How Young is Too Young?

We see it all the time. People wanting a 6 week old puppy or kitten, or stores selling them at this age. Many think the younger the better, this way they can truly bond with them and have them grow up the way they want them to. But did you know by adopting such a young puppy or kitten you could actually be setting them up to have behavioral issues as they get older?  We know a cute tiny puppy or kitten is hard to resist but in the end you might be very grateful for waiting.

Puppies are very cute and everyone is drawn to that one cute tiny puppy. youngBut a puppy should not be going to its new forever home until at least 8 weeks of age, 12 weeks is preferable. Here are some reasons why:

  • Puppies learn from their litter mates and mom socialization skills. Yes it is up to you to socialize your puppy frequently but a puppy first learns from its litter mates very crucial skills. Things like a dogs body language, and knowing when enough is enough. They could have dog issues later in life.
  • They also build up a stronger immunity system. Puppies do continue to nurse until 7 or 8 weeks of age when mom finally says enough. She will help them build a strong immunity. As well this is when they get their first shots and dewormed.
  • During the initial period of weaning, the puppies learn how to deal with their anxiety. This process isn’t easy on them but they will be able to overcome it and as such have a stronger immunity to severe anxiety.
  • At this point you can start to judge more their personality. Usually 12 weeks its already forming strongly. So your shy, quiet pup who liked to cuddle as a 6 week old could now be an overactive hyper 12 week old puppy which you didn’t want.
  • From 4 weeks to 12 weeks old is a crucial period in a young puppies life. This is the time they truly learn everything and this is the time mom starts teaching them everything.
  • By taking them from their littermates so early they has less of a coping method and can quickly become very anxious and have a lot of anxiety.

young2Kittens are so adorable at this stage. So tiny and cute, they can fit in the palm of your hand. But keeping them with mommy and their litter mates until they are at least 8 weeks old can mean that you will get a cat later on who is more confident and less scared.

  • Kittens learn from mom how to use the litter box, they also learn from their littermates. They start using it like a pro as they get older. Taking them to early could cause litter box accidents.
  • Kittens do continue to nurse until 8 weeks old. It builds their immunity to diseases and infections. It is also the time they get their first sets of shots and dewormed.
  • Litter mates love to play, and its during this time they learn how to play properly and gently. They also learn body language as well.
  • Like puppies, it’s a time of weaning for kittens so they learn to handle with stress effectively.
  • Let’s face it at 6 weeks old kitten are tiny, very tiny. As such you will have to be extra cautious in handling. Bones can be easily broken by hugging to tightly. If you have young kids waiting until a kitten is older would be a great idea as young kids don’t understand not to hug too tightly and accidently hurt them.
  • Kittens taken too early don’t have the best ability to adjust to new situations. They become fearful and hide frequently even as adults.

Vets all agree it’s important for puppies and kittens to stay with mom until young3at least 8 weeks old. In most states in the US it is illegal to adopt or sell any animals under 8 weeks of age. And in Canada they might be following suit. Good breeders would never ever sell a puppy under 8 weeks of age nor any good rescues. Sadly some feel if they are eating solids then they are ready to go which is not the case. They may be ready physically but mentally they are far too young to cope with the trauma of a whole new life without momma and litter mates. Before you decide to adopt such a young kitten or puppy think if it’s the right thing to do for that puppy or kitten. Waiting a few more weeks to give them the best chance in life will be truly be worth it in the end.

And, if you really can’t live without the cuteness a young animal brings, think about fostering a litter.