If you're a new puppy parent, our Richmond veterinarians will guide you through everything you need to know for a successful first vet visit. Get ready with a comprehensive puppy first vet visit checklist.
When should you take your puppy for its first vet visit?
Schedule a first vet visit for your new puppy within a few days of bringing them home.
The vet will review their records, perform a physical exam, and check for health concerns. Puppies typically have appointments every 3-4 weeks starting at 6-8 weeks old, and ending at 4-5 months old.
First vaccinations usually begin at 6-8 weeks old. If your puppy is older than 4-5 months, they can be vaccinated in two visits spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Your vet may adjust the plan based on your puppy's needs.
Before your appointment, you should collect as much information as possible.
Puppy’s First Vet Visit Checklist
- Any veterinary records you received from the breeder or shelter
- A written list of important questions
- 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 stool sample, as fresh as possible
Small puppies will be more comfortable and safer traveling in a crate. Do not assume that you will be able to hold your puppy in your arms when they experience all the new sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic. It is important to bring a harness or leash to control your dog if they are feeling stressed.
What to Expect During Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit
Veterinary staff will start the visit by asking you a series of questions about your puppy’s history and how they are doing at home, followed by:
- 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
Throughout all the new puppy vet visits, the veterinary staff will discuss many important aspects of puppy care with you including
- Dental care
- Grooming needs
- 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)
Questions to Ask the Veterinarian
Your vet will provide all the necessary information to care for your puppy, but be sure to review the important topics. If you have any questions or need clarification, don't hesitate to ask.