Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit: What To Expect

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Taking your puppy to the vet for the first time can be challenging. Whether it’s the sterile environment, unfamiliar people, or strange medical tools, a vet’s office is scary for any first-timer.  However, taking your puppy to the vet just seems more intimidating than it really is! Your veterinarian will help guide you in maintaining […]

Taking your puppy to the vet for the first time can be challenging. Whether it’s the sterile environment, unfamiliar people, or strange medical tools, a vet’s office is scary for any first-timer. 

However, taking your puppy to the vet just seems more intimidating than it really is! Your veterinarian will help guide you in maintaining your fur-baby’s health while diagnosing any health issues.

Of course, your little buddy won’t be too happy being handled and touched by a stranger but it’s a necessary part of their wellbeing. You can put off their first vet visit until they reach 10 weeks of age. 

Just remember that waiting too long can put your puppy at risk of getting serious diseases. You also won’t be able to fully socialize your puppy until they’re vaccinated, which requires visits to the vet. 

The sooner you bring your puppy to the vet, the faster you ensure your puppy is healthy and ready to explore the world.

There are countless tips that can make your furry friend’s first vet visit an incredible experience. In this blog, we take a look at some key things you should expect before your puppy’s first vet visit.

What happens during a puppy’s first vet visit? 

Don’t be shy when it comes to your puppy’s vet visit! Most veterinarians are resourceful and friendly. They want to help your puppy stay healthy, and educate you on how to keep them that way! 

During your puppy’s first visit, your vet will usually begin with a physical exam. This exam is thorough and involves the following:

  • Weighing your puppy
  • Listening to the heart and lungs
  • Taking temperature
  • Evaluating the eyes, ears, nose, abdomen, and other body parts
  • Assessing the skin and coat
  • Examining their teeth and mouth
  • Testing puppy’s stool for worms (you may need to bring a stool sample)
  • Addressing any questions or concerns about your puppy’s history, health issues, medications, treatment options, and other aspects of their care.

If you’re taking your puppy’s medication home, be sure you know when or how to give it to your puppy. Your vet may attach a letter or schedule a follow-up appointment. They may also create a vaccination schedule for routine core vaccinations. 

Don’t forget to bring important documents with you on the first visit so that your vet can add these to your puppy’s current files. 

When should your puppy’s first vet visit be?

Your puppy should start seeing the vet as soon as they turn 6 to 8 weeks old. Take note of your breeder’s practices before you get your pup vaccinated. 

If you notice your puppy displaying illness symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, low appetite, increased thirst, watery eyes, or irritability, take your little buddy to the vet immediately. 

These symptoms are a sign of an undetected health condition that can be dangerous for your puppy. The sooner your puppy is checked by a licensed vet, the faster they will receive treatment for their health issues. And we all know that a healthy puppy is a happy life!

What do you bring to your puppy’s first vet visit?

Some breeders start vaccinating their puppies early so that they go to their new homes fully protected. Your puppy’s breeder may provide you with health records detailing your furry friend’s vaccinations. 

Do not forget to bring these medical documents on the first visit to the vet. These records help your veterinarian set an accurate vaccination schedule that fits your puppy’s health needs.

Also, bring your puppy’s medications with you. Your vet will need to know what medications your puppy is on during their physical assessment. 

Some vet clinics may ask you to bring a stool sample. Collect this sample in your puppy’s next bowel movement and label it with relevant information, like your fur-baby’s name, age, and breed.

Bring a towel or blanket to set it on your puppy’s seat inside your car. You can also opt for their crate. This helps make your furry friend’s car ride to the vet less stressful. 

What should you consider before visiting the vet?

While you shouldn’t hesitate to take your puppy to the vet, there are a few key things you need to consider before your visit. Your puppy’s first vet visit is their first encounter with their veterinarian (and it may be yours as well). 

As such, it is important to ensure that you have everything prepared so that your visit isn’t wasted. Here are some factors you should think about before going to the vet:

  • Your puppy’s age. 

We highly recommend taking your puppy on their first vet visit when they’re around the ages of 6 to 8 weeks. At that age, puppies are well-developed enough to undergo a physical checkup.

Some owners will push off their puppy’s vet visit until they’re 10 weeks old. Just remember that waiting places your puppy at risk for countless diseases that lurk in public places. You won’t be able to socialize your puppy completely unless you vaccinate your puppy. 

  • Important documents. 

We already mentioned how crucial it is to bring medical records with you on your puppy’s first vet visit. We cannot stress this enough, especially if your fur-baby comes from Petland. 

Many breeders vaccinate their puppies before they’re sent to their new homes. This includes all breeder partners our team at Petland works with. 

If your puppy is a Petland puppy or comes from a responsible breeder, don’t forget to take the right documents with you during your next vet visit.

  • Questions and concerns

When it comes to your puppy’s health, your veterinarian is your best friend. They’re your go-to sources for any questions or concerns you may have about your puppy, whether it’s vaccinations or other health issues. 

Never hesitate to talk to your vet about your puppy’s health and wellbeing. Many veterinarians are ready to guide you through the care process as well as any treatments your pup needs. 

Some questions you may want to ask your vet during your puppy’s first visit include:

  • What vaccines does my puppy need?
  • Does my puppy need to be dewormed?
  • What are the best food brands for puppies?
  • Can puppies eat human foods?
  • How much exercise does my puppy need?
  • When can my puppy be spayed or neutered?
  • Are dental cleanings necessary for my puppy?
  • When can I travel with my puppy?
  • What house items are dangerous for my puppy?
  • When is the next vet visit?

Make sure you remain calm during your puppy’s first vet visit. Remember that dogs are perceptive creatures so if you’re anxious, your puppy may become anxious as well.

How do vaccinations for puppies work?

Along with deworming, vaccinations are considered a pillar of vet care. Once your puppy reaches a certain age (6 to 8 weeks), it’s crucial that you take them to the vet for their first set of shots. 

During their first year, you will need to take your puppy for their vaccinations every 2 to 4 weeks (or as recommended by your veterinarian). Your puppy’s vaccination schedule should end once they reach 14 to 16 weeks old. 

Most veterinarians administer 4 core vaccines to protect your puppy from debilitating illnesses, like canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and rabies

Rabies is mandated by law in most states. Your vet may also recommend non-core vaccinations for protection against diseases, such as kennel cough and leptospirosis. 

Make sure to stay updated on which vaccines your puppy needs to stay healthy. Your veterinarian will help you set a vaccination schedule that works best for your puppy. 

Remember to ask questions or address your concerns with your vet. Stay calm throughout your puppy’s vet visit. Raising a puppy is challenging—we know. It’s also one of the best experiences to have in your life. 

By establishing a strong relationship with your puppy’s vet, you and your little buddy will get off on the right foot!

Need help preparing your puppy for its first week home? Check out our blog, The First Week: A Guide for First Time Puppy Parents to learn more.