February 24, 2024

Bringing home a new puppy is an exhilarating experience filled with cuddles, playtime, and adorable moments. Amidst the joy, one of the first responsibilities you face as a pet owner is scheduling your puppy’s initial vet visit. Understanding what to expect can help you prepare for a smooth and informative visit, ensuring your furry friend starts on the right paw. Here’s what you should anticipate during your puppy’s first encounter with the vet.

Puppy and Kitten Vet

Choosing the right vet for your puppy’s long-term care is crucial. A puppy vet in Vancouver or wherever you may reside who specializes in the early stages of life can be particularly helpful. Their experience with puppies and kittens means they’re attuned to the specific needs and concerns that arise during the crucial early development period. They can guide you through the nuances of puppyhood, providing peace of mind as you navigate this new chapter.

Before the Vet Visit

Preparation is key when it comes to your puppy’s first vet visit. Gather any medical records or information you have about your puppy, including details about their birth date, any vaccinations they may have received, and any medical treatments or deworming they’ve undergone. Make sure you have a secure carrier or leash for safe transportation, and consider bringing along a favorite toy or blanket to help soothe your puppy.

During the Visit

1. Establishing the Baseline for Health

During the appointment, your vet will likely start by establishing a health baseline for your puppy. This includes a thorough physical examination to inspect overall health and check for any signs of congenital issues or early-onset illness. Here’s what the vet will typically review:

  • Weight and growth patterns
  • The condition of the coat and skin
  • Ears, eyes, and teeth inspection
  • Palpation of the abdomen to assess internal organs
  • Checking the joints and muscles
  • Listening to the heart and lungs

2. Vaccination Protocols and Preventative Care

Vaccines are significant in protecting your puppy against a multitude of infectious diseases. Expect the veterinarian to discuss a vaccination schedule tailored to your puppy’s age, breed, and risk factors. Along with vaccinations, your vet will talk about preventative care, including parasite control for fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

Your vet will outline a vaccination schedule to ensure continuous protection for your puppy as they grow. It’s essential to follow this timeline and book future appointments accordingly. These vaccinations often occur during multiple visits to ensure your puppy’s immune system responds appropriately.

3. Nutrition and Feeding Suggestions

Nutrition plays a crucial role in the overall health and well-being of your puppy. Here are some general guidelines and suggestions regarding puppy nutrition:

  • Age-Appropriate Diet: Puppies have different nutritional needs at various stages of their growth. Young puppies typically require a diet that supports their rapid growth and development. Consult with your vet to determine the best food for your puppy’s age and breed.
  • Balanced Diet: Look for high-quality puppy food that meets the nutritional standards set by organizations like the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). A balanced diet should include essential nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Feeding Schedule: Establish a regular feeding schedule for your puppy. Young puppies often need to eat more frequently than adult dogs, so consider feeding them three to four times a day. As they grow, you can transition to a more typical adult dog feeding schedule.
  • Portion Control: Follow the recommended portion sizes on the dog food packaging, but keep in mind that individual needs may vary. Monitor your puppy’s weight and adjust portions accordingly to maintain a healthy body condition.
  • Fresh Water: Ensure that your puppy always has access to fresh, clean water. Hydration is essential for overall health.
  • Avoid Human Food: While it might be tempting to share table scraps, it’s important to avoid feeding your puppy human food, especially items that can be toxic to dogs. Stick to a nutritionally complete and balanced puppy food.
  • Transitioning Food: If you need to switch your puppy to a different type of food, do so gradually over several days to avoid digestive upset. Mix a small amount of the new food with the old food, gradually increasing the proportion of the new food.
  • Special Dietary Needs: Some puppies may have special dietary needs based on their breed, size, or health conditions. Discuss any concerns or questions with your vet to determine the best approach to meet your puppy’s specific requirements.
  • Treats in Moderation: Treats can be a useful tool in training and bonding with your puppy. However, it’s essential to offer them in moderation to prevent overfeeding and maintain a balanced diet.

4. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

If, during the examination, the veterinarian suspects any health concerns that require advanced analysis, they might need to employ the services of a veterinary diagnostic laboratory. These specialized labs can perform various tests like blood work, urinalysis, or tissue biopsies to provide a comprehensive understanding of your puppy’s health. In some instances, your vet clinic may offer in-house diagnostic services, similar to an animal diagnostic clinic, streamlining the process and offering quicker results.

Your Puppy’s Health Road Map

Document all the information you receive to create a personal health record for your puppy. This includes vaccination schedules, recommended diet, and any special instructions for care. Being organized with this information will be immensely helpful in the long term for maintaining your puppy’s health.

  • The Importance of Consistency: Consistency in following the vet’s advice, maintaining the vaccination schedule, and administering preventative care treatments is vital for your pup’s health. Make a habit of keeping all appointments and being observant of any changes in your puppy’s behavior or health status.
  • Understanding Puppy Behavior: Your vet can be a valuable resource when it comes to understanding and managing your puppy’s behavior. Don’t hesitate to discuss any concerns or questions about your puppy’s temperament, training, or socialization.
  • Handling Emergencies: Ensure you know how to handle emergencies. Ask your vet about after-hours services or where to seek urgent care should your puppy need immediate attention. Being prepared can make all the difference in a critical situation.

Questions to Ask Your Vet

It’s perfectly normal to have a list of questions during your puppy’s first vet visit. Inquire about microchipping and spay/neuter procedures, and get clarity on anything you’re uncertain about regarding puppy care. Take this opportunity to ask for advice on training, socialization, and anything that pertains to your puppy’s well-being.

How About Pet Physical Therapy?

Just as humans benefit from physical therapy, puppies can, too, especially when recovering from injury or surgery. Your vet might discuss therapeutic exercises for pets if your puppy needs help with mobility or to enhance their physical well-being. Pet physical therapy comes in many forms, including swimming, controlled walking, or specific movements designed to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion.


A visit to the vet is more than a mere check-up; it’s the beginning of a healthy and happy life for your puppy. By knowing what to expect at your puppy’s first vet visit and engaging in a proactive approach to their care, you’re setting the stage for a lasting and joy-filled companionship. Celebrate every milestone and take comfort in knowing you’re providing the best for your new furry family member.