Bringing a new puppy into your home is a delightful and memorable experience. As a responsible pet owner, ensuring the well-being and health of your furry friend is paramount. One of the most crucial steps in this journey is your puppy’s first visit to the veterinarian.
Whether you own a small breed pet like a Sausage dog or a larger one like Siberian, this article is for you. Let’s walk through what to expect, how to prepare, and the essential questions to ask during your puppy’s inaugural vet visit.
Book an Appointment
It’s always recommended to call ahead and book an appointment to ensure that the vet has ample time to spend with your puppy. This will also give you an opportunity to inquire if there are specific requirements or paperwork to bring.
Bring Necessary Paperwork
Carry any records or information provided by the breeder or adoption agency. This typically includes vaccination records, birth details, and any health concerns that have been observed. Responsible breeders will have all these documents on-hand and ready for you when you take your puppy home.
Secure Your Puppy
Use a proper-sized carrier or a leash to ensure your puppy remains safe and is not overwhelmed by the new environment or other animals at the clinic.
Pack Essential Items
Consider bringing some of your puppy’s favourite toys or a blanket to provide comfort and reduce stress.
During the Visit
The visit usually begins with a technician weighing your puppy. Monitoring growth over subsequent visits will help ensure that your puppy is growing at a healthy rate. Keeping a detailed puppy weight chart on your own is also a good idea, so that you can adjust their feeding as necessary.
The veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination which will include:
- Checking the eyes, ears, and nose for any signs of infections or abnormalities.
- Listening to the heart and lungs.
- Examining the coat for parasites like fleas or ticks.
- Feeling the abdomen to ensure all internal organs are in order.
- Checking the teeth and oral cavity.
- Inspecting the paws and nails.
Depending on the age and previous vaccinations, your puppy might receive one or several shots. Common vaccines include distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and rabies.
The vet will discuss options for preventing fleas, ticks, and worms. Your puppy might receive the first dose during this visit, if they’re healthy enough – puppies that are underweight will generally need to bulk up to be able to handle the medication.
Discussion on Diet and Nutrition
Your vet will provide guidance on proper feeding amounts, types of food suitable for your puppy’s breed and age, and the importance of clean water.
Behaviour and Training
Some vets will offer advice or resources on basic training and behavioural expectations, though this is not a given. If you need to, enrol your puppy in training classes or start an online dog training course if they aren’t yet ready to interact with other animals.
Questions to Ask
While the veterinarian will provide a lot of information, it’s crucial to have your questions prepared. Consider asking:
- Is my puppy’s weight and growth on track?
- What vaccines will be needed in the future and what is their schedule?
- How often should I bring my puppy for check-ups?
- What signs of illness should I watch out for?
- Recommendations for spaying/neutering and the best age for the procedure.
- Dental care tips and when to start brushing their teeth.
- Any breed-specific concerns or health issues.
Monitor Your Puppy
After vaccinations, it’s not uncommon for puppies to feel a bit lethargic. However, if you notice extreme fatigue, swelling at the injection site, or any other concerning symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
Schedule Future Appointments
Based on your puppy’s age and needs, schedule the next round of vaccinations or general check-ups. Having these appointments already in your calendar will ensure that you’re less likely to miss one.
Start a Health Journal
Keeping a record of your puppy’s health, growth, and any concerns can be beneficial for future visits. Any concerns, no matter how small, can help your vet catch any health issues before they become serious.
Regular vet visits, even when your dog is fully grown, are crucial for early detection of any health issues.
Your puppy’s first vet visit is a foundational step in ensuring a long, healthy, and happy life for your new companion. By understanding what to expect and coming prepared, you can make the experience smooth and beneficial for both you and your puppy. Remember, establishing a good relationship with your veterinarian is key; they’re an indispensable resource in your puppy’s journey to adulthood.