When should I take my dog to the vet for the first time?
As a dog owner, I have asked this question myself. When do we visit the vet for the first time, and what do we need to consider? We will explain everything you need to know.
The puppy’s first visit to the vet is a crucial moment. Puppy’s health must be evaluated by a professional, and the dates set for the start of the vaccination and deworming calendars. It is essential to prevent the appearance of easily preventable diseases and health issues.
In this first general review, the specialist will carry out a complete examination. It will also be the right moment to resolve any doubts you may have about the care dog requires its diet and socialization. Keep reading for more insights on when you should take your dog to the vet for the first time.
We will also explain what situations are considered a veterinary emergency and other questions regarding puppies. Don’t miss valuable information!
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 behavior and go to the specialist if you suspect that they might have any health problems.
Puppies that are born at home
The first visit to the vet should take place a few days after the puppy is born and the mother has recovered. The ideal would be to transport the mother and the puppies by car using a dog carrier with a well-wrapped hot water bottle to maintain the temperature of the little ones.
This first visit is essential since both the health of the furballs pups and the mothers must be in good condition.
This point is crucial if the mother has not received care, deworming, and proper veterinary monitoring during pregnancy since there is a risk that she may have contracted a disease and therefore could infect the puppies.
In the cases where mum rejects her puppies and does not feed them, the veterinary visit will be much more urgent since a newborn puppy has to feed approximately every four hours. In this case, the specialist will explain how to provide nutrition to newborn dogs and offer an 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 visit, you must return to the vet when the puppies are one month old to set the vaccination dates, internal deworming, and external deworming, together with the specialist, which usually starts around two months.
Puppies that have been adopted or rescued
Going to the specialist before taking the puppy home is advisable, especially if you have other animals. Otherwise, you could be introducing viruses and parasites into the 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.
Note that abandoned and rejected puppies can be more vulnerable to illness. To ensure their wellbeing, see a vet straight away.
For puppies adopted from a kennel or household, it might be helpful to know what they have been eating and any observations of their health condition. Usually, they would have received deworming and first vaccinations before being given to new owners.
A rescued puppy will have a different story. It would be helpful to ask around if people have noticed when the puppies have been born and if the mother is still around. They most likely will be malnutrition and full of ticks and parasites. So an immediate vet check-up will be in order.
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 bill of health.
Your vet will most likely perform auscultation (listening to their heart and lungs) to ensure that both the organs are working correctly. 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 essential to check, for example, that the testicles have ultimately descended.
In the event of any anomaly, the specialist may suggest additional tests, such as a blood test, a urinalysis, or X-rays. They can also recommend that you carry out a monitoring table in terms of weight to guarantee that the puppy is developing correctly. Don’t forget to ask any questions and clear any worries 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. This schedule is essential to prevent severe and life-threatening 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 should I take my dog to the vet?Emergency situations
The puppy might show some abnormal behaviors, although it might not be a symptom of illness.
So 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
As a general rule, take your dog to the vet in the case of any unusual behavior, as signs of stress can develop into further issues, leading to health issues.
If you like the above article on when to take your dog to the vet for the first time, why not check: How often should you take your cat to the vet?
Also, if you don’t know what name to put to your new pup, Why not check this guide about the 50 greatest dog names? You will love it!