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Dan Givens
What was or is your favorite pet?

My favorite pets were the Irish Setter "Hudapole" and the three Irish Setter puppies, "Hoss," "Adam," and "Little Joe," that we snuck into the house when Mom went to town.

What should I feed my dog or cat? How much and often?

Kittens and puppies under 6 months need food that is high in protein. At this age, you should give them a food made especially for kittens or puppies. As they get older, they can switch to adult cat or dog food. Most people feed their pets twice a day; that is great, though some animals do better with 3 or 4 smaller meals throughout the day. When an animal is young, owners are often concerned with making sure their pet gets enough to eat. This is good and for about the first year it's okay to feed your pet as much as they'll eat. However, around this time, begin to follow the feeding instructions printed on the food packaging. Overeating is just as bad as undereating, and you want your pet to be healthy!

What shots do puppies and kittens need? When?

Puppies and kittens both need Rabies shots at 12 weeks of age. These can and should be administered by a veterinarian. Additionally, puppies need shots for Parvo (a virus that causes diarrhea) and Distemper (another contagious and often serious virus) beginning at 6 weeks. They'll need this series of shots at 6, 9, and 12 weeks. Kittens also need a series of shots at 6, 9, and 12 weeks that protect against FVR (feline viral rhinotracheitis, a resipratory disease), calcivirus infections (a range of diseases including pheumonia), and panleukopenia (also known as feline distemper, a lingering disease). These vaccinations are important for young animals to have as the antibodies they receive from their mothers' milk change and eventually stop.

What about dewormer? When should it be administered? Can I do that myself?

Dewormer should also be administered at 6, 9, and 12 weeks of age. This can be pretty easily administered yourself, but be very careful about dosage. Weigh your animal and administer the dewormer carefully according to the directions on the bottle.

What do you think is a good age for a child to get a pet?

The child's responsibility level is important to consider. The child probably should be past an age of licking, biting, or coloring on the pet. If the child is going to help care for the animal, they should be at an age where they are able and willing to take on some of the responsibilities of pet care. I would say this is usually around 8 years old.

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