What You Need to Know for Your Puppy’s First Vet Appointment

Your puppy’s first visit to the vet doesn’t have to be a bad experience.

Who’s more nervous for that first visit to the veterinarian—you or your puppy? You want your puppy to be as relaxed as possible, because this first impression can set the stage for future visits. After all, this is a relationship that will last the rest of your dog’s long, happy, and healthy life!

You’ll have to be prepared before you head to the clinic. Here’s a list of what you need to know for your puppy’s first visit to the vet.

Finding the Right Vet

Not all veterinarians are the same, and if this is your first puppy, ask friends and neighbors who they use or recommend. Go in to make that first appointment—this will give you a good chance to scope out the clinic, meet the staff, and get a good feel for the environment. If there is more than one vet practicing at the clinic, so be sure to get an appointment with the one you want your puppy to see. And always check the office hours, because you need a clinic that’s flexible to your schedule, and if you’re lucky, they have emergency after hours.

Credit Card or Checkbook

Even routine vet visits cost some case, so make you’ve got enough money to cover it. If you’re worried about cost, call ahead to find out how much it’ll cost so you won’t be shocked at the bill. Once your first visit is over, it’s a good time to look at dog insurance policies or structure a budget that will cover future vet visits.

So many Questions

The best person to ask about physical symptoms or unusual behaviors is the vet. There will be a vaccination schedule you’ll have to follow, so book these appointments while you’re at the clinic. This is a good time to talk about feeding concerns or any other issues that arise. Your veterinarian will be happy to answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction of how to make the best health decisions for your puppy.

Puppy Paperwork

Whether your puppy came from a breeder or a shelter, he came with some kind of paperwork. Bring this along with you to your vet appointment, as it will show if your puppy has had any shots (puppies usually come with their first round of vaccinations) or surgeries (neuter or spay). Your veterinarian needs all the info he or she needs in order to follow up on care that’s already been provided.

Stool Sample

In most cases, bringing poop to an important appointment is frowned upon. But in the case of your first vet’s visit, he or she might want to poop and scoop before you come. That’s because it will tell the vet a lot about your dog’s health. The sample will be tested for internal parasites such as hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, coccidia, and giardia. Just hand it over to the lab assistant in a marked bag or container; just make sure your dog’s name is marked clearly on the sample.

Use a Carrier

You may not have thought about this point, but you need a dog carrier before you visit the vet. Your puppy is bound to be nervous, excited or scared—or even all three! Bringing him to the clinic in a carrier is a smart idea for many reasons: it helps with transport, it’s a secure den that’s familiar to your puppy, and it prevents curious pups from getting into everything at the vet’s office.

Meet the Author: Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.

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