Your Puppy's First Veterinarian Visit

Puppy care involves more maintenance than adult dog care. One important step in puppy care is an initial visit to the veterinarian, ideally within her first week of coming to live with you. This trip can be much less stressful for both you and the puppy if you know what to expect.

How to find a veterinarian you can trust


Ideally, find an office where your puppy will see the same veterinarian every visit so he or she can get to know your puppy and better monitor her development. This will also help relieve stress for you and your puppy during the visit. Ask your friends or family members for referrals.


What to ask before the first puppy care visit:

  • What university the veterinarian attended (diplomas and continuing education credentials)
  • What the office hours are (regular and emergency)
  • What he or she will do during your puppy’s first visit, and how much it will cost
  • Whether you can be in the examining room with your puppy
During the exam:

Your veterinarian’s policies and the age of your puppy will be the guide, but generally, the veterinarian will:

  • Want to handle your puppy (instead of having you do it) so they can get used to each other
  • Look for any health issues, like birth defects, parasites or infectious diseases
  • Perform a physical exam (depending on your puppy’s age)
  • Recommend a vaccination schedule (typically starting with the Distemper vaccine (DHPP) around 6 or 7 weeks old)
  • Discuss microchipping with you (so your pet can be more easily reunited with you if separated by accident)

What to ask during the visit:

  • Puppy care questions specific to size/breed
  • Whether you should get pet insurance
  • What type of food your veterinarian recommends and why
What you should bring to your puppy’s first veterinary visit?

  • If your puppy is several weeks old, she may have already seen the veterinarian under the breeder’s care. If so, bring any previous medical records to the first visit with your veterinarian.
  • Take a stool sample from your puppy so the veterinarian can inspect it for worms. Many puppies are born with roundworms, and treatment may begin as early as 2 weeks.
  • Bring a list of questions. 

It’s easy to get sidetracked with other conversation and forget to ask your more pressing questions. Knowing what to expect from your puppy’s first visit to the veterinarian will make it less stressful for you both. Be sure to reward her with a little extra playtime or TLC when you get home to reinforce her good behavior!

TIPS TO TAKE AWAY

  • One important step in puppy care is an initial visit to the veterinarian.
  • Bring any previous medical records to the first visit with your veterinarian.
  • Be sure to reward her with a little extra playtime or TLC when you get home to reinforce her good behavior.