Your big day has arrived, and you're full of excitement. It's time to take home your new puppy! Maybe you're heading home from a breeder, or you've found your furry soulmate at a shelter, but either way, one of your first questions is probably, "When should I introduce my new puppy to a veterinarian?"
The easy answer is: soon. Your new puppy will need a once-over from a vet within the first week of your new time together, and it's not a bad idea to schedule your visit as soon as three days after bringing a puppy home. Many breeders put a veterinary visit in their contract to ensure that your puppy stays healthy and has a physical exam shortly after the sale, and for a good reason: that first visit will be full of helpful information for you and vital care for your dog.
What to Expect: Your Puppy's First Exam
Your relationship with your vet will be a crucial one to the health of your pet. Having a vet who knows your pet's medical history, temperament and environment will significantly increase your dog's overall health and wellbeing, and make it easier to diagnose issues early on. Choose a vet clinic that shows commitment to pet health, is accredited by nationally-recognized organizations, and is well-reviewed by your local community.
Be sure to call ahead and ask what your vet would like you to bring to your first appointment. Your vet may ask for a fecal sample to check for worms and any medical records to begin your pet's file.
Here's what to expect during your puppy's first exam.
- Listening to heart and lungs
- Rectal temperature check
- Physical examination, including palpitating abdomen and lymph nodes
- Checking for roundworm
- Discussion of medical history and answering any questions
- Laying out a vaccination schedule to keep your puppy healthy
And don't forget the checklist of what you'll need to bring to the vet: a poop sample, any medical documents you have, and your questions.
When Should Your Puppy Go to the Vet?
After that initial visit, it's important to build a habit of routine checkups and visits. Your puppy will grow rapidly in the first year of life, and it's vital that you keep up with vaccinations and wellness checkups.
Beyond regular wellness visits, take your puppy to the vet immediately if you notice:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Appetite issues
- Oozing eyes
- Infrequent or irregular urination
- Changes in mood or behavior that may signal pain or discomfort
As always, if you have any questions about your pet's wellbeing, we'd be happy to help. Contact us anytime.