Socializing puppies and kittens is not just about teaching them how to get along with other puppies or kittens. Our young domesticated pets need to learn how to interact with experiences they will encounter in our modern world, as they grow into adulthood. They need socializing to accept everything around them – people, other animals, grooming, car rides, vacuum cleaners, various noises, and more.
When is it Best to Socialize a Puppy or Kitten?
The best time to begin socialization is between weeks 3-14 for puppies and weeks 2-7 for kittens. During this critical growth period, youngsters are able to easily form attachments. Any experiences that happen are likely to have long-lasting effects. Unfortunately, this applies to negative experiences as well as positive ones, so it’s critical to avoid doing anything that might prove harmful. Here are some pointers towards achieving successful socialization.
Interact with Your Pet Every Day
Help your pet become comfortable with being touched by humans by handling them on a daily basis. Gently touch your pet on the face, ears, and paws and restrain them by holding them lightly in place. These procedures will promote calmness for future nail or claw clippings, veterinary check-ups, grooming sessions, etc. Promote low-key interactions with family members and others (including children), so they become accustomed to meeting new people.
Create New Experiences
Expose your pet to situations they will experience in the future – car journeys, being inside a carrier, grooming procedures, vet trips, etc. Introductions to new people, animals, and experiences should be carried out in ways that don’t create fear. If your pet becomes scared, scale back the interaction to a more comfortable level. This might mean letting them observe instead of participate, sidetracking them with treats, or positioning them farther away. Just remember to keep things relaxed.
The aim of socialization is to get your puppy or kitten to interact with people, other animals, and things so that they become comfortable and unafraid within their environment. So, don’t concentrate on reinforcing commands or proper behaviors that will deflect your pet’s attention from his new experiences. Stricter disciplinary training can come later.
What if my Puppy or Kitten Isn’t Fully Vaccinated?
Exposure to other puppies and kittens who are not old enough to have received all their vaccines is ok in the right setting. The American Kennel Club advises that the risk of infection for parvovirus in properly run puppy classes is minimal if the place is clean and sanitary and the puppies are otherwise healthy and up-to-date on vaccines for their age groups.
What are the Consequences of Not Socializing Puppies and Kittens?
Pets not properly socialized are likely to be fearful of people and other animals. Lack of adequate socialization makes it difficult for dogs and cats to live easily with others and may be a cause of them ending up in animal shelters. While CVETS can’t socialize your puppy or kitten for you, we can help with any kind of emergency situation at any stage in their lives. So, for first-class emergency care in the Columbia, South Carolina area, don’t hesitate to bring your pet to us.