If you've recently welcomed a new puppy and are gearing up for your first vet visit, you probably have lots of questions. Our vets in Madison are ready to provide you with a comprehensive checklist and walk you through what to anticipate when bringing your puppy in for that crucial first appointment.
When to Take a Puppy to the Vet for the First Time
Many puppy shelters and breeders initiate vet visits for puppies before sending them to new pet parents. You'll get paperwork outlining the care provided and indicating when the last visit occurred. Schedule your puppy's next veterinary appointment accordingly.
Regardless of previous care, arranging a new puppy vet visit within days of bringing your canine companion home is wise. This allows the vet to promptly address any overdue care and review your puppy's records.
During the visit, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination and possibly run laboratory tests to identify potential health concerns. It's crucial to identify problems early before any breeder-provided health guarantees expire.
A typical vet schedule for puppies involves appointments every 3 to 4 weeks from 6 to 8 weeks old, continuing until they are 4 or 5 months old.
Most puppies begin vaccinations at 6 to 8 weeks. If vaccinations start later, two visits scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart can usually catch them up. Your vet may adjust this plan based on your puppy's specific history and needs.
Before your appointment, you should collect as much information as possible.
Puppy's First Vet Visit Checklist
- Leash and collar or harness
- Chew toy for distraction
- Small treats to reward good behavior
- Dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels
- Any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- Written list of important questions
- Notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you have
- Any forms provided by your vet that you have already filled out
- A stool sample, as fresh as possible
Small puppies travel more comfortably and safely in a crate. Don't assume you can hold your puppy in your arms while they encounter new sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic. Bring a harness or leash to control your stressed dog effectively.
What to Expect During Your Puppy's First Vet Visit
Veterinary staff will start the visit by asking you a series of questions about your puppy's history and how they are doing at home, followed by:
- A weight check
- Watching your 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 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
The veterinary staff will discuss many important aspects of puppy care with you throughout all the new puppy vet visits.
- Dental care
- Grooming needs
- 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 to ask your vet on the First Puppy Visit
Ensure your vet furnishes you with all the necessary information to support your puppy's well-being. Review the topics listed above. If your vet overlooks a crucial point or the information is unclear, ask more questions without hesitation.
Factors That Determine Puppy First Vet Visit Cost
Routine procedures make up most of the visit during a puppy's initial vet appointment. However, the costs depend on location, vaccines, and prescribed medications. To save money, consider vaccination clinics and pet insurance. Contact your vet directly for a more precise quote to avoid unexpected surprises.