Royal Canin’s expert advice for adopting a new puppy or kitten

There is nothing quite like bringing home a furry addition to your family. The arrival of your new puppy or kitten marks an exciting time in your life and in theirs.  But this can also be a daunting time - again, for both of you. Our experts at ROYAL CANIN® suggest the following to ensure the two of you get off to the right start and to ensure many happy years together.


Firstly, when adopting a puppy or kitten, choose your breed wisely - especially when it comes to dogs. Most dogs take between just 12 and 24 months to reach full-size and so it is important to consider the size of the dog your new puppy will grow into and whether or not your home will be able to accommodate its needs.

Life in a smaller home does not have to mean life without a dog. Some smaller, less energetic breeds do well in apartments, as long as they are walked regularly, and there are even some medium to large breed dogs that are well-suited to smaller homes, such as bulldogs. These more sedentary pets ae quite happy to while away their days in a comfy spot in the sunshine and are ideal for townhouse living. Cats are also well suited for indoor living and can be a great pet option for a smaller home.

It is crucial to ensure that you research the breed that appeals to you as many pets are given up for adoption after owners decide that Fido ‘talks’ too much, Rover is an escape artist and Digger – well, lives up to his name! Speak to your veterinarian or rescue organization who will happily help you decide on a pet that matches your lifestyle and expectations, eg: good with children, must be integrated into a multi-dog or multi-cat household, should be very social, loves exercise as the family is very active …

It is also important to consider that some breeds have unique needs or are prone to certain medical conditions. If you have a home with lots of steps - for example - a Dachshund might not be the best choice as these dogs often suffer from spinal problems, which can be exacerbated by the constant motion of bounding up and down steps.

Everything you need

In most cases, this is the very first time your new puppy or kitten will be away from her mother and it is important to make sure you have everything you need to make your pet feel as comfortable as possible in its new home. This includes:

•     Food: Your new puppy or kitten has a lot of growing to do and it needs a healthy and highly nutritious diet for that. The food you feed it has to combine the right quantities of proteins, minerals, trace elements, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates and other vital nutrients. Home-made meals are not recommended as it is extremely difficult to get this balance right yourself.

As a global pet nutrition company that focusses on highly digestible, highly palatable and specific diets for cats and dogs, ROYAL CANIN® provides targeted nutritional solutions for every pet. Have a look at the Breed-Specific diets for popular breeds of cats and dogs – these are especially tailored for the breed! ROYAL CANIN® also has a full range of prescription foods for pets with veterinary-diagnosed ailments and diseases.

•     Food and water bowls: Once you get your new puppy or kitten home, show him where these are and do not move them after that. Make sure your pet always has access to fresh food and water.

•     Toys: Toys can provide endless fun - for your new puppy or kitten and for you. Just be careful of purchasing toys with small parts that can be ripped or chewed off and swallowed. It is advised that you seek veterinary-approved chews and toys to ensure that your pet remains safe.

•     Litter box: If you are getting a kitten, a litter box is essential. Make sure you pick one that is deep enough to prevent litter flying around your home and big enough to avoid spills. The litter box should be kept well away from where you prepare food and be cleaned regularly. Once or twice a day is ideal.

•     Scratching post: Again, if you are getting a kitten then a scratching post – there are some great ones around with carpet and rope for example -- could save your furniture. Show the kitten where it is and encourage him to use it.

Puppy and kitten proofing

Your curious new puppy or kitten is experiencing the world for the very first time and just like a human baby, they will want to touch, taste and climb everything they sees. This can result in some sweet, made-for-camera moments but it can also end in tears and heartache. It is important to ensure your home provides your new puppy or kitten with a safe space to learn and grow.

•     All electrical wires should be kept out of reach and safety plugs should be placed in unused wall sockets.

•     Medication, household cleaning materials and garden pesticides should be locked away.

•     Any small objects that your puppy or kitten could swallow should be put out of reach.

•     Any plastic bags that are lying around should be packed away.

•     High balconies or window ledges should be secured so that your new puppy or kitten cannot access them.

        Pools should be fenced off or have a full pool cover (not just a net) over the surface.

        Ensure that your pet is never left unattended around hot water in a bath or a stove-top.

•     Trash bins and toilet seats should be closed and secured.


Visit your vet

Once you have taken ownership of your new puppy or kitten, it is advisable to bring him in to your local veterinarian for a full check-up as soon as possible. If he has not been vaccinated or dewormed yet, your veterinarian will do this immediately as it is crucial for the puppy or kitten’s health going forward. Your veterinarian will also be able to answer any questions you might have and advise you on any specific concerns.

Finally, make sure to visit your favorite pet retailer for all of your pet nutrition needs. 

For more information contact Royal Canin South Africa on 0860 630 063 or email


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