Congratulations on your new puppy! You're probably enjoying the playtime, snuggles, and getting to know your new pet. As a new pet owner, you're likely wondering what you'll need to do to keep your dog healthy and give her or him a long, healthy life. Your job as a pet parent all starts with taking him or her to the vet—and that first visit a crucial one.
Once you've chosen a veterinarian you'd like to work with, it's time to schedule your first appointment. You'll have plenty of questions to ask your new veterinarian when at this exam. Here are a few you may not have on your radar but should ask.
Your Puppy's First Exam: What to Ask
You'll have around 30 minutes with your vet, and you want to be sure you're not missing anything that you'll wonder about later. Write down a list of any questions you already have, and consider adding these.
- What size will my dog grow to be? You may be familiar with your breed to some extent, but it's possible—especially if you've adopted from a shelter—that you're not sure what size your puppy will grow to be. Your vet will be able to help you identify your puppy's breed if you're not entirely sure and educate you on breed-specific challenges, healthcare needs, and temperament. Your dog's breed may determine some of their healthcare requirements, and you'll want to know about these ahead of time.
- When should I spay or neuter? Every puppy is different, but your veterinarian will be able to give you a ballpark for spaying or neutering. You'll want to do this before they reach sexual maturity, and your vet can give you any information you want about this procedure.
- What kind of vaccinations will my puppy need? Your vet can tell you a rundown of the vaccinations your puppy will need to stay healthy. Some of the vaccinations have the potential to save your puppy's life, and others protect them from bothersome diseases such as influenza that dogs can pick up at parks, kennels and other places where your puppy interacts with other dogs.
- What flea, tick, and parasite prevention should I use? There are parts of the U.S. that are swarming with heartworm, and many types of parasites can be deadly. Your vet will let you know what they recommend to treat and prevent these issues.
- How can I prevent dental disease in my dog? Your vet can help you learn how to brush your puppy's teeth (which you should be doing daily!) and point you in the direction of products to keep your dog's dental health in check.
- When will my puppy be house-trained? As an animal professional, your vet will be able to give you tips and information about house training that could make the process easier on everyone.
- How do I handle barking? Are you tired from nighttime yipping and getting passive aggressive notes from your neighbors? Your vet really can help with barking and howling problems, particularly by helping you identify why your puppy may be vocalizing.
- Why is my dog farting? If you're dreading the nightly apartment stink-up, you may want to ask your vet about your puppy's flatulence. Almost always, this is a fixable issue that's related to diet—and you should ask your vet to make sure your puppy is getting the right nutrition!
- Should I install a microchip? For most vets, this answer will be a resounding yes, and usually, they can do it for you at that first appointment. This microchip could be the difference between finding your pet and losing them forever.
Remember, here at Intermountain Pet Hospital, new clients get their first exam for free! Contact us to learn more.