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

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

If you’re the proud pet parent of a new puppy, our Nashville vets will tell you everything you should know about what to do to prepare for your puppy's first visit and what will happen when you take your puppy to its first vet visit.

When does your puppy need to visit the vet for their first visit?

If you picked up your new puppy from the shelter or a breeder then they have likely already started having veterinary visits. Your pup should have come with paperwork that states what care your puppy has received, any vaccinations or parasite prevention that have been administered and when it was done, as well as when you should schedule your puppy’s next veterinary visit.

Even if your puppy has a schedule showing up-to-date veterinary care, it's always a good idea to bring your pet in for a quick checkup with your own vet. This will allow the vet to review your puppy’s records and quickly provide any overdue care.

The doctor will also perform a complete physical examination and perhaps run some laboratory tests to identify any potential health concerns. Learning about any potential concerns as soon as possible will be ideal especially since many pets come with health guarantees from breeders.

A typical vet schedule for puppies is for appointments to occur every 3 to 4 weeks starting when puppies are 6 to 8 weeks old and ending when they are 4 or 5 months old.

Once your puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old they will begin to receive their routine vaccinations. If your puppy is beginning their vaccinations late then the vet may choose to fast-track the first couple of sets of puppy shots. Your vet may adjust this plan based on your puppy’s particular history and needs.

Before your appointment, you should collect as much information as possible.

Checklist For a Smooth First Vet Visit

  • Any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
  • A 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 
  • 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

It is typically required that all pets be in crates or on a leash for the duration of their time in the clinic. This helps to keep all pets and humans safe and calm.

What should you expect during your puppy's first vet visit?

Your vet will begin your visit by discussing your pet's behavior and home life, followed by:

  • 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
  • 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

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

  • Dental care
  • Grooming needs
  • Nutrition
  • Flea, tick, heartworm, and internal parasite control
  • Vaccination schedules
  • Exercise and play requirements
  • 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)

What are some of the questions that you should ask your vet?

Your vet should provide you with all the information that you need to help your puppy thrive but look over the topics listed above. If your vet forgot to talk about something or the information they provided was confusing, don’t hesitate more questions. 

Here are some of the other questions that you may want to ask your vet:

Is my puppy in need of any routine vaccinations?

Vaccines are a very important part of your cat or dog's preventative care. They have to be kept up to date to help protect them from a wide range of serious and often life-threatening illnesses and diseases. Our vets will always try to keep your puppy on track with their routine vaccinations in order to ensure adequate protection against diseases.

Do you find anything abnormal about my puppy's behavior?

Pets do strange things that worry their owners, such as biting, wheezing, or itching. Always keep track of these behaviors and consult with your veterinarian if you suspect an underlying condition. You should also tell your veterinarian when these behaviors occurred so they can make an accurate diagnosis.

Is my puppy a good size and weight for their breed and age?

Sometimes it can be difficult to know if your puppy is growing at the right rate and if they are a healthy weight. Pets of all breeds and ages must adhere to specific weight guidelines in order to live healthy lives. Even a few extra pounds over or underweight can put your pet at risk for a variety of health problems (some of which are life-threatening), making this a critical question.

Is my puppy old enough for parasite prevention?

Once your puppy reaches a certain age they will be able to have regular parasite prevention medications but when they are very young it can be hard to know how to properly protect our pup. Fortunately, your veterinarian will be able to recommend or prescribe a prevention product that will work best for your pet and talk about when it will be safe to administer this care.

Can you please explain the costs of this visit?

Once you have your bill there may be a large number of items on it. To give you a better understanding of the services offered, you can ask your vet to explain each of the costs. This can also help with planning for future visits for your puppy.

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.

Do you have a new puppy that is in need of routine veterinary care? Schedule an appointment with our Nashville vets today.

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Belle Forest Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Nashville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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