Puppy's First Vet Visit

Avanna Lilly

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Small puppyPhoto by Leohoho on Unsplash

Ok, now that you have your new puppy. You have them home, settled, and named. So what's next? Well, new pet parent, the next step on this wonderful journey of pet parenthood is a trip to your veterinarian. Time to get that little fluff nugget checked over, de-wormed, and vaccinated!

Step 1: Pick a veterinarian

This step is the easiest and the hardest. You want to choose one close to where you live in case of an emergency. You want a vet that's easy to talk to willing to listen, one who will answer your questions and explain exactly what's going on with your pet.

You do not want a vet that runs the clientele through like cars in a car wash. Even though they are the medical professional, you know your pet better than anyone and when it comes down to it, YOU are the one who is ultimately responsible for what sort of treatment they receive.

This is very important to remember. It's your choice as to the treatment of your pet. They are just there to advise you to the best of their medical abilities. Like any health care professional, they work for you, not the other way around. Don’t be afraid to ask for explanations or details.

Step 2: Prepare Thyself

Well, you got a veterinarian picked, a check-up appointment made and your schedule cleared. (It's best to stay home with your little darling fluffer after those vaccinations to make sure they don't have any reactions.) Now you need a battle plan and checklist.

1. Your puppy's medical records: From the breeder, shelter, rescue or person you acquired your pup from.

2. Harness: Be sure to have let them wear it a few times a day BEFORE you take them to the vet. You don't want a fluffy little spazz out from the harness and the pile on some more spazz with the pokey checky vet.

3. Leash: 6ft (1.83 m) length is best

4. A towel and puppy pads: Puppies like small children are little moving flurries of destruction and messiness.

I'm going, to be honest with you here. There is a very definite chance that your puppy is going to pee, poop, possibly vomit (or a combination of these 3 things) on you whilst on this veterinary adventure. Puppies tend to pee when nervous or excited. Motion sickness can cause vomiting with pets just like it does with people, and we all know what can happen with highly anxious bowls. BE PREPARED!

Special Note: Wet wipes: See above… Enough said. As with kids always have plenty of wet wipes.

Prepare the car: As mentioned this could get messy. Wherever the puppy is going to sit, you are going to sit and hold it or where its puppy carrier is going to place should be ready just in case. Place a puppy pad down the seat and cover it with a towel. You can also place both of these items in your lap if you are holding the pup.

Pet carrier: If your pet is very small or finds comfort in a small place a pet carrier might be your best option for transport. Be sure to line it with a puppy pad or towel to help prevent possible accident leaks. However, if the carrier freaks Fido out it's probably best to leave it at home.

A pen and paper: Use this to write down any questions you might want to ask your veterinarian beforehand and record their responses here. *I will give you a few examples of things you might want to ask a bit later so keep reading.

... Next, stop the vet's office.

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The Visit

Congratulations fluff mom or dad you made to the veterinarian's office. Now that you here do you know what to ask? What is going to happen? Let me give you an in-general run down.

This is most commonly known as a wellness check. A basic assessment of your puppy's health. Weight, height, coat, eyes, teeth, and gums are used to evaluate your puppy's overall health. They will be sure he or she is the appropriate weight and height for its breed (or best breed guess, mutts, and mixes) and age.

They will check for bright clear eyes, a full shiny coat, and pink healthy gums. All these things are good indicators of your puppy's health. Your veterinarian might check your puppy's ears (ear mite and hearing check) and feet (torn claws, healthy nail or to see if they might need a trim.)

Vaccines

There are 2 types of vaccinations your puppy or dog can receive. Core vaccines and Non-core vaccines. (Explained below.) Vaccines are so vital to your pet's health and welfare.

Core vaccines

Core vaccines are vaccines that protect from diseases that are common to a region, those that have a potential public health significance, those that are required by law, virulent/highly infectious, and/or those posing a risk of severe disease.

Your puppy's core vaccines are their DA2PP series and Rabies. Not only are they required by law (Rabies) but they prevent diseases that are highly contagious and most often fatal to your dog or puppy. DA2PP stands for… Distemper, Adenovirus [Cav-1 and Cav-2], that's the A2 part, Para-influenza, and Parvovirus.

If you would like to know more about these illnesses check the American Veterinarian Association's website for a more in-depth description.

Non-core Vaccines

Non-core vaccines are optional vaccines. These should be considered based on your pet's risk (i.e., based on geographic distribution and the pet's lifestyle).

Dogs who spend a lot of time in Dog daycare, kennels, traveling or at Dog parks, etc… may require the Bordetella and Influenza vaccine. Some dog training classes and pet care facilities require them for admission. Discuss with your vet what non-core vaccines they suggest for your little fluffer.

Worming

Deworming your pup is also very important to their overall health. Parasite infection can severe weight loss, illness, and even death. They can affect the digestive, respiratory, heart, and central nervous systems. This is why the worming process starts so early in a puppy's life. It ensures they grow to meet their full potential.

I am not just referring to the worms most people think of like tapeworms. There are many others. These are the five main types of worms that most commonly affect dogs and puppies: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms.

Some puppies can be born with worms, and they are easily transmittable between pets. Your puppy dewormer will usually take care of all of these except heartworms. Heartworm prevention begins as early as 6 months of age. Ask your vet what they recommend for your puppy.

What should I ask my veterinarian about?

Once, little Fido there has a clean bill of health. Is there anything else you should consult your vet about? Well, knowledge is power so if there's something that's on your mind be sure to ask them. Below I have listed common questions that most 1st-time pet parents have for that initial visit.

What food should I feed my puppy? How much and when.

Is there any reaction I should watch for after my puppy receives their vaccines? How long till the chance of reaction passes?

What Non-core vaccines do you recommend for my pet?

What type of puppy chews do they recommend for the little nibblers

What flea preventive do they recommend?

When do we return for our next visit?

How do I trim my puppy's claw?

At what age are their vaccinations complete enough I can take them to the dog park.

At what age can I enroll my puppy in training classes?

When to schedule follow-up visits?

What age to spay or neuter your pup?

*Ask about micro-chipping

These are just a few suggestions of things you might want to ask your puppy's doctor. Before you visit try to sit down and write out any other questions that might be on your mind.

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Now let's get the pupper home and relaxing in their favorite sleepy place, close to mom and dad. And congrats new pet parent you just completed your 1st achievement as a certified Fluffer parent. Until next time...

~Wags and Good Wishes~

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My articles range in a variance of topics. My favorites being topics History, Culture, Writing, Pets and Lifestyle. My goal as a writer is to educate, inform and possible entertain.

Lufkin, TX
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