Your First Vet Visit

Updated: Feb 16

Two to four weeks after coming home, your puppy will be due for their second puppy vaccination. Don’t forget to take your vaccination booklet and any other health information your breeder has provided.

If you’re new to pet parenting, here’s what to expect from a typical vet visit:

The Waiting Room

You may be asked to wait for a while before going in to see the vet. Remember there will likely be various other animals waiting too! This might be the first time your puppy has seen a cat, or a large dog, and been exposed to so many crazy smells at once. Keep your puppy close to you but don’t reinforce any nervous behaviour by cooing at them too much. Let your puppy see that you are confident and relaxed in this environment, so they can be too. Bring a few treats and a chew toy – see if your puppy will have a little play session on your lap while you wait, to make the experience as positive as possible. If the waiting room is particularly loud and noisy and you think it might be a bit too much, ask reception if you can wait in the car until the vet is ready for you.

Since your puppy is still vulnerable to infections at this age it is safest to hold your pup on your lap rather than let them walk on, sniff and lick the floor. If you have a large breed and this is tricky, confirm with reception that it’s ok for your dog to be on the floor and they will advise what to do if there might be an infection risk.

The Consultation

Your consultation could be anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the practice, so if you have specific questions you want to ask, jot these down so you don’t forget anything. Your first consultation can feel like information overload! Many practices will have a ‘puppy information pack’ with notes summarising all the different aspects of your pet’s health you need to consider.

The vet will ask you to put your puppy on the table and may ask you to hold them still while they do a physical exam. This includes checking your puppy from head to toe, including their teeth, listening to their heart and feeling their abdomen. The vet will then discuss any issues they find. If there are common significant health problems associated with your breed, they might discuss those too. The vet will check your puppy’s microchip, and then vaccinate them. If your puppy is nervous during the exam, pull out your treats. A good vet will encourage distraction with treats during the vaccination – some lucky puppies won’t even notice it happening!

The vet will ask to see the vaccination records from your breeder and will ask what flea and worming products have been used and when. Your breeder should have provided all this information for you, so don’t forget to bring it with you. If your breeder advised you to give any treatments in the past two to four weeks, write down which brands they were so you can give the vet all the correct information.

The vet will discuss what parasite treatments they recommend going forward and will book you in for your puppy’s third vaccination, usually four weeks later. You can ask your vet if there have been any recent parvovirus outbreaks in the local area and where to avoid taking your puppy before their final vaccination. Many vet practices can recommend or host puppy school classes. Read our article in what to look for in a great puppy school here.