Now that you're a new parent of a bundle of furry joy, it's your responsibility to take care of your pup's health needs. It's crucial to do your research when choosing your veterinarian. Visit a few in your area, get recommendations from friends or neighbors, and make sure you're comfortable with the physician's medical philosophy (for example, some vets may prescribe more medications whereas others may prefer holistic treatments).
The best vets have busy schedules, so make sure to schedule your new puppy's health exam as soon as you know his or her arrival date.
Once you've scheduled your first visit with the vet of your choice, you'll want to come prepared with questions to get the most out of your checkup. Print this list to use as a guide. You'll thank us later!
- What types of parasites are common in our area, and what can I do to prevent them?
Your veterinarian will likely administer deworming medication to
ensure your pup stays healthy and parasite-free. It's important to understand the types of parasites that are common in your area and what symptoms to look for.
- Where can I find emergency care for my pet during evenings, weekends or holidays?
Many vets are not open late or on weekends and holidays. Your vet should have a preferred emergency care facility and/or hotline to use if the office is closed.
- What are the office's medical capabilities and offerings?
Some vets have a clinical surgery center on site, but many do not. Ask what type of procedures, testing or exams they're able to perform at this location and which procedures will require a referral to another provider.
- Which vaccines are necessary and which are optional based on my puppy's lifestyle?
There are standard vaccinations all puppies should receive: distemper, adenovirus-2, canine parvovirus-2, and rabies. However, based on your geographic location, your pup may require additional vaccinations such as leptospirosis, Lyme disease and Bordetella.
- What flea/tick medication do you recommend?
Even if you live in an urban city, there is still a risk for fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks can live in most environments and can frequently travel with other pets or wildlife to new regions in the country. There are many options to help prevent your dog from getting fleas and ticks, and your vet can provide guidance on which one is right for you and your pup.
- What is considered a healthy weight for my dog's breed?
This goes along with how often you should be feeding your pup. You'll want to work with your vet to ensure your new pup maintains a healthy weight to avoid other associated health issues in the future.
- Is pet insurance right for my pet, and what should I look for when choosing an insurance plan?
Pet insurance can be vital in helping keeping care costs low, especially if your pet requires an expensive procedure or surgery later in life. It's best to get your puppy covered as soon as he or she arrives. Ask if your vet accepts health insurance and what their policy is. PuppySpot offers a great comparison site where you can compare different insurance options in your area.
- How often should my puppy be examined?
Work out a convenient schedule with your vet to make sure your pup is being seen on a regular or as-needed basis, typically at least once per year.
- When should my puppy be spayed or neutered?
Spaying or neutering your puppy provides numerous health benefits and should be considered if you are not planning on breeding your dog. Timing should be discussed during your pup's first vet visit.
- What is typical wait time and do you take walk-ins?
There may be times when you urgently need to see your vet. It is important to know how quickly you'll be able to see the doctor in case of an emergency.