If you are a new pet parent, don’t forget about the importance of the first vet visit to give your new furry family member a clean bill of health. Also, this provides a key opportunity to foster a solid relationship with a veterinary provider that could potentially provide care for your pet across the lifespan. This continuity of care can contribute to a long, healthy, and comfortable life for your dog.
Some other things to know about this very-important first vet visit include:
The Sooner, the Better
Time is of the essence for your puppy to visit the vet for the first time, especially if you got your new canine companion from a rescue or shelter. A lot of rescued animals have unknown backgrounds, so it makes sense to have a vet look for any health issues that the pup may have been exposed to.
Be Prompt and Punctual
If you want to build a relationship with your veterinarian, be respectful of their time. Be prompt and punctual for appointments, and show up to pick up your pet, as suggested by the veterinary team. Don’t be late, cancel at the last minute, or contribute to issues that cause delays for other veterinary clients.
Take a Look Around
Don’t be afraid to look around during- and before- taking your pet in for their first vet visit. Watch how staff interact with the clients and pets- and see how receptive they are to questions. After all, if this will be your pet’s lifelong provider, you want to feel comfortable engaging them.
Look at Urgent Care
Ask at the first vet visit if they offer emergency hours or urgent care. This ensures you know who to call in the middle of the night, or when a crisis occurs with your pet. If your vet doesn’t offer this service, they typically have a local provider that they refer their patients to. Add the contact information to your phone.
Prepare for the Visit
Do you know what to expect during your puppy’s first visit? A lot of the protocols are similar to any medical exam or checkup; also, your veterinarian may have specific guidelines referring to the owner being present during the visit. Ask to find out when making your appointment.
Other common procedures during the first visit include:
- Weighing your pet.
- Using a stethoscope to listen to the lungs and heartbeat.
- Rectal temperature reading.
- Examination of ears, eyes, nose- as well as all over the body.
- A closer look at the dog’s coat and skin for irregularities.
- Look inside the mouth.
Most vets will ask you to bring a stool sample for lab testing. This detects whether the puppy has worms, another common issue. This is also the time that your vet will recommend vaccinations that can help keep your pet healthy- as well as those required by law, like rabies.
Start a File
Start a file of paperwork, such as medical records from the breeder or rescue, vaccination records, and microchip information, to ensure continuity of care from one visit to the next. Provide copies of documents related to your pet, but that isn’t on record with your veterinary provider, so the vet can incorporate these into your puppy’s medical records. This would include pre-adoption documents or transcripts from visits to other veterinary providers or emergency care.
Do you have a new puppy or kitten? Visit or contact CVETS, a brand new, state of the art Emergency Vet and Surgery center in Columbia, SC, for your first vet visit. This allows an opportunity to establish a collaboration with a vet for care throughout your pet’s life.