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Puppy’s First Vet Visit: Checklist & What to Expect

Your puppy's first vet visit is one of the most important visits for your dog. In this article, our Pleasant Hill vets will tell you everything you should know about what to do to prepare for your puppy's first visit and what will happen at the vet.

When to Take a Puppy to the Vet for the First Time

Most puppy shelters and breeders initiate vet check-ups before handing over the pups to new owners. You should receive paperwork stating what type of care has already been provided when that occurred, and when you should schedule your puppy’s next veterinary visit.

No matter the efforts made by the shelter or breeder, it's wise to arrange a vet visit for your new puppy shortly after bringing them home. This ensures the vet can assess their records and promptly administer any necessary care.

The doctor will also perform a complete physical examination and perhaps run some laboratory tests to identify any potential health concerns. It’s best to learn about problems as soon as possible before any health guarantees the breeder provides expire.

The standard vet schedule for puppies involves appointments every three to four weeks, commencing at 6 to 8 weeks old and concluding around 4 to 5 months old.

Typically, puppies begin their vaccination regimen between six to eight weeks of age.

For those puppies who receive their initial vaccinations after four or five months, they can usually catch up within two visits, spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart. Your vet might tailor this schedule according to your puppy's individual history and requirements.

Before your appointment, collect as much information as possible bout your pet.

Puppy’s First Vet Visit Checklist

  • Leash and collar or harness
  • Chew toy for distraction
  • Small treats to reward good behavior
  • Any forms provided by your vet that you have already filled out
  • A stool sample, as fresh as possible
  • Any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
  • Written list of important questions
  • Notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you have
  • Dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels 

Tiny puppies will feel more at ease and secure during travel if placed in a crate. Don't presume you'll be able to carry your puppy in your arms while they encounter new stimuli like sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic. It's crucial to bring along a harness or leash to manage your dog's stress levels effectively.

What to Expect During Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit

Your vet will start the visit by asking you a series of questions about your puppy’s history and how they are doing at home, followed by:

  • Checking reflexes
  • Measuring temperature and pulse and respiratory
  • Opening the mouth to check out the teeth, gums, and other structures
  • Checking the eyes and ears 
  • Palpating the lymph nodes, joints, and organs within the abdomen
  • A weight check
  • A complete physical examination, which includes
  • Observing the puppy move around the exam room
  • Looking at the whole body including the eyes, ears, nose, feet, nails, skin, coat, and genitalia
  • Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs

Throughout all the new puppy vet visits, the veterinary staff will discuss many important aspects of puppy care with you including:

  • Behavior and socialization
  • Pet identification, including microchips and tags
  • Reproductive health, including the benefits and risks of spaying and neutering
  • Travel requirements
  • Pet safety and disaster preparedness
  • Diseases that can be spread from pets to people (and vice versa)
  • Dental care
  • Grooming needs
  • Nutrition
  • Flea, tick, heartworm, and internal parasite control
  • Vaccination schedules
  • Exercise and play requirements

Questions to Ask the Veterinarian

Your vet will provide all the information you need to help your puppy live a long and healthy life. If you are unsure of what to ask or bring up, look over the topics listed above. If your vet forgot to talk about something or the information they provided was confusing, don’t hesitate to ask more questions.

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.

If you are ready to take your puppy to their first vet appointment, contact our Pleasant Hill vets. We are here to address any questions or concerns you may have about your first appointment.

New Patients Welcome

Diablo View Veterinary Medical Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced veterinarians are passionate about the health of Pleasant Hill companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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