You have finally taken the leap and added a new puppy to your family! While this is very exciting you must now think about bringing them in for their initial wellness exam. Here, our Orange vets share some valuable information about what to expect at your puppy's first vet visit and what you should bring.
When to Take a Puppy to the Vet for the First Time
While your new puppy will likely have had a vet visit and basic veterinary care prior to going home with you it never hurts to bring them to your own vet for a complete examination and introduction visit. When you picked up your puppy you should also have received paperwork that documents the care they already had and when you should schedule your puppy’s next veterinary visit.
At this first visit with your own vet, you will have the opportunity to learn about anything that wasn't stated in the documents and to speak with your vet about a plan for caring for your puppy going forward.
The doctor will also perform a complete physical examination and perhaps run some laboratory tests to identify any potential health concerns. It’s best to learn about problems as soon as possible before any health guarantees the breeder provides expire.
A typical vet schedule for puppies is for appointments to occur every 3 to 4 weeks starting when puppies are 6 to 8 weeks old and ending when they are 4 or 5 months old.
Once your puppy is approximately 6 to 8 weeks old they will begin to get their routine vaccinations.
Puppies who receive their first vaccinations when they are older than 4 or 5 months of age can usually be caught up in two visits scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart. Your vet may adjust this plan based on your puppy’s particular history and needs.
Before your appointment, you should collect as much information as possible to help the visit go as smoothly as possible.
Puppy’s First Vet Visit Checklist
- Any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- A written list of important questions
- Notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you have
- Dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels
- Leash and collar or harness
- Chew toy for distraction
- Small treats to reward good behavior
- Any forms provided by your vet that you have already filled out
- A stool sample, as fresh as possible
If you have a small puppy you should transport them to their vet visit in a small crate. This will help them feel safer and more comfortable. Do not assume that you will be able to hold your puppy in your arms when they experience all the new sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic. A harness or leash will be beneficial to help control your dog if they become scared, excited or overstimulated.
What to Expect During Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit
Along with having a thorough discussion about the health history of your puppy and any concerns they will also perform a physical examination that includes:
- A weight check
- A complete physical examination, which includes
- Observing the puppy move around the exam room
- Looking at the whole body including the eyes, ears, nose, feet, nails, skin, coat, and genitalia
- Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs
- Checking reflexes
- Measuring temperature and pulse and respiratory
- Opening the mouth to check out the teeth, gums, and other structures
- Checking the eyes and ears
- Palpating the lymph nodes, joints, and organs within the abdomen
Your vet and their trained staff will discuss a number of areas of puppy care with your during the first visit including:
- Dental care
- Grooming needs
- Flea, tick, heartworm, and internal parasite control
- Vaccination schedules
- Exercise and play requirements
- Behavior and socialization
- Pet identification, including microchips and tags
- Reproductive health, including the benefits and risks of spaying and neutering
- Travel requirements
- Pet safety and disaster preparedness
- Diseases that can be spread from pets to people
What to Ask Your Vet on the First Puppy Visit
While the topics listed above are good to know about your vet will be able to provide you with complete and detailed information about how to care for your new furry companion. You can also take some time to ask the vet about the puppy's first vet visit cost and what each item on the bill covers. If your vet forgot to talk about something or the information they provided was confusing, don’t hesitate more questions.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.