What to Expect During Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit

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Taking your puppy to the vet for the first time can be stressful. From the unfamiliar people to the strange medical tools, a vet’s office is an intimidating space for you and your puppy.  However, your puppy’s first vet visit just seems scarier than it really is! Your veterinarian will help you maintain your fur-baby’s […]

Taking your puppy to the vet for the first time can be stressful. From the unfamiliar people to the strange medical tools, a vet’s office is an intimidating space for you and your puppy. 

However, your puppy’s first vet visit just seems scarier than it really is! Your veterinarian will help you maintain your fur-baby’s health and diagnose any health issues.

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

Remember that waiting too long puts your puppy at risk of serious diseases. You also won’t be able to fully socialize your puppy until they’re vaccinated. The sooner you bring your puppy to the vet, the faster you ensure your puppy is healthy and ready to explore the world.

Being prepared is the first step to making your puppy’s first vet visit an incredible experience. Here are a few key things you should expect to prep you for your puppy’s first time at the vet. 

What usually happens during a puppy’s first vet visit? 

Don’t be shy when it comes to your puppy’s first 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 in-depth exam involves the following procedures:

  • 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’s first vet visit should be when they are six to eight weeks old. You can push their first visit to ten weeks of age if necessary. The longer you wait, the more you put your pup at risk.

Also, if you notice your puppy displays 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 like hypoglycemia 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 before sending them to their new homes. If your puppy comes from a breeder, make sure to have the proper paperwork for your vet visit.

Your puppy’s breeder may also give you your puppy’s health records, which may contain information about their 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?

You shouldn’t hesitate to take your puppy to the vet, but there are some important things you need to think about 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 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 puppy 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?
  • What should I feed my puppy?
  • How much exercise does my puppy need?
  • When should my puppy be spayed or neutered?
  • How often do I need to take my puppy for dental cleanings?
  • Can I travel with my puppy?
  • What objects are dangerous for my puppy?
  • What human foods can I feed my puppy?
  • When will my puppy’s barking or whining at night stop?
  • How do I house or potty train my puppy?
  • What other medications does my puppy need?

Always 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?

Vaccinations are the main pillar of puppy care. In your puppy’s first year, they will have to visit the vet every 2 to 4 weeks (or as recommended) to receive their puppy shots. Your puppy should receive their first vaccination at six to eight weeks old. 

Other vaccinations are every two to four weeks until they are fourteen to sixteen weeks old. 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. The rabies vaccine is required by law in many states.

Your vet may also recommend non-core vaccinations for protection against diseases, such as kennel cough and leptospirosis. 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. 

Are annual visits to the vet necessary?

In short, yes. The most loving thing you can do for your puppy is to take them to the vet every year. It’s important for your puppy to be examined by a licensed veterinarian regularly, even if they appear to be in tip-top shape. 

Our furry friends can’t communicate when they feel pain or sickness. Most puppies will hide it until their health issue is too advanced, leading to emergency vet visits.

When your puppy goes for regular checkups and dental cleanings, you promote good health and prevent any potential canine illnesses from getting worse. 

Raising a puppy is a challenge—we know. It’s also one of the most fulfilling experiences you’ll ever have. Are vet visits necessary? Definitely. Every puppy deserves to have a licensed veterinarian assess their health to keep them healthy.  

Establish a strong relationship with your puppy’s vet early. Doing this will allow you and your little buddy to get off on the right foot!
Learn how to promote good puppy dental health by checking out our blog, Pet Dental Health!