and preventive care—and address any questions or concerns.
Register Your Pet’s Microchip
These days, most adoptable animals leave the shelter with a microchip—a tiny device that is implanted under the skin and associated with a unique identification number. Scanners at veterinary hospitals, humane societies, and animal shelters across the country can detect these chips, and national registries permit the safe return of microchipped pets throughout the United States and Canada.
However, microchipping your dog or cat alone is not enough. You must also register your dog or cat’s microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information current, especially if you move to a new address or change your phone number.
To register an existing microchip, you will need to contact the manufacturer directly to provide your contact information. If you do not know the manufacturer of your pet’s microchip, the American Animal Hospital Association’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool can help. This internet-based application is linked to the registries of the most microchip manufacturers and allows a quick database search of any microchip made by these manufacturers. Simply enter your pet’s microchip number and the application will generate the name of the manufacturer.
Don’t know your pet’s microchip number? We’re happy to help! Simply bring your pet to the hospital and we will scan him for you.
Not microchipped yet? We can take care of this during your first veterinary visit. It only takes a few minutes and we can register your pet immediately.
Consider Pet Insurance
There's no time like the present when it comes to insuring a pet—especially if you've got a new puppy or kitten! While most pet health insurance policies cover a wide range of ailments, you should be aware that pre-existing conditions can limit your pet's coverage options, so it's best to start as early as possible.
Pet insurance is a healthcare policy that helps cover the costs of veterinary care if your pet becomes ill or injured. Like human health insurance, you'll pay a monthly premium—usually determined by your pet's species, breed, and age—and depending on the policy, your insurance company will cover a portion of certain treatments and procedures.
Most pet insurance plans cover illnesses and injuries, but do not provide coverage for preventive care, such as annual exams, vaccinations, lab work, and routine dental cleanings. Some other types of care, such as complimentary therapy or behavior modification, may also be excluded from coverage; however, many providers offer coverage for these types of care for an additional premium.
Not sure if pet insurance is right for you? We're happy to weigh in. Your veterinary team can provide valuable information about your new pet's current health status and potential risks to help you determine whether insurance might be a worthy investment.
Congratulations on your new addition! As always, if you have questions about the best care for your pet, please contact your veterinarian. Don't have one yet? We can help you find a local veterinarian.