Your First Puppy & Kitten: A Guide for New Pet Owners

Congratulations on your new bundle of furry joy! As the proud parent of a new puppy or kitten, you have your work cut out for you. Bringing in a new family member can be challenging but is very rewarding. Take great care of your puppy or kitten, and you’ll have a best friend for life! Raise them confidently with our handy guide for new pet owners.

Puppy and kitten cuddle in a field | Big RFor Your New Baby Kitten


Welcome all feline lovers and new parents! How does it feel to have one of the most adorable baby animals the earth has to offer? Use these tips to make sure you’re the one human your kitten won’t be plotting against.

First the dot, then the world kitten meme | Big R

Kitten Comfort

Keep in mind that bringing your kitten home can be very frightening for their little bodies and big imaginations. Without their mom or siblings, bedtime can feel lonely and unsafe in their new environment. This is why picking the right bed for them is absolutely key! They need a secure and warm space that will imitate the feeling of littermates surrounding them. Extra blankets, pillows, and a cozy bed will definitely keep your new family member feeling happy and safe. The absolute best bed pairing would be the kitty crinkle sack paired with a hooded bed to give you kitten all the comfort they deserve! Another tip, try to keep their bed in a quiet place – away from windows and doors because of traffic and outside noises.


Kitten Food

Surprisingly, kittens should have a completely different diet than cats up until age 1. Healthy food for kittens should contain extra protein, fats, and calories (unfortunately not true for adult humans) because it helps develop muscles, tissue, and fatty acids in their bodies. For example, Purina’s Kitten Chow is the perfect balance of flavor and health that’ll fuel body and brain development. It’ll be your kitten’s favorite meal in no time! Canned food, dry food, or both works perfectly for kittens, but it’s good to feed them several times throughout the day because of their small tummies!

And we all know that a kitten’s first love is of course….MILK! Make sure you don’t give them cow’s milk,  but rather give them a mother’s milk replacer that can be found in any local pet store.


Kitten Litter Box Training

This might be the one not-so-cute thing about your very cute kitten. But don’t be scared – kittens are naturals with it comes to the litter box! Using the litter box will come instinctively to kittens but there are a few things you can do to ease the process. You’ll want to make sure the litter box has low enough edges for you kitten to easily get in and out of. Also, avoid the clumping litter because your little one might accidentally swallow the clumps – just stick with the regular stuff.


For Your New Baby Puppy


There’s a reason for the saying “a dog is man’s best friend.” They’re loyal, friendly and incredibly easy to love! Get ready for a life of doggy adventure, fun and undeniable cuteness all thanks to your new best bud.


You love me and I love you, Also I peed on the couch memePuppy Potty Training

Let’s be honest, you’re probably already treating your puppy like your baby. Keep that up in their training, too! Just like babies, puppies do best when they are on a regular routine. Get into the habit of taking them outside every couple of hours to a designated spot to relieve themselves. You should take them out every morning, before and after playing/eating, and once more before bedtime. Each time they go in the correct spot, praise them! Give them their favorite treat and celebrate. Make sure to give them the treat immediately, when you are both outside, so they know that pottying in the correct spot is a good thing.


As with any new learning, there will be mistakes. So when you catch your sweet puppy ruining your expensive rug or couch, interrupt them by shouting “NO” or “OUTSIDE” and taking them to their designated spot outside. Don’t feel the need to punish them anymore – they understood what happened. Lastly, make sure to completely clean the spot so there is no smell for them to recognize.


Puppy Supervision

Supervising your puppy as much as you can will help keep them out of trouble. During those times you can’t supervise them, it’s okay to confine your puppy in a big and comfortable space while you’re away. Try using with a collar, harness, or leash to keep them in one spot while giving them flexibility to move around.


Puppy Food

Wet food or dry food is fine for puppies; it just depends on preference. Regardless of what you choose, the food should be free from chemical preservative and anonymous meat ingredients. No one wants questionable meat! Find food with meat-based protein and modest carbohydrate content. These are essential to the pup’s healthy diet and will taste much better to them then some of the artificial ingredients. Give Canidae’s wet or dry dog food a try. It’s for dogs at all stages of life and gives you confidence in the ingredients you’re putting in your puppy’s body.



You may not think that toys are all that necessary for you puppy, but they are absolutely vital! Not only does it help relieve boredom, it helps form their behavior as they grow and mature. If you don’t give them toys to play with, your puppy will definitely make a toy out of your shoes or chair… That’s why having a pile of toys in the house will keep both of you sane!

That pile should include toys that will keep your puppy active, distracted and comfortable. Dogs, and especially puppies, are active in nature and need toys that will reflect and promote that lifestyle. Toys like the rope ball tug toy or tennis balls are perfect for activity! Distraction toys, like the marathon ball, are great because it allows them to play with a delicious treat while staying calm. Plush toys are great comfort toys that puppies love to have around.

When making the perfect toy purchase, make sure to match the size of the toy with the size of the puppy!


The New Family Member


Welcoming a furry four-legged member into your family is equal parts exciting and scary. Start with these tips and bits of advice to ease the new pet process. Big R has all your pet essentials for a happy homecoming and a lifetime of furry friendship.

About Big R

Bill and Pat Crabtree originated the Illinois Big R Stores in 1964 opening the first store in Watseka, Illinois. To date 20 stores have been opened in Illinois and Indiana; 2 stores in Ohio and 1 store in Wisconsin and we are still proud to be family-owned and operated. Our 12 Illinois stores are located in Watseka, Gibson City, Danville, Tilton, Pontiac, Morris, Pekin, Washington, Rochelle, Homer Glen, Streator and McHenry. Our 8 Indiana stores are located in Warsaw, 2 locations in Elkhart, Rochester, Wabash, Crawfordsville, Michigan City, and Marion. Our 2 stores in Ohio are located in Lima and Findlay. And 1 location in Wisconsin in Burlington. The offices and warehouses for Big R remain in Watseka, IL. Farm and Ranch store owners in the western states started the Big R brand name; they chose the name "Big R" to convey the "Ranch" identity. The Big R group is now comprised of 12 independent owners with store locations throughout the U.S. They all are members of Mid-States Distributing Company of St. Paul, MN. The Mid-States Coop has over 600 stores throughout the United States and Canada.