Vet visits are an important part of our puppies and dogs lives so it’s important to get off on the right paw! A puppy vet check is often one of the first things we do when we bring our puppy home. We want to make sure our puppy is healthy and get the correct vaccinations but it can be stressful for you and your puppy.

For your puppy it’s another new environment, full of new smells,  people they don’t know and unfamiliar animals. For you there can be a lot of pressure too. Will the vet be nice to us? Will people judge us? Will our puppy behave themselves or pee on the floor? What do we do if our puppy gets scared?

In this article, we’re going to set your mind at ease and make sure your first vet visit is a breeze. You’ll probably take your puppy for vet checks and their vaccinations a few times in the first months, so it’s good to plan ahead and make sure everything goes smoothly.

Keep reading and we’ll help you figure out:-

  • The best time to take your puppy to the vet.
  • What to expect during your puppy’s first vet visit.
  • Tips for a good puppy vet visit.
  • How much you should expect to pay for your puppy’s first vet visit. 

If you’re worried about taking your puppy to the vet and you’d like to talk to someone, remember our team of expert puppy coaches are there for you. Download the Zigzag puppy training app, and get in touch with them via Whatsapp, Email or on the phone too. 

It’s also a good idea to think about puppy health insurance, have a read and see if it’s something you think you’ll need. 

french bulldog sitting on counter
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

When should I take my puppy to the vet?

Ideally, you want a puppy vet check done within the first few days of bringing your puppy home. The first vet visit for your puppy allows your vet to make sure your puppy is healthy by doing a puppy health check. 

After this initial puppy vet check, your vet will let you know when to take your puppy to the vet next, as it will likely coincide with their vaccinations. 

What happens during your puppy’s first visit?

Your puppy’s first vet visit will involve your vet checking your puppy’s health from nose to tail, also known as a puppy vet check, or puppy health check.

Your Vet will have their own way of measuring what a healthy puppy looks like, but it’s likely to include some of the following at your appointment

Your vet should check your puppy’s heart and breathing

This is often one of the first things your Vet will probably check, for obvious reasons as it’s so important! It can be a bit stressful for your puppy as they have to stand fairly still while the (potentially cold) stethoscope is used to listen to their heart and lungs. Use plenty of treats to teach your puppy there’s nothing to worry about.

A vet will check your puppy’s weight

Ok, it’s often the receptionist or the vet nurse when you first come into the surgery who will ask you to pop your puppy on the scale, but many vets will check your puppy’s weight in the consulting room as well.

They want to make sure your puppy is a healthy weight, and they’ll also probably ask you to weigh your puppy when you come in on subsequent visits, just to make sure your puppy’s weight gain is tickety boo. 

A vet check will involve checking your puppy for parasites

Fleas, ticks and worms will all be topics of conversation. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Your Vet might also check your puppy’s fur to look for any flea dust, plus ask you slightly probing questions about their poo. Lovely.

Your vet might talk to you about what to feed your puppy

Some puppy vet checks will also include your vet talking to you about puppy nutrition and making sure you feed the right food for your puppy’s age and size. Don’t worry we always have the puppy food calculator in the Zigzag app if you’re unsure how much you should be feeding your puppy. 

Your vet will check your puppy’s eyes and ears

This is an important check for any excessive tearing or redness of the eyes which might indicate a problem. Puppies also often have filthy ears, which can cause ear infections and problems later, so you’ll want to make sure they check them out. 

Your vet will check your puppy’s coat

Excessive matting, dandruff, or dull coat can all indicate potential problems that your vet will advise you on. 

Your vet will ask you about your puppy’s vaccination status

Usually your puppy will have their first vaccination dose whilst still with the breeder. The second dose is usually administered around 12 weeks old when they are in their new home. Your pup will need to have the same brand of vaccine for both doses so check with your breeder and local vets to make sure you get the correct brand. If you have to start the course again it could delay getting your pup out for walks and we know how keen you are to get out and about.

Your vet will likely want to build a relationship with you

They’re really not so scary, and most vets love puppies! Be kinda crazy if they didn’t, wouldn’t it? This puppy vet check can be a time to see if you get on with the vet. Hopefully, you won’t need to see them too often as you have a healthy puppy, but you never know. 

Your vet might speak to you about puppy training

Some vet surgeries offer puppy socialisation parties, just a bit of a warning that these can be a bit of a free for all, so if you decide to go, ask them some questions about who runs them, and what they’re like! If possible ask the reception team who they recommend for puppy training. Well run puppy classes, taught by members of the APDT or CAPBT or one of the member organisations of The UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter work in harmony with the Zigzag puppy training app. 

dog taking medication with syringe
Photo by Ayla Verschueren on Unsplash

Tips for a smooth first puppy pet visit.

You can do a few things to ensure your puppy’s first vet visit goes without too many hiccups. 

  • Before you go to the vets be sure to write down any questions you have so that you won’t forget when you get in the consulting room. 
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get there and settle your puppy so you don’t feel rushed and stressed.
  • Bring something comfy for your puppy to lie on, like a blanket or mat, and have it on your lap.
  • Sit well away from other people and animals if you can, so as not to overwhelm your puppy.
  • Bring some super yummy treats and give them to your puppy every so often to teach them that being at the vet is a nice thing to do.
dog licking lips sitting in front of a orange background
Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

How much does a puppy vet visit cost?

Puppy vet visits will vary, as some vets do puppy health checks as a courtesy, and some will charge you. You should expect to pay from £25/€30* for vet consults if you’re not having puppy vaccinations, requiring medication or purchasing puppy supplies in that visit. 

*This amount will vary depending on your area, it can be an idea to ring around to get your local rates and currency.

We hope that’s filled you in a bit about what might happen at a puppy vet check and your puppy’s first ever visit to the vet. It’s not so scary, really, just try and be a bit prepared in advance, so it doesn’t feel like a rush. That way, you can make sure you focus on your puppy and how they feel so that the visit goes well for everyone.

While you’re here, why not learn a bit more about puppy vaccinations

If you’d like to learn more about our Zigzag puppy training app, you can download a free trial today. We also have a team of puppy coaches, ready to lend an ear on the phone, or have a chat online when you need them.