So, you’ve finally adopted a brand-new puppy into your family. Congratulations! The following years will be filled with love, care, and excitement as you deepen your bond with your pup. But before then, there are plenty of things you have to do to get your puppy adjusted to their new life. Namely, they need to go to the vet.
This is not something that most dogs or owners look forward to, but it’s a necessary part of dog ownership. Below are our tips and tricks to help you and your puppy prepare for their first vet visit:
Most experts recommend that you schedule a vet visit for your pup within a few days of bringing them home. That way you can ensure your puppy is up to date on their shots, and you can uncover any underlying health concerns.
How to find the right veterinarian
If this is your first pet, then you likely don’t have a veterinarian you can call yet. Thankfully, there are many ways you can find a new vet. Here are a few steps to get you started:
- Get recommendations: Talk with friends, families, and even your breeder. While you should always get a vet that’s good for your dog, recommendations are a great place to start.
- Research online: Sometimes a simple Google search will do the trick. Check out online reviews and read through their websites to get a sense of what a particular veterinarian is like.
- Check professional accreditations: As you’re doing your research, make sure that a veterinarian has the required accreditations and experience. See where they went to college and if they’re accredited by the American Animal Hospital Associations (AAHA).
Preventing vet anxiety
Some puppies will be terrified of the vet’s office. If this anxiety is left untreated, then the problem will only get worse as your dog gets older. Preventing vet anxiety may take several trips to the vet’s office, but it’s not impossible to accomplish.
- Start with happy visits: When you find a veterinarian, schedule a meet-and-greet where your dog can get used to the office and the vet. These “happy visits” will teach your dog that the vet’s office is not a scary place to be.
- Bring something familiar: If your pup is nervous, bring something familiar along with them. Their favorite toy or blanket can help keep them calm and secure.
- Reward good behavior: Bring a bag of treats and reward your pup if they’re behaving well. For instance, if they’re sitting in the waiting room without incident, reward them with a few treats.
- Get them used to the car: It’s important to teach your puppy that car rides don’t always end up at the vet’s office. Take them out for regular rides to various spots to get your pup used to the car.
What to expect during your puppy’s first vet visit
You’ve made your appointment, and you’ve taken steps to reduce your puppy’s anxiety. Now it’s time to actually go to their first exam. While most vet visits are pretty routine, there may be a few extra steps during their first visit. After you take your puppy into the exam room, here’s what your veterinarian will do:
- Check their weight
- Listen to their heart and lungs
- Take their temperature
- Examine the eyes, ears, nose, feet, genitalia, skin, and coat
- Examine their teeth and mouth
- Examine a fecal sample (vets may request you bring one to your first appointment)
- Check their reflexes
- Answer any questions you may have and discuss your puppy’s history