Your Puppy's First Vet Appointment
During your puppy's first visit to the veterinarian, they should do the following during their exam to help set your young dog up for success:
- Weigh your puppy
- Take your puppy's temperature
- Listen to the heart and lungs
- Look at the puppy's teeth and mouth
- Examine the puppy's skin and coat
- Palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
- Examine the eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
- Examine the feces for the presence of worms
- Discuss the puppy’s medical history/concerns
- Provide you with any medications required
What to Bring to Your Puppy's Visit
If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more information your veterinarian has, the better they will be able to treat your new puppy.
- A chew toy for distraction
- A leash and collar/harness
- A stool sample, as fresh as possible
- Small treats to reward good behavior
- Any veterinary records you have
- A list of important questions or concerns
- Notes about food/treats provided at home
- A dog carrier or crate
It's important to note that small puppies will be more comfortable and safe in their crate. Don't expect that you will be able to carry a squirming puppy in your arms when visiting the clinic. Puppies will need to be kept under control using a leash and collar or a harness. Because of this, treats or a small toy is a good idea.
What to Ask Your Vet
Your veterinarians should be able to provide you with all of the information that you need to help your puppy grow and stay healthy. Based on the information provided above, if you have any questions that you think your vet has overlooked or if the information they gave you is confusing, feel free to ask for clarification.
Having said that, a list of questions can help make the most out of your first visit. Here is a list of some good questions to ask your vet during the visit.
Health & Safety
Ask your vet the questions listed below, as well as any other health and safety concerns you may have.
- Should I microchip my dog?
- When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
- How often does my puppy need to visit the vet?
- How many times a day should my puppy poop?
- What prevention measures are necessary?
- Are there breed-specific health concerns?
Training & Behavior
Ask your vet for advice about any questions you have about behavior and training you may have, including those listed below.
- Do you know any local trainers?
- How do you potty train a puppy?
- Do you recommend crate training?
- When can my puppy go to the groomer?
- When can my puppy go to a dog park?
- How long can she stay in her crate?
- How much exercise does my puppy need?
- How do I socialize my puppy with others?
Find out what type of diet your puppy should have by asking your vet the following questions:
- What should my puppy eat?
- How many times a day should my puppy eat?
- When do puppies switch to adult dog food?
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.