If you have a new puppy, one of the first things you should do is schedule a veterinary appointment. Our Milledgeville vets offer a checklist, as well as discuss what you should expect during your puppy's first vet visit.
What Happens During The First Vet Visit
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time! One of the first things to do after bringing home your new little four-legged friend is to book a visit with your vet for your new pet. Your vet will perform a thorough physical examination of your puppy as well as run any diagnostic tests that may be necessary. Your vet will also review any health records that you have provided for your new puppy.
During this first examination your vet will:
- Weigh your new puppy
- Use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs
- Take your puppy's temperature
- Examine eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
- Examine skin and coat
- Look at teeth and mouth
- Palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
- Examine feces (it is recommended to bring a fresh sample if possible)
- Discuss the puppy’s history and any questions you may have
If your vet prescribes any medications, it is imperative that you be aware of the dosage and schedule. Be sure that you fully understand how to administer the medication and follow the directions and schedule exactly as recommended. Your vet will also set up any follow-up visits as well as vaccinations that your new puppy will need.
Questions to ask your vet
Your puppy's first vet visit is also a valuable time for you to ask your veterinarian about any concerns you might have about caring for your new pup. The entire team at Heart of Georgia Animal Care will provide you with information while you are at your first vet visit so it may be a good idea to prepare any questions or concerns you have ahead of time.
Some common questions that are asked during a puppy's first vet visit are:
- What is the vaccine schedule for my new puppy?
- Your puppy will typically see their veterinarian for a checkup and any vaccines they might need every couple of weeks during the first year of their life. Your vet will explain to you what schedule they recommend for your puppy.
- Should I allow my new puppy to spend time with other dogs?
- Allowing your puppy to socialize is important as long as you are doing so in a safe manner and you ensure the health of your puppy through vaccine and parasite prevention that your vet recommends.
- At what age is it best to spay or neuter my pup?
- Your vet will explain when is best to spay or neuter your puppy based on your puppy’s individual situation.
- What should I be feeding my puppy?
- There is an abundance of pet foods available on the market, which can make choosing a food for your puppy overwhelming. Your vet will discuss what you should look for in a diet.
- Does my new puppy need parasite prevention?
- Parasite control is crucial to help protect your new puppy against fleas, ticks, heartworm disease, and intestinal worms. Your vet will recommend the best options for your puppy.
- How should I manage puppy training?
- There are so many different training methods available. Your vet can provide training suggestions and tips as well as recommend trainers.
- Are there any health concerns with my puppy's breed?
- Some dog breeds are more at risk of certain conditions and disorders than other breeds. Your vet will be able to explain what signs to look for and suggest any preventive care that you should consider.
- Is microchipping necessary for my puppy?
- Microchipping is recommended in case you and your new puppy become separated. If your pup is microchipped and taken to a vet or shelter, they will use the microchip information to contact you.
- What are the benefits of health insurance?
- Pet insurance can greatly relieve the stress of unexpected veterinary costs. Without pet insurance, you will be responsible for the entire costs of all services always.
Checklist for the first visit
Here are some of the things you should consider leading up to your puppy's first vet visit:
- Be sure to have any records that you received with your puppy available for your vet to view
- Have a written list ready of any questions you need to ask
- Keep track of the brand and amount of food as well as any treats you feed your new puppy
- Prepare a dog carrier with your new puppy's favorite blanket and toys
- Pack your puppy's leash and/or harness
- Have chew toys on hand to entertain your puppy - and provide them some relief if they're teething
- Bring some small treats, as they can prove useful as rewards for good behavior at the vet
- Make sure the required documents and forms are all completed
- If your vet requests it, bring a fresh stool sample in a sealed container
Cost of Your Puppy's First Vet Visit
Your puppy's first veterinary visit is a routine appointment and the cost will be determined accordingly. Typically all vet costs vary depending on the clinic itself as well as the location of the clinic. It is a good idea to call ahead and have a quick chat while booking the first appointment to discuss any costs that might be associated with that first visit. It might also be a good idea to look into the wellness plans that our clinic offers, as well as recommendations for pet insurance. These are both great ways to keep costs down!
The costs associated with ensuring the health of your new puppy might seem overwhelming, but investing in your pet's health while they are young is likely to save you a lot more down the road by preventing the development of diseases and conditions with routine preventive care. After all, a healthy, happy puppy will grow into a healthy, happy canine companion!
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.