Your Pet's First Vet Visit: the 4 things You Need to Know
Between housetraining, shopping for the right toys and food, and simply getting used to the changes in schedule that this new family member brings, you’ve got a lot on your plate.
But don’t forget to schedule your pet’s first vet visit. This visit is critically important because it allows you to establish a baseline of normal health for your pet if problems should come up later. Also, your vet is a valuable source of information for learning about the proper care of your pet.
Here are some of the things you can expect on your furry friend’s first checkup.
1. Time to Ask Questions
This is a golden opportunity to ask any questions about caring for your pet. It’s a good idea to prepare a list ahead of time to ensure you do not forget anything.
Here are some questions you might want to include.
- What health issues should you watch out for based on your pet’s breed/age?
- What vaccines does your pet need, and what’s the schedule for getting them?
- When should your pet be spayed or neutered?
- What’s the best way to prevent parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworm?
- What is the proper way to administer dental care for your pet (brushing teeth, etc.)?
- What kind of food does your vet recommend for your pet?
- What are some tips for properly grooming your dog or cat?
- How to ease separation anxiety?
- When is the best age for obedience training?
Ask as many questions as you want, and remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.
When you make your appointment, your vet’s office will ask you to bring any relevant paperwork about your pet. Adoption papers and any prior medical records are essential for your vet to recommend the best care and to keep on file for the future. They also guide your vet office in determining a vaccine schedule. And it’s a good idea to bring along any medications or supplements your pet regularly takes to show to your vet.
3. Physical Exam
Your pet’s first physical exam is a “head-to-tail” checkup. Your vet will check vitals (including heart rate), temperature, and weight. They will then listen to your pet’s heart and lungs and palpitate his belly and abdomen. The vet will check eyes, nose, ears, tail, skin, and coat will to make sure they are healthy. They will even examine the health of your pet’s teeth. The purpose of this exam is to find any underlying problems, like heart murmurs, worms, or ear infections.
After the exam, office staff will spend time going over the items on your bill with you. There will be costs associated with the exam itself, as well as with any vaccinations or X-rays. These costs may seem daunting, but it’s worth it to keep your furry friend healthy. You may want to consider pet insurance as a way to defray some of these costs.
Establishing a positive relationship with your vet is one of the best things you can do to ensure your newest family member's long-term health and happiness.
Bringing home a new pet? Make sure you check out our blog: 8 Items You Need for Your New Pet.