You are the most critical person in your dog’s life; there’s no doubt. But there’s also another person that your pet will need, their veterinarian. Veterinarians do their best to keep animals healthy and care for them when they get sick.
To stay healthy, dogs require regular exercise, proper nutrition, and, most importantly, consistent medical care. Animal doctors can assist you with all these three critical components so your pet can live a healthy lifestyle.
Although many dogs are scared when visiting their vet, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad experience. Going to the veterinarian is a must, especially if you have a new puppy. And it’s your job to help your puppy adjust and have a positive experience every time you visit their vet.
Keep reading to learn nine tips to prepare for your dog’s first vet visit.
Don’t delay your dog’s first vet visit
Even though your new pup may look healthy from the outside, you’ll never know how he feels from the inside unless you have him checked by a veterinarian. You must get your dog examined as soon as possible after buying him or bringing him home from a shelter.
The vet can detect medical issues that are not apparent at first. Also, scheduling the first visit can help establish rapport with the veterinarian. This is important, especially when your dog gets sick or has an emergency, to receive immediate care.
Find the right veterinarian
Finding the right veterinarian will be essential for keeping your pet healthy. They are as important as the pet owner. Your dog will see the vet throughout many stages of their lives, so it is crucial to find someone who will treat them with compassion and understanding.
To find the right veterinarian, you can ask for referrals from friends, neighbors, and family members. Word-of-mouth is often more reliable than online reviews, so seeking referrals is always good. Speaking with local people about veterinary services in your area will give you an idea of what others say about the clinic.
Schedule an appointment
After finding the right veterinarian for your puppy, it’s time to make that call to schedule an appointment.
It’s best to schedule your vet visit in the morning when delays are less likely, and there are fewer people. This is especially true if your dog hasn’t completed his vaccinations yet because he’s still susceptible to diseases. For that reason, you should also be consistent in keeping up with your puppy’s vaccination schedules in the long run.
Scheduling the appointment when there are fewer people can also help ease the anxiety that your pet may feel since it’s their first time in a vet clinic. You may also want to go to the clinic ahead of time to avoid traffic and help get your pet settled in, as you may be required to fill out some paperwork.
Prepare for your first vet visit
As you schedule an appointment at a vet clinic, a receptionist or the veterinarian will tell you to bring a couple of items on your first vet visit. Usually, vets require you to bring a copy of your pet’s medical records and all paperwork from the breeder, shelter, store, or rescue organization. Also, don’t forget to bring any medications that your puppy takes.
Furthermore, vet clinics will require you to fill out a new patient information form upon arrival. If the clinic offers patient forms online like Sunnyside Veterinary Clinic does, that’s even better. Just be sure to fill them out first before heading to the clinic so your visit will go even more smoothly. A stool sample may also be required to test your puppy for intestinal parasites. So, don’t forget to collect a sample ahead of time and label it with your puppy’s name, your name, and date.
Don’t forget to prepare for the trip to the clinic so that your first vet visit will be a positive experience for you and your dog.
Help your pet adjust
Presumably, you and your puppy will be riding a car on your way to his first vet visit. You need to make sure that your pet dog is comfortable throughout the whole trip. You don’t want your dog to feel uncomfortable or throw up before reaching the clinic. This is why you must get your pet acclimated to the carrier.
You can have trials at home where you put your dog inside a pet carrier for a couple of minutes so he can get used to it. This way, he won’t feel uncomfortable on the way to the vet clinic.
Additionally, you may want to consider learning the proper placement of the pet carrier once inside a vehicle. Place the crate on the backseat floor for maximum stability. This way, your puppy won’t feel dizzy and throw up while on the road. Avoid placing the carrier on any seat as it may fall off. Lastly, don’t forget to check your pet for any signs of distress during the car ride.
Be a good example
One of the reasons dogs, especially pups, get uncomfortable when visiting a vet is because they sense their owner’s emotions. So, if you get nervous or show any signs of anxiety, your dog may also become anxious.
To prevent this from happening, you need to set a good example for yourself and try to relax. Treat it as a typical outing for you and your puppy. Upon arrival, greet the clinic staff cheerfully, and avoid spending too much time reassuring your dog. This way, you’ll both have a positive first vet appointment experience.
Socialize your dog
Many dogs tend to get anxious, weary, or nervous during their first vet visit because they are uncomfortable around new people. Some dogs struggle in a situation when people they don’t know handle them. Some may even show aggressive behavior as their defense mechanism against being surrounded by strangers.
Even if you don’t believe that your dog will behave this way, you’d be surprised to see how much his behavior changes when put in a stressful situation. To prevent this from happening, socialize with your dog early on as preparation for the scheduled appointment.
Try introducing him to new people and different kinds of situations. This way, he’ll learn to trust strangers and is less likely to show aggressive behavior when taking him to the vet. Establishing a mentality that vet visits are not scary during the first appointment will make your subsequent visits smoother and more pleasant for you and your pet.
Know what to expect
It can be helpful if you know what to expect during your dog’s first vet visit. Usually, a veterinarian will perform the following procedures on your puppy:
- Physical exam.
- Series of vaccines.
- If you didn’t bring a stool sample, the vet might try to obtain one.
- Flea treatment.
You should expect some fees when going to the vet. The overall cost of the appointment will depend on the procedures, your dog’s medical history, and your geographical location. On average, the fee ranges from $150 and above. Some clinics offer coupons or waivers for first-time patients, so take advantage of them.
Prepare for questions from the vet
The vet will ask a couple of questions regarding your dog. The first thing that they usually ask is how things are going so far with your new puppy. Be sure to express any concern, especially when you notice anything alarming or unusual with your pet. Typically, the vet may change his approach with the checkup depending on your answer. But if everything’s fine, the vet will ask a couple more questions about his eating habits, behavior, and other health-related issues.
This brief question and answer portion can also be your opportunity to ask for any advice on any eating, behavioral, or health problems that you’ve experienced so far. You can also ask the vet about any potential problems or concerns that you have. Prepare a list of questions so you remember everything and make the most of this opportunity.
Bottomline for a successful first vet visit
Veterinary visits, especially the first one, are essential for preventing and treating various conditions and diseases. Taking your dog to the veterinarian is critical for your dog’s health.
These vet visits will allow the veterinarian to pick up on any subtle changes in your dog’s health. Your vet will also understand your dog’s overall health and be able to give you tips on how to keep your pet happy and healthy.