Everyone loves getting a new puppy, and caring for them is essential. That first visit to the veterinarian is a big one, so you must be prepared for all that could happen. The first visit is going to set the baseline for your dog's health, and it is the best time to find anything that could be a concern as the puppy grows.
Timing of the First Visit
Most puppies should make their first trip to the veterinarian around six to eight weeks old. If the puppy is a little older, it is okay, but they need to get into the vet before twelve weeks, or they will get behind in the care they need.
If you are getting your puppy from a breeder or a third party, check with them because they may have done the first visit already. In some states, they are required to, and in other states, they are not, so depending on where you are, it could be up to you to do.
What to Expect at the Vet
The first visit to the veterinarian will include a full physical check of your pup. The vet will check the puppy's ears, eyes, nose, mouth, coat, and body. They will also do a vision check, hearing exam, and an alertness check.
Once the exam is complete, the vet will give your puppy their first immunizations, including distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and rabies. In most states, rabies is required to get your puppy licensed, and you could be fined if you do not have it done.
Booster shots happen ever few weeks until about four months of age. Then, it is just shots every year as needed to keep your dog healthy and safe from diseases.
The vet will also give the puppy a medicine called a dewormer to get rid of any intestinal worms like roundworms, which are common in puppies. Often this medication is provided to you to give the puppy at home, and the vet will likely ask you for a stool sample at the next visit to be sure there are no worms left in the stool.
While you are at the veterinarian's office, you may want to ask about having a microchip put under the puppy's skin that will show the pup belongs to you if you ever get separated. The chip is quick and easy to put in and doesn't hurt the puppy much. The chip is only about the size of a grain of rice and goes right between the shoulder blades so that if your dog is ever lost and taken to a shelter or vet, they can be scanned and returned to you.
To learn more about pet care, contact a veterinarian in your area.