If you've just welcomed a new puppy into your family, our veterinarians at Pittsboro are here to assist you every step of the way during your first visit to the vet. We have compiled a thorough checklist to help you prepare for this important milestone in your puppy's life.
When should you take your puppy for its first vet visit?
Make sure to schedule your new puppy's first vet visit shortly after bringing them home. During this visit, the vet will review their records, give them a physical exam, and check for any health issues. It's important to take your puppy for regular check-ups, which usually occur every 3-4 weeks from 6-8 weeks old until 4-5 months old.
Typically, the first vaccinations for puppies are given when they are 6-8 weeks old. However, if your puppy is older than 4-5 months, the vaccinations can be administered in two separate visits, spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Your vet may adjust the vaccination plan based on your puppy's specific needs.
Before your vet appointment, gather as much information as you can about your puppy.
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
Small puppies will feel more at ease and secure while traveling in a crate. Don't assume you can carry your puppy in your arms when they encounter new things at the clinic. Be prepared for unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. Remember to bring a harness or leash to manage your dog if they feel anxious or overwhelmed.
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)
Questions to Ask the Veterinarian
Your vet will provide all the necessary information to care for your puppy, but be sure to review the important topics. If you have any questions or need clarification, don't hesitate to ask.