Your puppy’s first trip to the vet is an important event – not only for your puppy, but for you as well. The first vet visit gives you the chance to ask questions about things you may be unsure of in relation to supporting your puppy’s health and wellbeing as it grows.
Find a practice
Be sure to register your puppy with a veterinary practice as soon as possible; you may already be familiar with a good veterinary practice but if not, it’s time to shop around.
Rather than just choosing a vet right of the cuff, do some research first to make sure you find a practice with a good reputation – ask fellow dog-owning friends for information about their vet and/or look at reviews online.
If you’re struggling to decide, just pop in and have a chat with the staff about the services they offer. Most vets will be happy to show you around their practice if you ask them – but be sure to arrange this with them in advance, rather than just turning up.
When you’re considering which vet to choose, factor these aspects into your decision:
- Regular & emergency working hours
- The vet’s professional history
- Travel distance (important during an emergency)
Once you’ve registered your puppy with a practice and booked an initial assessment, it’s time to consider the first check-up from your puppy’s point of view.
Because this is a new experience, your puppy might be overwhelmed and may seem worried when you first arrive at the vets, particularly as everyone wants to stroke or cuddle a cute puppy! If so, make sure that you take it slowly and ask people nicely to give him or her space and time to adjust. Have some treats on hand to help them see a visit to the vets as a positive experience.
The vet will carry out a thorough examination to assess the general health of your puppy and if they still seem scared, remember that they’re in good (and professional) hands and you should soon notice your puppy’s fear subside.
Your vet should discuss maintaining your puppy’s health with you on your first visit. They will be able to advise you on things like:
- Microchipping (by law, puppies have to be microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old)
- Parasite control (including fleas, worms, mites and ticks)
- Vaccination schedules
Establishing a good rapport with the vet and the practice is ideal for both you and your puppy – after all, this could be the vet that oversees your puppy’s health all the way into its senior years.
Don’t be afraid to ask the vet anything you’re unsure about, they are there to help support your puppy’s good health and can advise on a wide variety of topics – including things like training, and socialisation with other people and animals.
Your vet can give you plenty of guidance on caring for your new puppy. Don’t worry about remembering everything the vet tells you on that first visit, good vets are always happy to provide you with informative leaflets and further advice on how to keep your new puppy in the very best of health.
Looking for more puppy pointers? Check out this interesting article on what your puppy learns at each growth stage.