Before you bring your adorable new dog home, you should be planning for your puppy’s first vet visit. Register with a local vet to make sure you’re prepared and when you have your new puppy, arrange an appointment and let them know it's a new puppy health check. Your vet may want to allocate your puppy a bit more time than the usual 10-minute check-up just to make sure everything gets off on the right foot.
At their first consultation, your pup will have a thorough examination and your vet will discuss puppy vaccinations with you.
Details of any previous treatments, which your breeder or the rescue centre should have supplied, will be useful to bring along.
You’ll have a chat about common problems such as worms and fleas, including how to treat and prevent them, (which again your breeder or the rescue centre should have given you details of), as well as microchipping, neutering, and any questions you have about puppy health care. You might also talk about feeding, exercising and grooming.
During your puppy’s first consultation, the vet will go through a general wellbeing checklist which may include:
Remember to also ask for details of puppy owner groups and dog-training classes held at the surgery or nearby, as these will help your puppy with training and becoming socialised.
The cost of your puppy’s check-ups will vary depending on your dog’s health and where you live. A young puppy needs a series of vaccinations which will increase the initial costs, so be ready for the first vet bill to reflect that. However, when it comes to the regular puppy check-ups the cost will likely decrease. Unless your puppy needs special medication, most vet trips won’t be significant out-of-pocket affairs.
3. Fleas, ticks and worms
Ideally, your vet should see your puppy at least once a year, and more frequently at the start or if they have special medical needs.
These regular visits play a huge part in the 'prevention is better than cure' approach, so don't hold off making the appointment just because your dog seems fit and healthy to you. Your vet will check your puppy over, including listening to their heart and lungs, running their hands over their abdomen to check for any unusual signs, checking for problems with their skin, coat, eyes and ears and scanning their microchip to check it's in working order.
Another advantage of these annual check-ups is to get your dog used to visiting the vet surgery when they’re well. If they only visit when they’re hurt or ill they can become nervous about seeing the vet, associating their trips with bad times or stressful experiences. It’s a good idea to pop into the vet practice every so often, even if you don’t have an appointment. The receptionists and vet nurses will always appreciate a cuddle and it will create a positive memory for your furry friend.
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