Taking your puppy to the vet

Just like humans need regular medical care, so does your dog. If you are going through this for the first time it may be a little bit intimidating if you don’t know what to do. It may be obvious that you should take your puppy to the vet but many things could be unclear to you for example when to go for the first time or how often should you schedule appointments after the first visit.

You should take your puppy to the vet within days of getting it. There is not much you should do to prepare besides having all of the paperwork regarding previous medical procedures. From there on the vet will tell you about everything you should look out for.

Having this in mind you may still have some concerns about this visit. If you want to ease your mind about the appointment this article breaks down what will happen during this appointment and suggest a few things you can do to make the experience as positive as possible for your puppy.

Taking your puppy to the vet
Taking your puppy to the vet

What happens at a puppy’s first vet visit?

The puppy’s first veterinarian appointment will include a physical examination, some lab work, and consultation about the healthy development of your puppy. The physical examination and lab work will help identify any possible health concerns and the consultation will discuss what you can do to help your puppy develop into a healthy and well-socialized dog.

The physical examination usually starts with weighing your puppy. The veterinarian will also check the whole body paying extra attention to eyes, ears, nose, feet, nails, skin, and coat. Eyes and ears are checked with instruments that provide magnification and light. The vet will proceed to check your puppy’s temperature, pulse, and respiratory rates using a stethoscope. The teeth and gums have to be checked as well because a lot of canine diseases can come from problems relating to oral health. This will also include the mobility check. Your veterinarian will let your puppy walk around a bit to examine for any potential problems. Following this, joints will be examined by hand. The first lab work includes checking the stool sample to make sure your puppy is free of intestinal parasites.

During the consultation conversation, your vet will introduce you to pet identification, mainly microchips and tags. This will come in handy if your pet ever gets lost. The veterinarian will also go over the benefits and risks of spaying and neutering your dog and schedule an appointment if you chose to subject your dog to this procedure. The vet should also introduce you to the importance of exercise and socialization for your dog. At this time your veterinarian may suggest dog training or similar programs. This will be followed up with a recommendation about nutrition. The last thing will be the introduction to obligatory vaccination in your country and scheduling these procedures. The veterinarian will explain the importance of vaccination and the diseases these vaccinations prevent as well as how they can be contagious for humans and other pets and how it would affect you if contracted.

Schedule for checking the dog’s health

It is important to develop a regular check-up schedule for your puppy from the first visit. Regular consultations with your veterinarian can help ease your mind regarding any problems your dog may have and aid in the quicker diagnosis of potential problems. This schedule will have to change as your dog grows because their needs change.

The puppies will usually be taken to the vet for the first time by the breeders. It is crucial that the person you are getting your dog from provides you with all the paperwork regarding the medical care the dog was given. The first visit should happen within days of getting the dog. From the first visit until your dog turns a year old the visits will have to be more frequent. The reason for this schedule is the fact that your puppy has to get regular shots. These vaccinations should include rabies, distemper, kennel cough, influenza, and Lyme disease. Additionally, the puppy will have to get heartworm and tick prevention. This will mark the time when it becomes safe for your puppy to play outside with other dogs. If you wish to spay or neuter your dog the visit should be scheduled once they turn 6 months.

Once the dog becomes older the visits can become less frequent. If there are no additional health issues your dog should be fine a thorough physical examination and if needed some lab work. This schedule will remain adequate until your dog turns somewhere around 7 years old. This can vary between different dog breeds, but the general time frame is whenever your dog official becomes a senior. The recommended amount is twice a year or more often if deemed necessary by your veterinarian. This schedule allows better surveillance of any problems that come to dogs with old age.

Vaccinations in the US

Your puppy should start receiving the shots once the puppy reaches the age of 6 to 8 weeks. The shot administration is spread out over a few weeks up to the year. If your dog is older, all the vaccinations can be taken care of during 2 visits that are 6 months apart. The preliminary shots will cost around 100 dollars and the follow up shots cost around 20 dollars. Some shelters will administer shots for even less money.

The preliminary vaccinations should include distemper, adenovirus (also known as hepatitis), parainfluenza, parvovirus and rabies. In addition to these obligatory vaccinations, there are some optional ones that your veterinarian will recommend if needed.

The first vaccine will be delivered for distemper and parvovirus somewhere between 6th and 8th week of the puppy’s life. The follow-up will happen at the latest up to the 12th week. In addition to the follow-up shots, the veterinarian will also administer the vaccination for hepatitis and parainfluenza. These same vaccines will be administered three more times with the addition of a rabies shot.

Canine Distemper is a disease that attacks the respiratory and nervous systems as well as gastrointestinal organs. The disease is spread through airborne exposure like coughing and sneezing. The usual symptoms include discharges from the eyes and nose, fever, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. The more severe cases will also cause seizures, twitching, paralysis, and, often, death.

Canine Hepatitis, much like the illness that affects humans, attacks the liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs and eyes. The illness is mostly recognizable by slight fever and congestion of the mucous membranes to vomiting, jaundice, stomach enlargement, and pain around the liver. While the dogs can get over less severe cases on their own, more serious cases can be deadly. There are no known cures, however, there are several treatments.

Parvovirus affects all dogs, but puppies younger than 4 months are at the biggest risk of contracting this disease. It is the most easily identified by symptoms like loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, and extreme dehydration. If your dog contracts this illness that you keep them hydrated and control secondary symptoms until your dog’s immune system gets over the cause of illness.

Heartworm is a condition that is caused by a parasite that lodges itself into your dog’s hearth and can move to different parts of the dog’s body. The condition is the most serious if more of these worms clump up together as this can stop or slow down blood flow causing more strain to the hearth and sometimes can even damage other organs. However, this can be avoided with regular treatment.

How to make the vet visit to something positive?

One of the most common reactions pets have when visiting the veterinarian for the first time is getting scared or at least a bit uneasy. This is understandable given that the puppies are in a new environment for possibly the first time. There are a few things you can do to make this experience positive for your puppy. 

To make your puppy more comfortable you can bring their favorite toy. If you want to avoid any problems in the future you can bring some toys to reinforce positive behavior and make future visits more positive for your dog. Many recommend that the owner leaves the room during the examination. This will make sure your puppy is introduced to the vet and feels relaxed around him. Sometimes the puppy can sense your anxiety so this will be the best course of action if you are squeamish.

Taking your puppy to the vet
Scroll to top