puppy at the vet

10 Questions to Ask the Vet about Your New Puppy

A new puppy is pure joy for the whole family, but it comes with a bundle of responsibilities. To begin with, new puppy parents will need to help their pup adjust to a new environment, provide proper nutrition and training, and learn everything they can about the specific health requirements of their dog, as well as the breed in general.

In fact, scheduling a visit to the vet should be one of the first steps towards ensuring your puppy’s well-being. After a thorough evaluation of the dog’s health, the vet will inform you of everything you need to know in order to take best care of your new best friend.

To make the most of this opportunity, however, you need to come prepared. Knowing what to expect will help you avoid confusion and allow you to provide the necessary information to the veterinarian, but it also gives you a chance to voice any possible worries and ask the right questions. Learning the basic dos and don’ts of dog health, as well as cooperating with your vet every step of the way, will help your puppy lead the healthiest and happiest life possible.

Preparation is vital for any successful task. In the article below, you’ll find our recommendations about what you should ask at your puppy’s first vet visit, and more!

What happens at the first vet visit?

The perfect time for the first vet visit would be when your puppy is around 8 to 10 weeks of age. Most likely, the first visit will begin with collecting data about the dog’s health history. Make sure to bring along all medical records you’ve received from the breeder or shelter – your vet tech will use these to determine different healthcare parameters.

Further on, they will make an inquiry about the pup’s diet, feeding habits, appetite, behavior, response to housetraining and everything else concerning their adaptation to the new home, and this will be a nice opportunity for you to discuss anything that’s potentially on your mind.

Establishing good habits and routines is of crucial importance at this young age. Dogs do best when they are allowed to stick to the habits and routines that they have been accustomed to since they were puppies, and establishing a safe and stable environment from the very beginning will help nourish both their physical and psychological development.

The next step will be a physical examination, during which the vet will give your puppy a thorough checkup of all vital organs and systems. They will check the skin, coat, eyes, nose and mouth for abnormalities, and test your pup’s vision, hearing, alertness and dental health. Cardiovascular health will be examined by listening to the puppy’s heart in order to detect potential heat murmur and other issues.

Then, the vet will palpate the abdomen to check for discomfort, hernias and other defects or indicators for gastrointestinal disorders. In the meanwhile, since most puppies are born with roundworms, they will also perform a fecal exam by testing stool samples for parasites. For this test, a small sample of feces is examined under the microscope.

If your puppy has an intestinal parasite infection, parasite eggs will be visible under the microscope. This fairly common condition is easily treated with deworming medicine. Sometimes these tests give negative results despite the presence of intestinal parasites, so your puppy is likely to be given a dewormer anyway.

Parasite protection is really important for maintaining a puppy’s health and wellbeing. Puppies are susceptible to a vast variety of parasites, such as ticks, fleas, heartworms, tapeworms and roundworms, all of which can cause serious damage to their young and vulnerable organisms. Your vet might also prescribe a monthly chew as an ongoing protection against most types of parasites.

What about vaccination?

At around 6 weeks of age, as the antibodies in their mother’s milk begin to wear off, puppies become vulnerable to a number of diseases. Thankfully, vaccinations are here to enforce that protection once again. There are four core vaccines that are recommended for all puppies: distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus and rabies, the last of which is required by law in many states.

There are also non-core vaccines available for puppies who live in specific climates or have a lifestyle that increases their risk of diseases, so your vet should inform you whether your pup requires some of those as well.

A puppy’s vaccinations will typically start at around 6-8 weeks of age, and they will receive boosters every couple of weeks until they are finished with the shots at around 4 months old, though they will continue getting boosters annually.

If your puppy is due for vaccines at the time of the first vet visit, your vet might administer them right away or book a follow-up appointment.

Expected cost

The cost of your puppy’s first visit will depend on the pup’s age, general health status and previous history. You will most likely spend $100-$300 for an overall checkup that includes a physical exam, a fecal parasite exam, administration of initial vaccines and parasite protection. Of course, if any serious medical issues are discovered during the visit, the total cost will go up.

10 Questions to ask your vet at the first visit

As we mentioned, your puppy’s first vet visit can be a great opportunity for you to educate yourself on all things canine and tailor your care to your pup’s specific needs.

All expectations aside, one thing is for certain – your veterinary team will have a lot of information to provide. To keep the appointment structured and avoid getting lost in the details, you could write down your most important questions beforehand.

And if you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, here are some ideas on where to start.

  • How many vaccines will my puppy need and when should we return for the next one?
  • Is it safe for my young puppy to be around other dogs?
  • What is the best approach for socializing my puppy?
  • When is the optimal time to spay or neuter my puppy?
  • What is the right diet for my puppy?
  • Which parasite protection is best for my puppy?
  • When should I begin training my puppy, and how?
  • Which health problems are typical for this breed?
  • Should I microchip my puppy, and when?
  • How can I get the best pet insurance?

There is more than one right way to raise a healthy and happy dog. The answers to some of these questions can be wildly diverse and depend on each individual case, but your vet should be able to give you clear and concise answers and adjust your expectations according to what’s normal for a growing pup.

Final tips

In order to prepare for a successful first vet visit, make sure to:

  • Schedule the visit at a time that enables you to be present. Don’t send your puppy to their first vet visit with someone else – you might lose valuable information, and the comforting presence of the primary caretaker will be very helpful to your pup during this stressful event for him or her
  • Expect to spend $100-$300 for the first visit, but keep in mind that the cost may be even higher if serious health issues are discovered
  • Bring along all records that you received from the breeder or shelter. These will help the veterinary team to establish which treatments your puppy has already received.
  • Not only should you prepare questions before going, but you should also take notes during the visit. Instead of getting overwhelmed and forgetting half of it by the time you’re home, you should stay on top of the facts and instructions and make the most out of the visit.

 Believe us, your puppy will always find a way to show loving appreciation for your loving care!

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