Taking your puppy to the vet can be very stressful. Whether it’s unfamiliar people or strange medical tools, a vet’s office is quite an intimidating space, especially for the first time. In reality, taking your puppy to the vet just seems scarier than it really is! Your vet will help guide you in maintaining your fur-baby’s health while diagnosing any health issues.
Of course, your little buddy won’t be too happy being handled and touched by a stranger but it’s a necessary part of their wellbeing. You can put off their first vet visit until they reach 10 weeks of age. Just remember that waiting too long can put your puppy at risk of getting serious diseases.
You also won’t be able to fully socialize your puppy until they’re vaccinated, which requires visits to the vet. The sooner you bring your puppy to the vet, the faster you ensure your puppy is healthy and ready to explore the world.
There are countless tips that can make your furry friend’s first vet visit an incredible experience. In this blog, we take a look at some key things you should expect before your puppy’s first vet visit.
What usually happens during a vet visit?
Don’t be shy when it comes to your puppy’s vet visit! Most veterinarians are resourceful and friendly. They want to help your puppy stay healthy, and educate you on how to keep them that way!
During your puppy’s first visit, your vet will usually begin with a physical exam. This exam is thorough and involves the following:
- Weighing your puppy
- Listening to the heart and lungs
- Taking temperature
- Evaluating the eyes, ears, nose, abdomen, and other body parts
- Assessing the skin and coat
- Examining their teeth and mouth
- Testing puppy’s stool for worms (you may need to bring a stool sample)
- Addressing any questions or concerns about your puppy’s history, health issues, medications, treatment options, and other aspects of their care.
If you’re taking your puppy’s medication home, be sure you know when or how to give it to your puppy. Your vet may attach a letter or schedule a follow-up appointment.
They may also create a vaccination schedule for routine core vaccinations. Don’t forget to bring important documents with you on the first visit so that your vet can add these to your puppy’s current files.
How soon does my puppy need to see a vet?
Your puppy should start seeing the vet as soon as they turn 6 to 8 weeks old. Take note of your breeder’s practices before you get your pup vaccinated. Some breeders start vaccinating their puppies early so that they go to their new homes fully protected. Your puppy’s breeder may provide you with health records detailing your furry friend’s vaccinations.
Make sure to bring these medical documents with you so that your vet can set an accurate vaccination schedule that works for your puppy. Additionally, if you notice your puppy displays illness symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, low appetite, increased thirst, watery eyes, or irritability, take your little buddy to the vet immediately.
These symptoms are a sign of an undetected health condition that can be dangerous for your puppy. The sooner your puppy is checked by a licensed vet, the faster it will receive treatment for its health issues. And we all know that a healthy puppy is a happy life!
What should you consider before visiting the vet?
While you shouldn’t hesitate to take your puppy to the vet, there are a few key things you need to consider before your visit. Your puppy’s first vet visit is their first encounter with their veterinarian (and it may be yours as well). As such, it is important to ensure that you have everything prepared so that your visit isn’t wasted.
Here are some factors you should think about before going to the vet:
Your puppy’s age.
We highly recommend taking your puppy on their first vet visit when they’re around the ages of 6 to 8 weeks. At that age, puppies are well-developed enough to undergo a physical checkup.
Some owners will push off their puppy’s vet visit until they’re 10 weeks old. Just remember that waiting places your puppy at risk for countless diseases that lurk in public places. You won’t be able to socialize your puppy completely unless you vaccinate your puppy.
We already mentioned how crucial it is to bring medical records with you on your puppy’s first vet visit. We cannot stress this enough, especially if your fur-baby comes from Petland. Many breeders vaccinate their puppies before they’re sent to their new homes.
This includes all breeder partners our team at Petland works with. If your puppy is a Petland puppy or comes from a responsible breeder, don’t forget to take the right documents with you during your next vet visit.
Questions and concerns.
When it comes to your puppy’s health, your veterinarian is your best friend. They’re your go-to sources for any questions or concerns you may have about your puppy, whether it’s vaccinations or other health issues. Never hesitate to talk to your vet about your puppy’s health and well-being.
Many veterinarians are ready to guide you through the care process as well as any treatments your pup needs. Make sure you remain calm during your puppy’s first vet visit. Remember that dogs are perceptive creatures so if you’re anxious, your puppy may become anxious as well.
How do vaccinations for puppies work?
Along with deworming, vaccinations are considered a pillar of vet care. Once your puppy reaches a certain age (6 to 8 weeks), it’s crucial that you take them to the vet for their first set of shots. During their first year, you will need to take your puppy for their vaccinations every 2 to 4 weeks (or as recommended by your veterinarian).
Your puppy’s vaccination schedule should end once they reach 14 to 16 weeks old. Most veterinarians administer 4 core vaccines to protect your puppy from debilitating illnesses, like canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and rabies.
Rabies is mandated by law in most states. Your vet may also recommend non-core vaccinations for protection against diseases, such as kennel cough and leptospirosis. Make sure to stay updated on which vaccines your puppy needs to stay healthy. Your veterinarian will help you set a vaccination schedule that works best for your puppy.
Remember to ask questions or address your concerns with your vet. Stay calm throughout your puppy’s vet visit. Raising a puppy is challenging—we know. It’s also one of the best experiences to have in your life. By establishing a strong relationship with your puppy’s vet, you and your little buddy will get off on the right foot!