You have a new puppy in your life. You've got all the essentials, and you've booked your new puppy's first vet appointment. Our Turlock veterinarians explain what to expect and what to bring to your first appointment.
What Happens During your Puppy's First Vet Visit?
During your puppy's first visit, a veterinarian should do the following:
- weigh the puppy
- listen to the heart and lungs
- take puppy's temperature
- examine the puppy's eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
- examine the puppy's skin and coat
- look at the puppy's teeth and mouth
- palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
- examine the feces for the presence of worms (you should bring a stool sample if you can)
- discuss the puppy’s history and any questions you might have about feeding, medical issues, and future care
What Should I Bring to the First Vet Visit?
If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. Feel free to confirm this is what they want when you book your appointment
- any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- a written list of important questions or concerns that you might have
- notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you offer at home
- a dog carrier or crate lined with fabric that smell like home (blanket or towel)
- a leash and collar or harness
- a chew toy for distraction
- small treats to reward good behavior
- any forms provided by your veterinarian that you have already filled out
- a stool sample, as fresh as possible
Note that small puppies will be more comfortable and safe in a crate. As much as you might want to carry them in your arms when visiting the clinic they will be highly excitable and wriggly. Puppies must be kept under control at all times using a leash and collar or harness when not in the crate. This is why a chew toy or some treats are a good idea.
What Should I Ask the Vet During the Puppy's First Visit?
Your veterinarian should be able to give you all of the information you require to help your puppy grow. Based on the information above, 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.
Here is a list of some good questions to ask your vet during the visit.
Health & Safety
- How often does my puppy need to come to 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 & Behavior
- When can my puppy go to the pet store/dog park/groomer?
- Do you recommend crate training?
- How long can she stay in her crate?
- How do you potty train a puppy?
- How much exercise does my puppy need?
- How do I socialize my puppy with other humans and dogs?
- Do you know any local trainers?
- What should my puppy eat?
- How many times a day should my puppy eat?
- When do puppies switch to adult dog food?
Cost of My Puppy's First Vet Visit
The majority of what happens during a puppy's first vet appointment is routine, but costs can be determined by a variety of factors like location, vaccines, and prescribed medications. Veterinary wellness programs, vaccination clinics, and pet insurance can all help you save money. You can contact your vet directly for a more precise quote so there are no nasty surprises.
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.