(In this article our resident vet, Dr. Sara, shares tips on keeping your new puppy happy and healthy. Check out her helpful dog and puppy health checklist below so you and your pup make the most out of your visits to the vet!)
It’s that time of year again! Spring always seems to bring in an abundance of new puppy visits to veterinarian offices as people look to keep their puppies healthy.
The better weather makes walks and puppy potty training more fun so many of you have taken the plunge by adding a furrier member into your family.
Even if you are already months into the new dog party, it never hurts to revisit the basics because there are frequently detours on the road to success.
How Often Should You Bring Your Puppy to the Vet
For any new animal, even if it is an older, you should expect more than one visit to the veterinarian in the first few months.
If your animal is a puppy, you should expect to go to the vet at least every 3-4 weeks until they are somewhere between four and six months old depending on the animal and the plan you and your vet lay out for the health needs of your unique new friend.
Don’t Forget the Dog Feces
After you remember to collect that fresh fecal sample about the size of your thumb for the veterinarian to test for parasites, make a list of topics you want to address when you head out to the clinic with your new puppy.
Come With Your Puppy Health Questions
With any new pet, there are situations and questions that can come up at home that are special to this animal and your house.
By coming to the visit prepared with questions written down you can be a great advocate for this animal and get your vet?s expert advice on the most pressing topics to keep everyone on track.
It is on you to be the grown-up, working together with the vet to come up with a plan to keep this pet living their best life.
If there are multiple people in change of taking care of the new puppy, consider bringing more than one household member to the appointment if there have been struggles in getting everyone on the same page.
Some common questions or ideas you might want to think about prior to heading in for a routine wellness visit are listed below.
Not all of these will be appropriate to your situation or the most pressing topics that you want to cover. You can also ask the front desk, business managers, and techs their opinions of the less medically focused topics.
Bring in a notebook and pen to jot down some answers because it is impossible to remember all the information that could flow your way. Take the pamphlets or business cards and put them in a secure place.
Your puppies health care team has been thinking about this stuff for years so they likely can rattle the answers off faster than you can commit those answers to memory.
I like to use a composition notebook for each of my pets so I can keep all the information from home and the clinic synched up.
I write down dates with questions or situations that come up as well as taping in vaccination records, trainer notes, medications or whatever I think may be handy to remember in the future.
Dog and Puppy Health Topics
- Plan for vaccines, fleas, heartworm, parasite control and when you should schedule your next preventative care visit.
- Insurance-Which companies does this clinic work well with and why? Any favorites?
- Recommendations on housesitter, kennel, groomer, trainer, emergency clinic.
- Basic grooming tips for nails, ears, eye boogers, and hair management.
- Advice on crates/crating, collars, leashes, microchips. Sizing for your pet, brands, styles.
- Housetraining tips and tricks.
- Housemate bonding or lack thereof.
- How to socialize your pet appropriately for their age and vaccination status.
- Biting and mouthing issues and how to respond appropriately.
- Toys and treats advice.
- Food brand and amount.
- Plans for spay and neutering.
- Discussion about non-core vaccines and travel plans for this animal.
- When and how to call or bring the pet in if you suspect a problem.
- Setting up for successful vet visits and car rides in the future.
These topics are meant to get you thinking about how you can use your time most effectively at the vet’s office. The ones at the top of this list are typically the more pressing issues at the first few visits but that depends on many factors that are unique to your puppy and household.
Make It Fun For Your Puppy
Don’t spend time on the stuff that you already have all worked out and add feel free to add in any agenda items that are pressing but might not be on the list. Most of all, try to relax and make the visit as fun for you and your animal as possible.
Your vet wants you to succeed and for your puppy to be as healthy as can be! Creating a team approach to realizing this success will lay the foundation for years to come.
This is a great time to focus on all the hope and joy this new friend will bring to your world. Set them and yourself up for a great start!