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YOUR PUPPY’S FIRST VETERINARY VISIT

By now you may have endured at least one sleepless night as your new companion adjusts to life without his littermates. To ensure your newest family member will make the transition to a happy, healthy pet, you should visit your veterinarian.

Despite nervous tail wagging and repeated attempts by less cooperative patients to drag their humans out the door, your first visit to the veterinarian should be fun and informative. The veterinarian should examine your new puppy from nose to tail. She may check your pet for infectious diseases and parasite infestations and give your pet his first vaccination shot, if he hasn't already.

After the exam, your veterinarian will talk to you about your pet's overall condition and explain what she noticed during the exam. If your puppy has any health problems, she'll talk about how to treat them.

Your veterinarian may also explain how you can work together to keep your puppy healthy and happy during his life, including feeding him a nutritious diet, keeping his vaccinations up-to-date, spaying or neutering your pet, checking for worms, and keeping him free of other parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

Your veterinarian is also your ally in preventing behavior problems. During this first visit, you can discuss the basics of housetraining and ask how to avoid chewing problems and begin simple obedience training.

You can also ask questions such as:

  • Are hiccups normal?
  • Was that a dream or a seizure when he started running as he slept?
  • Why in the world would he eat that?

One last note: Don't be surprised if your puppy wants to sleep the rest of the day. After all, a car ride, making new friends and getting that darned shot can make a puppy dog-tired.