The big day has come! You prepared for your furry bundle of joy to come home by getting the food, crate, toys, and a myriad of other supplies ready. What’s next? The all-important first visit to the vet! Book the appointment within days of bringing puppy home and start your little one on the path to good health. Here’s some ideas of what you can expect.
Preparing for the Visit
Being a pet parent is a big responsibility and the first big decision is who will be your veterinarian! This person will likely be a big part of your pet’s life for years to come and needs to be someone you can trust and be comfortable with. Check out clinics ahead of time and look for a friendly, clean environment. Ask about hours, after-hour, and emergency care. On the day of the visit, remember to take with you any paperwork you received from the breeder or rescue so that the vet knows your pet’s background and what care has been given. Bring along a list of your questions. There’s lots to learn!
The Physical Exam
Once the veterinarian goes over your pet’s history with you, your puppy will be given a thorough examination. This should include checking eyes, ears and nose, abdomen, paws and genitalia. Teeth, gums and mouth will be looked at. Skin and coat will be examined. Vision, hearing and alertness should also be checked. Weight will be taken. The vet will listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope and will take your puppy’s temperature rectally.
Fecal Exam and Deworming
Ask your vet ahead of time if you should bring a sample of your puppy’s stool for a fecal exam. The stool can be checked for worms and other parasites so that your vet can administer an effective treatment plan if needed. Don’t be surprised if the vet says your puppy needs deworming medication. It is very common for puppies.
Puppies are susceptible to diseases and conditions once the antibodies in their mother’s milk begins to wear off. Vaccinations help to protect against those diseases and conditions. Your vet will discuss with you the need for the core and suggested vaccines (distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, rabies). The discussion should include what is required by law where you live, what is recommended, and the schedule of vaccination going forward. You should expect that your puppy will receive its first vaccine at this first visit.
There are other topics that relate to your pet’s health that your vet will address. Some of these will be specific to your pet and their breed. Food is one topic that pet owners need to be educated on. It is important to know what to feed your puppy and all that goes along with that (quantity, treats, what not to feed, what to watch for). Your vet should talk to you about spaying/ neutering and when to schedule that appointment. Many vets will strongly recommend microchipping and will discuss what is involved and how it is beneficial if your pet ever goes missing.
Before You Leave
This is the time to talk to your vet about any of your questions that have not already been addressed. If you are leaving with medications or treatments, be sure you understand when and how to administer them. Ask the staff for contact info and in particular the contact info in the case of an emergency. Schedule follow-up appointments. Making sure that your puppy is happy and healthy also means regular visits to the veterinarian. And lastly, don’t forget to take a photo of your pet at its first vet appointment. You’ll want to add this to your puppy’s book of memories!