You finally did it. You brought home a new puppy. One of the first things you should do is make an appointment for your new best friend to see a veterinarian. One of the biggest misconceptions among dog owners is that your first vet visit with your new puppy should never occur until it’s time for vaccinations.
According to The Dog Guide, veterinary care usually starts when your dog is 8 to 10 weeks old. This is when most dogs undergo de-worming and receive their first vaccines.
However, if you don’t have records from a breeder or the organization from which you got the puppy, you might want to schedule a physical evaluation right away. A first vet visit usually consists of several parts.
Paperwork and Vital Signs
If you have any records for your puppy, take them with you to the first vet appointment. Make sure to ask whether you should bring a stool sample and how fresh it must be. When you arrive, expect to fill out paperwork about your pet as well as your contact information.
A veterinary technician or vet’s assistant will escort both of you to an exam room and take the dog’s vital signs, such as temperature and weight.
When the vet arrives in the exam room, he or she will ask you a number of questions about your puppy and the home environment. PetPlace.com suggests that some of the most common refer to how long you’ve owned the dog and where you got him or her, the type of food you’re feeding, how you’re dealing with chewing, any difficulties house training, toys the puppy enjoys and how the dog gets along with family members and other pets.
The vet will attempt to answer any questions you have and provide suggestions about training, behavior, feeding and spaying or neutering.
An initial exam includes checking eyes, ears and teeth for any abnormalities. The vet will also look for fleas, ticks and skin problems. Other areas to be examined include the abdomen for pain, belly button for an umbilical hernia, heart, lungs, joints and genitals.
The vet might also check for any breed abnormalities for which your dog has an elevated risk.
Vaccinations should begin between 6 to 8 weeks of age and continue every three to four weeks until the dog is 16 to 20 weeks old. The vet needs to know if the breeder gave any vaccines and will administer follow-up doses accordingly.
The initial puppy vaccination immunizes against several organisms, including distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza. The vet might also recommend vaccinating against leptospirosis and/or coronavirus. Depending on your locale, a Lyme vaccine might be appropriate.
Most vets recommend waiting until a puppy is 12 weeks old to administer a rabies vaccination.
The purpose of de-worming is to protect against damage from parasites. Sometimes a breeder administers the first dose. Even if a stool sample proves negative, most dogs are born with roundworms and need a minimum of two doses, three weeks apart.
Various products are available to protect against damage from heartworms, fleas and ticks. However, they can only be administered at a certain minimum age, depending on the specific product. Your vet will recommend what’s appropriate at each age.
Wrapping It Up
At the end of your puppy’s first vet visit, the doctor will advise when it’s time to return for additional vaccinations or parasite protection. After all puppy immunizations are complete, vet exams are normally once a year.