Veterinarians: Send clients with new puppies and kittens home with good information on socialization. Download our client-ready handouts, available only to AVMA members.
PuppiesColor handoutBlack and white handout
KittensColor handoutBlack and white handout
Socialization is the process of preparing your dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities. Ideally, socialization should begin during the "sensitive period" which is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies, and 3 and 9 weeks of age for kittens.
There is a growing body of research into how to effectively socialize puppies and kittens. We have prepared a review of this material that you can view or download in PDF format. A simplified summary of the main findings is shown below.
Adopting a new kitten or puppy is a wonderful and exciting experience. It is also a time where a little extra planning can help a new pet develop the calm and confident temperament that will help them enjoy life to the fullest. The basic tennets of socialization are outlined below. The AVMA will be developing tools to help veterinarians and their clients create simple and fun plans tailored to the developmental needs of puppies and kittens in their first weeks and months of life.
We are also working on a kitten socialization weekly planner that will help new kitten owners understand the early development of kittens and the best types of socialization activities to provide at different ages. This tool will help veterinarians work with owners to provide a socialization plan tailored to the needs of their kitten.
If you are a veterinarian with expertise or interest in assisting with the development of AVMA socialization material, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Proper Puppy Socialization