Weekly family rail, with pet-care tips, a review of “John Carter” and more.
Tip of the Week
Whether you found your new pet at a local shelter or through a breeder, it's important to have discussions about what veterinary care the youngster has already received. Many organizations and breeders make the effort to give puppies and kittens the necessary treatments in their earliest weeks of life, before they're ready to go home with new owners. However, you should remember that those steps are only the beginning - it's up to you to continue your pet's health care. Follow these tips to ensure that your pet's health stays on track for life.
- Fix at four. Spaying and neutering are an essential part of responsible pet ownership. However, even pet parents who know how important the procedure is might not be aware of how early a pet can start reproducing. Because kittens can get pregnant as early as 4 months and puppies at 6 months, Best Friends Animal Society urges pet owners to keep the principle of "fix at four" in mind. That means, in most cases, that you should spay or neuter at 4 months.
- Vaccinate regularly. Between 6 and 16 weeks of age, pets need a regular schedule of vaccinations. For dogs, vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus will likely be recommended by veterinarians; shots will typically be administered in three rounds, at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks. For cats, shots will generally include panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis and calcivirus and perhaps feline leukemia, depending on your vet's recommendations. Some of those are part of a combination vaccine given at 6-7 weeks, 10 weeks, 13 weeks and 16-19 weeks. Rabies vaccinations are also essential for both cats and dogs, and should be given regularly throughout your pet's lifetime.
- Keep up with preventive care. In addition to vaccines, you need to protect your pet from other threats to their health. Some of the most common concerns are ticks, fleas and worms. For both kittens and puppies, you can start fighting heartworm early, by beginning a program of heartworm medication at 6 weeks. If your puppy is older than 7 months and you're not sure whether he's been given heartworm medication in the past, you should have him tested before you start any prevention measures. Other worms, such as roundworms, whipworms and hookworms, can cause diarrhea and growth delays in your pet and are transmissible to humans. Luckily, they are fairly easy to keep in check with a regular deworming treatment schedule.
Family Movie Night
“John Carter,” now on DVD
Synopsis: Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.
Violence/scary rating: 4
Sexual-content rating: 2
Profanity rating: 2
Drugs/alcohol rating: 2
Family Time rating: 3. Not a bad family film if you stick with the rating, but according to critics, it’s a bad movie in general. Now that it’s cheaper to watch, you can decide for yourself.
(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)
“The Magic Half,” by Annie Barrows
Ages: 8 and up
Synopsis: Miri is the non-twin child in a family with two sets of them - older brothers and younger sisters. The family has just moved to an old farmhouse in a new town, where the only good thing seems to be Miri's 10-sided attic bedroom. But when Miri gets sent to her room after accidentally bashing her big brother on the head with a shovel, she finds herself in the same room . . . only not quite. Without meaning to, she has found a way to travel back in time to 1935, where she discovers Molly, a girl her own age very much in need of a loving family. - Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Did You Know
According to an article published in Pediatrics, fewer than one-third of moms who planned to breast feed for more than three months actually did so.
GateHouse News Service