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

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

Bringing home a new puppy can be a sweet moment but it comes with a ton of responsibility including keeping up with veterinary care. Our Citrus Heights vets will offer some information about caring for your new puppy including when to take them to the vet and what to expect from your puppy's first vet visit with a handy checklist.

When should you bring your new puppy to the vet?

Chances are that your new puppy had a vet visit just before you brought them home. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't think about bringing them in for an initial visit with the vet you will be using. One thing you should have received is paperwork that outlines the care that your new puppy has received and when they will be in need of their next vet visit.

By taking your puppy to your vet in the first few weeks of arriving home you will allow the vet to review your puppy’s records and quickly provide any due care.

At this time your vet will perform a full evaluation of your pup to look for any signs that may indicate a health concern. It’s best to learn about problems as soon as possible before any health guarantees the breeder provides expire.

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 you can begin to schedule them for their initial vaccinations.

Puppies who receive their first vaccinations when they are older than 4 or 5 months of age can usually be caught up in two visits scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart. Your vet may adjust this plan based on your puppy’s particular history and needs.

It can help your visit go smoothly if you can have all the necessary information on hand at the time of the appointment.

A Checklist For Your Puppy's 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

If you have a small dog or puppy you should transport them to the vet in a small crate and continue to keep them in the crate while in the waiting room. Do not assume that you will be able to hold your puppy in your arms when they experience all the new sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic. Bringing a harness or leash will be helpful to help control your dog and keep them calm.

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

During the routine visit, your vet will ask a number of questions along with the following:

  • 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 at our puppy hospital in Citrus Heights 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 (spaying & neutering)
  • Travel requirements
  • Pet safety and disaster preparedness
  • Diseases that can be spread from pets to people

What should you ask the vet?

Your puppy vet in Citrus Heights should be able to tell you everything you need to know to help your puppy grow. If you have any questions that you believe they have overlooked, or if the information they have supplied is confusing, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.

With that in mind, a list of questions can help make the most out of your first visit. Here is a list of useful questions for your vet during the visit.

Keeping Your Puppy Safe

  • How often should we visit the vet?
  • When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
  • Should I microchip my dog?
  • How many times a day should my puppy poop?
  • Are there any health concerns specific to my puppy’s breed(s)?
  • Does my puppy need flea and tick prevention?
  • What is heartworm disease and why is prevention important?

Training Your New Puppy

  • When can my puppy go out (e.g. to the pet store/dog park/groomer)?
  • Should I crate-train my puppy?
  • How long should puppies stay in their crate?
  • What is the best method for house training my puppy?
  • How much exercise does my puppy need?
  • How do I socialize my puppy with people and other dogs?
  • Do you know any local trainers?

Meeting Your Puppy's Nutritional Needs

  • Should I feed my puppy a specific type of food?
  • How many times a day should my puppy eat?
  • When should my puppy switch to adult dog food?

What is the cost of the first vet visit?

Most of what happens at a first vet visit falls under routine pet care, but the cost for your visit will be determined by a variety of factors like the location of the puppy hospital, vaccines, and prescribed medications. Veterinary wellness programs, vaccination clinics, and pet insurance can all help you save money.

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 needs to have their first vet visit? Contact our Citrus Heights puppy and kitten vets to schedule an appointment today.

New Patients Always Welcome

Family Friends Veterinary Hospital is happy to accept new patients! Our vets are passionate about improving the health of Citrus Heights companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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