Your puppy’s first visit to the vet
Before you bring your adorable new dog home, plan your puppy’s first vet visit. Register with a local veterinarian to make sure you are prepared. When you have your new puppy, make an appointment and let them know it’s a new puppy health check-up. Your vet may want to give your pup a little more time than the usual 10-minute exam to make sure everything is going on on the right foot.
What happens when your puppy visits the vet for the first time?
At the first consultation, your puppy will be thoroughly examined and your veterinarian will speak to you about puppy vaccinations. Details of previous treatments your breeder or rescue center should have provided are helpful to bring with you. They chat about common problems like worms and fleas, including how to treat and prevent them (which your breeder or rescue center should have given you details about), as well as microchiping, neutering and any questions you may have about puppy health care. You can also talk about feeding, exercising, and grooming.
- During your puppy’s first consultation, the veterinarian will go through a general wellbeing checklist that may include:
- Look at their skin and fur
- Weigh them
- Examine their teeth
- Listen to your heartbeat through a stethoscope
- Measure your temperature
Make sure to also ask for details about puppy owner groups and dog training classes held at the practice or nearby as these will help your pup with training and socialization.
Tips for a smooth first puppy vet outing
- Go to the vet’s office
If walking to your local veterinarian is possible, don’t hesitate to leave the car at home. A nice walk will relax your pup and add to a positive experience.
- Use treats
Bring your pup’s favorite treats to every vet visit. Whatever makes her tail wiggle make sure you have it with you and chances are your pup may even develop a feather in his crotch on the way to the vet.
- Avoid long waiting times
If possible, try to book your puppy’s vet visit first thing in the morning. There will likely be fewer people and dogs sharing the waiting room, which will help keep your pup calmer. Another great tip is to leave the dog outside until you are called.
What does a puppy vet visit cost?
The Cost of your puppy’s check-ups depends on your dog’s health and where you live. A young puppy will need a series of vaccinations that add to the initial cost. So be ready for the first vet bill that reflects this. However, when it comes to regular puppy checkups, the cost will likely come down. Unless your puppy is in need of special medication, most veterinary trips are not signed out of pocket.
If your puppy is not yet insured, discuss this too, as the guidelines have different advantages and disadvantages. Your veterinarian can help you make a decision about what is best for your pup. We have answered the most common questions about puppy insurance in a detailed article.
Puppy health checklist
Microchips are important and as of April 2016, all dogs in the UK must be microchipped for over 8 weeks. A simple injection that does not require an anesthetic is implanted into the microchip. Rest assured that if your dog is ever lost, it can be safely returned to you by anyone who finds it.
It is the responsibility of breeders to ensure that all puppies are microchipped before they are sold or given to their new owner. Make sure you check with the breeder/rescue center that your puppy has been microchipped and that the new details match yours to avoid problems later.
Your vet should send you a reminder when your dog’s vaccinations are due or give you one Puppy vaccination Schedule to keep you updated. The timing will depend on which vaccination is required but may include prevention of distemper, leptospirosis, adenovirus, parvovirus, and parainfluenza, and Bordetella (kennel cough). If you are planning to take your dog overseas, you must also get your dog vaccinated against rabies as part of the Pet Passport program. Note that some European countries still need vaccinations against rabies
3. Fleas, ticks, and worms
Another situation where proactivity pays off is fighting fleas, ticks, and worms. Remember that fleas, or at least their larvae, can live in your home and garden year-round, and ticks can transmit nasty diseases. When you first consult your puppy, the vet can advise you on flea and tick prevention, as well as treating your puppy against tapeworms, roundworms, and, if necessary, lungworms.
What happens after your puppy’s first visit to the vet?
Ideally, your veterinarian should see your puppy at least once a year and more often at the beginning or if there are special medical needs. These regular visits play a big role in the “prevention is better than cure” approach. So don’t hold back the appointment just because your dog appears fit and healthy to you. Your vet will examine your puppy, including listening to the heart and lungs, running hands over his stomach to look for any unusual signs, checking for skin, fur, eyes, and ear problems, and scanning the microchip to see if it is working to order.
Another benefit of these annual checkups is that your dog gets used to visiting the veterinarian’s office when he’s fine. Only visiting when injured or sick can make them nervous seeing the vet and associating their trips with bad times or stressful experiences. It’s a good idea to go to the veterinarian’s office every now and then, even if you don’t have an appointment. The receptionists and vets will always appreciate a cuddle and it will create a positive memory for your furry friend.