While puppies can change the entire dynamic of your family for the better, you will need to provide more than just love and snuggles. Our Montecito vets share some information about adding a new puppy to your life and a helpful checklist for what to expect during their first vet visit.
What Should I Expect During My Puppy's First Vet Visit?
During your puppy's first visit there are a number of key areas that your vet should examine and address. These are:
- the weight of the puppy
- listening to the heart and lungs
- taking a temperature reading
- examine the puppy's eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
- examine the puppy's skin and coat/fur
- taking a look at the teeth and mouth of your puppy
- palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
- examine the feces for the presence of worms (they will most likely request that you bring a fresh sample to the appointment)
- ask you important questions about the health history of your puppy and address any concerns that you have
- provide you with medications for your puppy and give you a full explanation of the medication, its dosage and purpose
What Are Some Helpful Items To Bring To The Vet?
If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more detailed information that you are able to provide your veterinarians the more specific the care for your pup can be and bringing certain items can make the visit more pleasant. Some of the things that you should bring are:
- any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- a written list of important questions or concerns that you might have
- notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you offer at home
- a dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels or shirts that smell like home
- a leash and collar or harness
- a chew toy for distraction
- small treats to reward good behavior
- any forms provided by your veterinarian that you have already filled out
- a stool sample, as fresh as possible
If you have a small puppy please bring them in a crate or suitable carrier for the comfort of you, your pup and the comfort of others that may also be at the clinic. Don't expect to be able to carry a wiggly puppy in your arms when visiting the clinic. Puppies must be kept under control at all times using a leash and collar or harness. This is where treats, toys and chews can be helpful.
What Are Some Good Questions To Ask During a Puppy's First Visit?
Your veterinarian should be able to give you all of the information you require to help your puppy grow. Based on the information above, if you have any questions that you believe they have overlooked, or if the information they have supplied is confusing, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.
Having said that, a list of questions can help make the most out of your first visit. Here is a list of some good questions to ask your vet during the visit.
Health & Safety Concerns
- How often does my puppy need to come to the vet?
- When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
- Should I microchip my dog?
- How many times a day should my puppy poop?
- Are there any health concerns specific to my puppy’s breed(s)?
- Does my puppy need flea and tick prevention?
- What is heartworm disease and why is prevention important?
Proper Training & Behavior
- When can my puppy go to the pet store/dog park/groomer?
- Do you recommend crate training?
- How long can she stay in her crate?
- How do you potty train a puppy?
- How much exercise does my puppy need?
- How do I socialize my puppy with other humans and dogs?
- Do you know any local trainers?
Diet & Nutrition For Puppies
- What should my puppy eat?
- How many times a day should my puppy eat?
- When do puppies switch to adult dog food?
What Are The Costs Associated With Vet Visits For Puppies?
The majority of what happens during a puppy's first vet appointment is routine, but costs can be determined by a variety of factors like location, vaccines, and prescribed medications. There are many options available out there to help manage the cost of veterinary care such as CareCredit financing.
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.