When should I take my dog to the vet for the first time? We all have asked that question before getting a dog, or even when we have a set of new puppies in the basket. When do we visit the vet for the first time and what do we need to consider? We will explain to you everything to know about it
The puppy’s first visit to the vet is a very important moment, in which the pup´s health status must be evaluated and the dates set for the start of the vaccination and deworming calendar, essential to prevent the appearance of any pathology.
In this first general review, the specialist will carry out a complete examination and it will be the right moment to resolve any doubts we may have about the care it requires, its diet or socialization. Do you want to know when to take your dog to the vet for the first time? What tests should we expect to be performed?
We will also explain what situations are considered a veterinary emergency or any other questions about puppies. You can not miss this!
When should I take my dog to the vet for the first time?
When to take my dog to the vet for the first time? Puppy dogs, unlike adults, are much more vulnerable to changes in temperature, parasites or viruses than adult dogs. For this reason, it is essential to be alert to any change in behaviour and go to the specialist if we suspect that they might have any health problem.
Puppies that are born at home
The first visit to the vet should take place a few days after the bitch is delivered when she is somewhat a little bit more recovered. The ideal would be to transport the mother and the puppies by car with the use of a well-conditioned carrier, with a well-wrapped hot water bottle to maintain the temperature of the little ones.
This first visit is very important, since both the health of the little ones and the one of the mother, who is the one who should take care of them, must be in perfect condition.
This point is especially important if the mother has not received care, deworming and proper veterinary monitoring during pregnancy, since there is a risk that she may have contracted any disease, and therefore infecting the puppies.
In the case of observing that the mum rejects her puppies and does not feed them, the veterinary visit will be much more urgent, since a newborn puppy must be fed approximately every four hours. In this case, the specialist will explain to us how to feed newborn dogs and will offer us the artificial formula for optimal nutrition.
What the vet will evaluate in the first visit?
- Health status of the mother
- Puppies health status
- Possible malformations
- Mobility and reflexes
- Weight and growth
- Nutrition status
After this first control visit, we will return to the vet when the puppies are one month old to set the dates of vaccination, internal deworming and external deworming, together with the specialist, which usually start around two months.
Puppies that have been adopted or rescued
Especially if we have other animals at home, it is advisable to go to the specialist before taking the puppy home, since we could be introducing viruses and parasites into their environment without being aware of it.
If you have set a date for the adoption, book the visit to the specialist for the same day. Puppies that have been abandoned or rejected by the mother are the most vulnerable to any illness, so be sure to take him to the vet as soon as possible.
It will be advisable to consult, whenever possible, how the puppy has been cared for up to that moment, including her feeding, care and habits. We recommend creating a log with all the feeding times, quantities and care in general.
As in the previous case, when the puppy is four weeks old, we will go to the vet again to specify the vaccination and deworming schedule, which will begin at approximately eight weeks. (3)
What tests is the vet going to do?
The veterinarian must perform a complete examination of our puppy to ensure a good condition.
Your vet will most likely perform auscultation to ensure that both the heart and lungs are working properly. He will also check mucous membranes, teeth, temperature, ears, eyes, nose and reflexes, as well as any other part of the body. It will be important to check, for example, that the testicles have completely descended.
In the event of any anomaly, the specialist may suggest additional tests, such as a blood test, a urinalysis or X-rays. You can also suggest us to carry out a monitoring table in terms of weight and life time, to guarantee that it is developing correctly. Don’t forget to ask any questions you may have!
During the first visit, your vet will explain to you when is the best time to start the puppy’s vaccination schedule, which is essential to prevent life-threatening and serious diseases, such as distemper, parvovirus, rabies or infectious hepatitis.
The standard puppy vaccination calendar is:
- 6 weeks: primary vaccination or first multipurpose vaccine.
- 8 weeks: versatile.
- 12 weeks: a reminder of polyvalent and leptospirosis.
- Likewise, he will explain to you which are the ideal products for internal and external deworming, which should be specific for puppies. The same products should never be used for use in adults, as they could be potentially toxic. Both vaccines and deworming schedules must continue to be performed periodically in the dog so that it continues to be protected throughout its life.
Finally, remember that you should never walk a puppy without vaccines since he is susceptible to contracting any virus, bacteria or parasite that resides in the environment. (4)
When to take a puppy to the vet? – Emergency situations
It may happen that the puppy shows some abnormal behaviours and, although they will not always be a symptom of illness, it is convenient to know the most alarming symptoms to know when to take a dog to the vet.
Here are some signs that indicate that you should go to the vet:
- Lack of appetite
- Does not urinate or defecate
- Nasal discharge
- Anomalous movements
What to do next
Also, as a general rule, do not forget to take your dog to the vet in the case of any unusual behaviour, as signs of stress can develop in further issues which will lead to health issues
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Also, if you don´t know what name to put to your new pup, Why don´t you check this guide about the 50 greatest dog names? You will love it!