Puppy's First Vet Visit: Checklist & What to Expect

You've done it! You've added a new furry companion to your family, now what? Today, our La Mesa puppy vets share a handy checklist to help you have a smooth visit and to know what to expect while at the appointment.

When should you schedule your new puppy's first vet visit?

Your new puppy has likely already had at least one vet visit by the time you bring them home. Your pup should have come with paperwork that states what care your puppy has received, any vaccinations or parasite prevention that have been administered and when it was done, as well as when you should schedule your puppy’s next vet visit in La Mesa.

Although your puppy have have recently seen the vet for a checkup you should also schedule a visit with your own vet so they can be introduced and your vet can make sure that everything is on track. This will allow the vet to review your puppy’s records and quickly provide any overdue care.

When you get a new pet, the puppy and kitten vet will perform a thorough examination to look for signs of any potential issues. Learning about any potential concerns as soon as possible will be ideal especially since many pets come with health guarantees from breeders.

Our puppy and kitten vets in La Mesa schedule visits every 3 to 4 weeks starting when puppies are 6 to 8 weeks old and ending when they are 4 or 5 months old.

Once your puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old they will begin to receive their routine vaccinations. When vaccinations are starting late your puppy's vet may choose to fast-track the first couple of sets of puppy shots. Your vet may adjust this plan based on your puppy’s history and needs.

Checklist: What to Bring With You

  • The vet records that you were given with your new puppy
  • A written list of the questions that you plan on asking
  • Notes on how much of what types of foods and treats you have
  • Dog carrier or crate lined with some old towels 
  • Leash and collar or harness
  • Chew toy for distraction
  • Small treats to reward good behavior
  • Any forms provided by your vet that you have already filled out
  • A fresh stool sample from just before your arrival

Our puppy and kitten vets in La Mesa request that you keep your pet either in a crate or on a leash for the duration of your time in our clinic in order to help us keep a calm and safe environment.

What will happen during your puppy's vet visit?

Our kitten and puppy vets in La Mesa will begin your visit by discussing your puppy's home life and behaviors along with:

  • A weight check
  • A complete physical examination, which includes
  • Observing the puppy move around the exam room
  • Looking at the whole body including the eyes, ears, nose, feet, nails, skin, coat, and genitalia
  • Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs
  • Checking reflexes
  • Measuring temperature and pulse and respiratory
  • Opening the mouth to check out the teeth, gums, and other structures
  • Checking the eyes and ears 
  • Palpating the lymph nodes, joints, and organs within the abdomen

Some of the care concerns that our puppy vets will discuss with you include:

  • Dental care
  • Grooming needs
  • Nutrition
  • Flea, tick, heartworm, and internal parasite control
  • Vaccination schedules
  • Exercise and play requirements
  • Behavior and socialization
  • Pet identification, including microchips and tags
  • Reproductive health, including the benefits and risks of spaying and neutering
  • Travel requirements
  • Pet safety and disaster preparedness
  • Diseases that can be spread from pets to people (and vice versa)

Are there any other questions that you should ask the vet?

While going over everything listed above you should have most if not all of your questions answered, but in case your puppy vet forgot to talk about something or the information they provided was confusing, don’t hesitate more questions. 

Here are some of the other questions that you may want to ask your vet:

Is my puppy up-to-date with vaccinations?

Your puppy or kitten vets in La Mesa highly recommend having your new pet appropriately vaccinated. They have to be kept up to date to help protect them from a wide range of serious and often life-threatening illnesses and diseases. Our vets will always try to keep your puppy on track with their routine vaccinations in order to ensure adequate protection against diseases.

Does my puppy seem to be behaving as they should?

Pets do strange things that worry their owners, such as biting, wheezing, or itching. Always keep track of these behaviors and consult with your puppy vet if you suspect an underlying condition. It would help if you also told your veterinarian when these behaviors occurred so they can make an accurate diagnosis.

Is my puppy a healthy weight and size?

As your puppy grows, you may find it difficult to keep track of whether or not they are at a healthy weight and size for their breed. Pets of all breeds and ages must adhere to specific weight guidelines in order to live healthy lives. Even a few extra pounds over or underweight can put your pet at risk for a variety of health problems (some of which are life-threatening), making this a critical question.

Should I be thinking about parasite prevention?

When your puppy is very young they may not be able to receive any standard preventive medications. Fortunately, your puppy vet in La Mesa will be able to recommend or prescribe a prevention product that will work best for your pet and talk about when it will be safe to administer this care.

What do all of these things on my bill mean?

Once you have your bill there may be a large number of items on it. To give you a better understanding of the services offered, you can ask your vet to explain each of the costs. This can also help with planning for future visits for your puppy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Would you like to book an appointment for your new puppy to have their first checkup? Contact our La Mesa vets today!