So, your new puppy is ready to come home with you! You have all the essentials and have booked your puppy's first appointment with your vet. Here, our Memphis veterinarians explain what to expect and what to ring to your first appointment.
What Happens During the First Vet Visit?
During your puppy's first visit to the veterinarian, they should do the following to help set your young dog up for success:
- weigh the puppy
- take puppy's temperature
- listen to the heart and lungs
- look at the puppy's teeth and mouth
- examine the puppy's skin and coat
- palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
- examine the puppy's eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
- examine the feces for the presence of worms (you should bring a stool sample if you can)
- discuss the puppy’s history and any questions you might have about feeding, medical issues, and future care
- if you are going home with medications or treatments, make sure that you understand when and how they are to be given. Follow directions to the letter, and set up a schedule for follow-up visits and vaccinations.
What Should I Bring to the First Vet Visit?
If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more information at your veterinarian has, the better they will be able to treat your new puppy.
- a chew toy for distraction
- a leash and collar or harness
- a stool sample, as fresh as possible
- small treats to reward good behavior
- any forms provided by your veterinarian that you have already filled out
- any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- a written list of important questions or concerns that you might have
- notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you offer at home
- a dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels or shirts that smell like home
It's important to note that small puppies will be more comfortable and safe in their crate. Don't expect that you will be able to carry a squirming puppy in your arms when visiting the clinic. Puppies will need to kept under control using a leash and collar or a harness. Because of this, treats or a small toy is good idea.
What Should I Ask the Vet During the Puppy's First Visit?
Your veterinarians should be able to provide you with all of the information that you need to help your puppy grow and stay healthy. Based on the information provided above, if you have any questions that you think your vet has overlooked or if the information they gave you is confusing, feel free to ask for clarification.
Having said that, a list of questions can help make the most out of your first visit. Here is a list of some good questions to ask your vet during the visit.
Health & Safety
- Should I microchip my dog?
- When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
- Does my puppy need flea and tick prevention?
- How often does my puppy need to come to the vet?
- How many times a day should my puppy poop?
- What is heartworm disease and why is prevention important?
- Are there any health concerns specific to my puppy’s breed(s)?
Training & Behavior
- Do you know any local trainers?
- How do you potty train a puppy?
- Do you recommend crate training?
- When can my puppy go to the pet store/dog park/groomer?
- How long can she stay in her crate?
- How much exercise does my puppy need?
- How do I socialize my puppy with other humans and dogs?
- What should my puppy eat?
- How many times a day should my puppy eat?
- When do puppies switch to adult dog food?
How Much Will My Puppy's First Vet Visit Cost?
The majority of what occurs during your puppy's first veterinary appointment is routine, but the costs will be determined by a variety of factors such as location, vaccinations and any prescribed medications. Veterinary wellness programs, vaccination clinics and pet insurance can all help you to save money. You can contact your vet for a more detailed estimate so there's no surprise when it comes to payment.