Are you a proud pet parent of a new puppy? Our Powder Springs vets share everything you need to know about preparing for your puppy's first vet visit and what will happen during the initial appointment.
When to Take a Puppy to the Vet for the First Time
Many puppy shelters and breeders send puppies for their first vet visits before the little ones are sent to new pet parents.
The shelter or breeder should provide paperwork that clearly states what type of care the puppy has already received, when it was provided, and when the next veterinary visit should be scheduled.
That said, regardless of the care your puppy has already received, it's always a good idea to book a new puppy vet visit within a few days of welcoming your new canine companion into your home. This will give the vet a chance to review your puppy's records and quickly provide any overdue care.
The veterinarian will also conduct a complete physical examination and may run some laboratory tests to identify any potential health issues. It's best to have any problems diagnose as soon as possible, before any health guarantees the breeder provides expire.
Puppies should be put on a vet schedule and attend appointments every 3 to 4 weeks, starting when they are 6 to 8 weeks old and ending when they are 4 or 5 months old.
Most puppies start their vaccinations when they are between 6 and 8 weeks old.
If puppies are older than 4 or 5 months of age when they receive their first vaccinations, they can usually be caught up in two visits scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart. Depending on your puppy's specific history and requirements, your veterinarian may revise this plan.
Before your appointment, collect as much information about your puppy's health status as possible.
Puppy's First Vet Visit Checklist
- Any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- 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
Small puppies will be more comfortable and safer if they travel in a crate. Remember to use a harness or leash on your pup during their vet visits, as experiencing all the new sounds, sights and smells at a vet clinic can be overwhelming for them and leave them feeling stressed or excitable.
What to Expect During Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit
Veterinary staff will start the visit by asking you a series of questions about your puppy’s history and how they are doing at home, followed by:
- 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
Throughout all the new puppy vet visits, the veterinary staff will discuss many important aspects of puppy care with you, 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 (and vice versa)
Your Puppy's First Vet & Costs for Veterinary Care
Depending on your puppy's health status and whether your vet identifies any health concerns during their first visit, the costs for your furry friend's appointment can vary. Ask your veterinarian how much you should budget for your puppy's checkups. You may also want to consider purchasing a Wellness Plan for your pet.
What to Ask on Your Puppy's First Vet Visit
Your vet should provide you with all the information that you need to help your puppy thrive, but never hesitate to ask questions or address concerns either during your visits or in between appointments.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.