Pre-Visit: How to Prepare in Advance
There are a few things you can do to prepare for your puppy’s first vet visit ahead of time.
If you don’t already have a veterinarian, the first step is to select one. Often friends and neighbors will have a veterinarian they trust for their own pets. You can also look at Google, Facebook, and Yelp reviews or find a veterinarian certified as Fear Free. If evening or weekend appointments are important to you, consider a clinic’s business hours when choosing a vet.
Once you schedule the appointment be sure to gather all the paperwork and other information you have about your puppy so you can share it with your veterinary team. If possible, request previous medical records from any veterinarian who has seen your puppy in the past. Write down or take a picture of the food label and treats your puppy eats, so you can share that information with your vet.
To best take advantage of your time with your veterinary team, bring a list of questions. While questions should be specific to your puppy and any of your concerns, we’ve prepared some questions to consider below.
Why It’s Important To Have a Vet Visit With Your New Puppy
Your vet can answer your questions regarding your puppy. It’s also important to have the vet check the puppy with a physical exam.
A puppy can seem to be healthy but can have an illness that may show up later or that can be detected at his first visit.
He may have gastrointestinal parasites that can be detected by a stool sample you can provide from the puppy.
Your vet can also check whether he’s a good weight and give a full physical exam.
Checking his skin, eyes, ears, and general health can determine whether he needs any immediate veterinary care.
Your vet can also review any documents you received regarding any vaccinations he’s received to determine what other treatments are necessary.
There are many questions you should ask your vet. The following article provides many of the most important queries you should make.
How Can I Prevent My Puppy From Getting Injured or Sick?
Of course, you want the best for your puppy. And you want to avoid any preventable hazards.
So it’s natural to question your vet about what you should do.
Your vet may give you guidance regarding how to puppy-proof your home.
This can include making sure that the puppy doesn’t have access in your home to: electric outlets and cords, chemicals, and stairs until he learns how to navigate them.
You may also receive guidance regarding the importance in observing your puppy and not giving him out-of-sight freedom. And in being sure that outside exits are blocked so that your puppy can’t accidentally escape.
You may also be informed about the importance of training your puppy.
This can include regular obedience training as well as how to housetrain and crate train your puppy. Some vets even recommend certain trainers or other services.
What Should I Expect From My First Puppy Veterinary Visit?
Finally, it’s the exciting day you’ve been anticipating for months, maybe even years. Your new puppy is ready to come home with you. You’ve gotten your crate, food, and other supplies, you’ve chosen a place for training and socialization, and you’re ready to start an amazing adventure with a little ball of fluff who is going to become your best friend.
Whether your pup is coming from champion show lines or from a local shelter, the first vet visit is a crucial step.
Breeders generally include a veterinary examination, usually within three days, on their contracts. They also will require yearly physicals and necessary vaccinations as a condition of sale.
If you get your pup from a rescue or shelter, where dogs have unknown backgrounds and may have been exposed to contagious diseases, an immediate exam is even more important. It’s a good move to have a trusted veterinarian give the puppy a once-over.
Another good reason for putting a vet visit on the priority list is to establish an important connection, something that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) calls the VCPR, for Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship. This exists, according to AVMA, when “your veterinarian knows your pet well enough to be able to diagnose and treat any medical conditions your animal develops.” The only way to establish this is by visiting the office, so the vet gets to know what is normal for your dog, and what might be signifying an illness. These wellness visits will continue throughout your dog’s life, in much the same way as many humans go in for annual checkups, even if they are feeling fine.
The best veterinarians have busy schedules, so if you know exactly when you’ll be picking your puppy up, call in advance to get a convenient appointment. Don’t wait until the last minute.
You should also try to visit the clinic before your puppy comes home. Look around and see if you are at ease there, that the support staff seems friendly, and the facility is clean. Most vets will take the time to chat with prospective clients. This can be very helpful because it’s important that you are comfortable enough with this individual to ask questions. You will have lots of them when your new pup comes home and you want someone who will treat your concerns with respect.
Also, find out about the clinic’s after-hours setup. One great truth about life with puppies is that emergencies rarely pop up from 9 to 5. Know what to do in case your puppy gets an ear infection in the middle of the night, and that includes making plans for transportation to the facility.