Your first vet appointment should happen within a few days of bringing your puppy home. Going to the vet can make your puppy nervous, so it’s important to try to make it as positive as possible so they don’t associate the vet with a bad experience from an early age.
Your puppy should have already seen the vet before coming home. Either your breeder took them in or they saw the shelter vet. This means you need to make sure you bring their records with you. Bring the following to the vet appointment:
- Vaccination record
- Deworming records
- Food brand and type they are on (example: rather than just knowing the brand like “Purina Pro Plus”, you’ll want to know the type they were being fed “Purina Pro Plus Puppy Formula for Large Dogs, Beef and Rice Formula”)
- Stool sample (same day will be fresh enough. Your vet will use it to test for any parasites)
Come prepared with a list of questions for your vet. It’s so easy to forget once you’re there and trying to keep your puppy calm. You should discuss the following with your vet:
- Nutrition: What type of diet do they recommend? Let them know what specific food your puppy is on and make a plan to switch if they recommend another brand or formula. When you are discussing nutrition, discuss the feeding schedule and amount with your vet as well.
- Preventatives: You’ll need to get your puppy on both heartworm and fleas & ticks preventatives. Ask them what brand they recommend and either buy it directly from their office or order it online when you get home. There are several options here, such as oral preventatives and collars. Simparica Trio is a popular oral preventive option as it covers both heartworm and fleas/ticks.
- Vaccine and deworming schedule: Make sure you leave with a complete understanding of all the vaccines and boosters you’ll need for the first year, and when they are due. This will make sure you make appointments on time and also plan any travel for the upcoming year. Note that some vaccine schedules need to be restarted if the booster is not given on time so make sure you have an understanding of the window for vaccination. For example, is a week after the booster due date still “on time”?
- Spay/neuter schedule: What’s the right spay/neuter age given your breed? The right time varies by breed and risk factors, so it’s important to discuss pros and cons of waiting with your vet to determine what’s the right timing for your pup.
- Microchipping: If your puppy is not microchipped, discuss the procedure with your vet. This usually gets done at the same time they are spayed/neutered if they are not already microchipped.