What Happens at a Puppy's First Vet Visit?

When should a new puppy meet their vet for the very first time? Whoever provided the puppy (whether they were adopted from an animal shelter or purchased from a breeder) may have their own recommendation, or you could simply ask your new prospective vet about the best schedule. The answer is likely to be that your puppy should be checked sooner instead of later. But what's the purpose of this very first puppy vet checkup?

Core Vaccines and Booster Shots

Your puppy should have already received their first set of vaccinations. These occur quite early in a dog's life, so will have been administered before your puppy joined your family. A core vaccine known as C3 (offering protection from canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus, and canine parvovirus) is the most important, and your vet will create a schedule for your puppy's required booster shots. Other non-core vaccines will be discussed, but the need for these varies depending on the circumstances. For example, if your dog will be attending doggy daycare or a puppy playgroup, they may need to be vaccinated against kennel cough.

An Internal and External Assessment

This first vet checkup also allows your vet to check for any congenital abnormalities (birth defects that may not have previously been detected). This will be both an internal and external assessment. Your puppy won't need x-rays or another form of diagnostic testing at this stage, but you can expect that your vet will listen to your puppy's heartbeat and breathing. This first vet checkup may also uncover evidence of an ailment that affected your dog before they were adopted.

Worms and Other Parasites

Before taking your puppy to the vet, ask if a sample of the dog's feces will be needed. This can be beneficial to check for worms and other parasites, which can be common in puppyhood. Intestinal worms can occur when multiple dogs live in the same proximity to each other, and when a dog is exposed to soil or feces where the parasites are present. This is why any worms or parasites may have already been present when you brought your new puppy home. Your vet will be able to treat any current intestinal worms and can help you to develop an ongoing worming schedule for your puppy.

This first vet checkup serves an important clinical purpose but is also an excellent opportunity to quiz your vet about anything you're unsure about.

To learn more about a puppy vet check up, reach out to a veterinarian near you