Our Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic veterinarians in Santa Clarita help you prepare for your puppy's first vet visit. They'll walk you through everything you need to know and provide a checklist for a successful visit.
When should you take your puppy for its first vet visit?
It's important to schedule a visit to the vet within a few days of bringing your new puppy home. During this visit, the vet will review your puppy's records, conduct a physical exam, and check for any health concerns.
Generally, puppies should have appointments every 3-4 weeks starting at 6-8 weeks of age and ending at 4-5 months old.
First vaccinations are usually given when the puppy is 6-8 weeks old. If your puppy is older than 4-5 months, they can be vaccinated in two visits that are spaced 3-4 weeks apart. Your vet may adjust the plan based on your puppy's specific needs.
Before your appointment, it's important to collect as much information as possible to share with your vet.
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
When traveling with small puppies, keeping them in a crate is safer and more comfortable. You shouldn't assume that you can hold them in your arms when they encounter new sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic. Remember to bring a harness or leash to keep your dog calm if they get 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 veterinarian will give you all the essential information needed for taking care of your new puppy. However, it is crucial to go over the essential topics thoroughly. If you have any queries or need further clarification, do not hesitate to ask your vet for assistance.