Although we at the NCSPCA advocate strongly that pet owners should spay or neuter their pets to avoid unwanted litters, we also feel it is important to emphasize at what age a young animal can safely leave his mother for adoption. Too often we find litters of kittens at our doorstep in a box without their mother, only days or a few weeks old, too young to be on their own. If you do have a litter of kittens or puppies, when is the best time to seek a new home or to contact the NCSPCA about adoption?
Kittens are generally litter trained and fully on solid food between 6 and 8 weeks of age. Although it is possible to raise a kitten without his mother at this age, the general consensus is that he really isn't ready to find a new home until 12 weeks of age. At that time, his immune system is more fully developed, and his other body functions become more independent, readying him for the world without mom. For puppies, six weeks is ordinarily the age at which they are playing vigorously with their littermates, seeking human attention, and exploring. Although they can be adopted out at this age, an additional 10-14 days is ideal to help them fully develop strong relationships with humans and avoid potential behavior issues around other dogs. Your 7-8 week old puppy is at an ideal stage to find his "forever" home. It is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian for the best specific age for your dog's breed.
Our featured pet this week is Lucy, a Bluetick Coonhound/mix with a winsome face of brown, black, and white and black circles around her eyes. Lucy is a sweetheart of a dog who would love to spend time in a home where there are plenty of opportunities for both exercise and affection. She enjoys going outside for walks and happily prances down the road. She is a well-mannered young lady who is calm and polite with all her new buddies at the shelter. With her easygoing personality, Lucy will make a stellar pet, and with that adorable face and beautiful black and white coat, what are you waiting for?