First Vet Visit Establishes Long-Term Puppy Health

“Don’t waste time if you think your puppy is sick.”

So you brought a puppy home to call your own? Congratulations! As a new pet parent you are about to experience all the wonderful firsts that come with owning this new fur baby! At the top of the list should be scheduling your mini canine’s first veterinarian visit. Establishing regular vet visits from the beginning for a puppy will lay the foundation to build a lifetime of health and happiness.

Since most puppies will go to their forever home at eight weeks, one of the first orders of business should be a veterinary visit. If you have never owned a dog before and have no vet, take the time to select one prior to obtaining your new animal. Pet owners can read online reviews, talk to other dog owners about who they see and do some investigating on their own. Setting up a visit or meet and greet with a prospective veterinarian should ease any concerns you have. Ask questions about service and fees and after- hour availability at this time because those tiny fur babies rarely decide to have an emergency during regular hours. If you feel comfortable with a vet’s performance, chances are you will remain confident throughout your dog’s life. Once a vet has been chosen, the process can start.

Head to Tail Check Up and More

Bring your puppy to the visit in a carrier so he gets used to traveling in it. This will also keep him from getting away from you or finding some mischief while waiting at the vet office. At the first scheduled appointment with the veterinarian, several observations, tests, and shots should be completed. During the initial wellness exam, the vet will weigh the puppy, take his temperature (rectally), check out his heart and lungs, and move on to eyes, ears, nose, feet and genitalia. The vet will examine the abdomen and lymph nodes, the skin and coat, and also the teeth and mouth. The vet may ask you to bring a feces sample for testing to determine if worms are present. (Almost all puppies are born with worms and require deworming). Depending on the puppy’s age, the veterinarian may also start the first vaccines a dog needs.

Bring any paper work you have for the puppy to the first visit. This can be records from the breeder or information from the pet shelter. The vet will want to document as much health history as possible at this point. The vet may make copies of these papers for your dog’s file.

If the vet finds a need for medication or treatments, make sure to follow the instructions correctly for the puppy. Schedule follow-up visits the vet recommends so the baby canine has no lingering health issues. Make sure to ask questions about administering medication and feel comfortable completing this role.

This is a good time to discuss future health care topics like spaying and neutering (if not a pure-breeding candidate) and inserting a microchip. Decide on the proper time frame for carrying out these operations in the future with advice from your vet.

Critical to this whole dog and vet relationship is how they get along. A good vet should love animals and the puppy should like him or her, too. That will make future visits easier for all concerned.

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It Will Cost You But Shouldn’t Break the Bank

The first vet visit will include several costs for this wellness examination. The exact figure will vary based on your geographic location, the level of care needed, the number of tests completed, and the vaccinations given. Establishing the cost of all these procedures prior to your puppy’s first vet visit will help prepare the pet parent for the money needed to get the animal started on the right paw. Most vets should have a readily available price list they will share with you to keep pocket book surprises at a minimum.

Pet owners can expect in the course of a puppy’s lifetime to pay for periodic wellness check ups, fecal and urine exams, vaccinations, dental cleaning, heartworm tests and prevention, flea, tick and worm treatments and prevention. Spaying and neutering should be considered at about six months. Your veterinarian can advise about the optimal time for this procedure based on your dog’s breed and health. Inserting a microchip in a young animal will also help recover him/her if the dog is ever lost.

Dogs will receive both core and non-core vaccinations during their life, depending on the geographical location they reside in. Core vaccinations recommended by the American Veterinary Medicine Association, include distemper, adenovirous-2, canine parvovirus-2, and rabies. Non-core vaccines based on geographic residence are leptospirosis, Lyme disease, and Bordetella. Dogs should also receive booster shots for this immunization in their lifetime. Work with your veterinarian about establishing the correct schedule for needed shots.

In all likelihood, there will also be some canine illness in the dog’s future just like humans experience sickness. These could be urinary infections, respiratory and ear problems, or broken bones due to accidents, and their own curiosity. The important thing is to take the puppy’s health seriously and be ready to roll with the punches.

Much like having a child at home, being healthy comes with a price tag usually. Pets are no different from the tiny humans in that respect. Pet parents should take the same due diligence for their animals that they do for their own human youngsters.

Keep A Watchful Eye

Puppies will experience their own share of illnesses and maladies. Most pet owners will learn their dog’s personality and demeanor very quickly and should notice some obvious indications when the fur baby does not feel well. Just like in children there may be signs of refusing to eat or drink. On the flip side, there may be too much eating and drinking. Diarrhea and vomiting might send up a red flag about eating something the puppy should not have. Prolonged bouts of either though may indicate another serious health issue. Eye and ear infection symptoms can include oozing or watering with excessive rubbing and itching.

Don’t waste time if you think your puppy is sick. Have a vet look him over to assure he gets proper treatment to turn him back into the rambunctious fur ball you know and love.

Make your puppy’s first vet visit a great experience. Snap a pet selfie or get a picture in the vet office to document your fur baby’s initial, big step to long-term health. Of all the firsts your new puppy undertakes this may be the biggest and most important.