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

Congratulations on your new puppy! Today, our Poway vets share everything you need for your puppy's first vet visit and what you can expect at this visit.

What To Expect At Your Puppy's First Vet Appointment

During your puppy's first visit, you can expect your veterinarian to do the following:

  • Palpate the abdomen and lymph nodes
  • Take your puppy's temperature
  • Weigh your puppy
  • Listen to the heart and lungs
  • Examine your young dog's skin and coat
  • Assess their eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
  • Check your puppy's teeth and mouth
  • A fecal exam to test for the presence of worms (you should bring a stool sample if you can)
  • Talk about your puppy’s history and designate time for you to ask any questions you might have about feeding, medical issues, and future care

If your veterinarian sends you home with medications or treatments, make sure you understand when and how they are to be administered. Follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully, and schedule any necessary follow-up appointments and vaccinations.

What To Bring To Your Puppy's First Veterinary Visit

If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more information the vet has, the better they will be able to treat your puppy.

  • Any forms provided by your veterinarian that you have already filled out
  • Notes on how much and what types of foods and treats you feed your puppy at home
  • The veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
  • A written list of important questions or concerns that you might have
  • Your dog's leash and collar or harness
  • A dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels or shirts that smell like home
  • Small treats to reward good behavior
  • Chew toy to distract your pup
  • A stool sample that is as fresh as possible

Small puppies will be more secure and comfortable in a crate. Don't expect to be able to carry a wiggly puppy in your arms when visiting the clinic. Puppies must be kept under control at all times with a leash, collar, or harness. This is why a chew toy and/or some treats are a good idea.

What To Ask Your Vet At Your Puppy's First Visit

Your veterinarian should be able to provide you with all of the information you need to help your puppy grow and live a healthy life. Based on the information provided above, if you have any questions that you believe they have overlooked, or if the information they have provided is unclear, do not hesitate to seek clarification.

Having said that, a list of questions can help you make the most of your puppy's first veterinary visit. Here are some good questions to ask your veterinarian during the visit.

Health & Safety

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

Behavior & Training

  • Do you know any local trainers?
  • How long can they stay in their crate?
  • Do you recommend crate training?
  • When can my puppy go to the pet store/dog park/groomer?
  • How do I socialize my puppy with other humans and dogs? 
  • How much exercise does my puppy need?
  • How do you potty train a puppy?

Feeding Your Puppy

  • How many times a day should my puppy eat?
  • What should my puppy eat?
  • When do puppies switch to adult dog food?

The Cost of Your Puppy's First Veterinary Visit

The majority of what happens during a puppy's first vet appointment is routine; however, costs can vary depending on location, vaccines, and prescribed medications. You can save money by participating in veterinary wellness programs, visiting vaccination clinics, and purchasing pet insurance. You can contact your veterinarian directly for a more precise quote, avoiding unpleasant 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. 

Contact our Poway vets today and schedule your puppy's first appointment at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital.

New Patients Welcome

Best Friends Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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