Congrats on your new puppy! Now that you and your pup are starting your lives together, there are some routine things you need to take care of. Most importantly, you need to visit your vet for the first time. Be sure to choose your vet wisely. You’ll want someone close to home, cost-effective, and who comes recommended. Now sure where to go? Talk to your neighbors or friends who own dogs. Who is their vet? Now, let’s talk about what you can expect at your first vet appointment.
The Excitement of Getting Your First Dog
In all the excitement of getting your first dog, going to the vet is probably not a priority, but it should be! Your vet is an important partner in the healthcare of your pet. You may have your dog as long as 20 years, and that’s a long time. So, finding a good vet who understands dogs, diagnoses, and common medical conditions, will be crucial to your dog’s health and wellness.
What You Can Expect a the First Appointment
If you know when you’ll be receiving your dog, then schedule your vet appointment right away. Some vets are very busy and have waiting times that may take weeks. So, the sooner your schedule your appointment the better. Also, before your dog comes home, you’ll want to do all your vetting of vets. Go visit different offices and such to get an idea of which vet is right for you and your future pet.
Now, for the actual appointment, you can expect your vet and their staff to start by weighing your dog, listening to their lungs and heart, and taking their temperature. Now, don’t be surprised! At the vet, temperatures are taken rectally. This gives your vet a good, accurate temperature. Then, your vet will examine your dog’s body, including their coat, nose, eyes, ears, genitalia, teeth, mouth, and feet. Before you arrive, they may have asked you to bring a stool sample, so be sure to bring that in if it was requested. Lastly, your vet will ask you some basic questions like your dog’s medical history and future care concerns. At this appointment, feel free to ask any questions that pop into your mind. This is one of the few chances you’ll have time to get all those questions out.
Cost of Vet Care in Dogs
If you want to know what your bill might look at after your first vet visit, one of the best things to do is to talk to friends or call the vet directly. Most vet prices can change greatly based on where you live. Most vets in your area will have prices that are around the same amount. Though, it’s still always a good idea to shop around or ask friends for recommendations. This can also help you find a vet you prefer to work with rather than who might be the very cheapest.
While prices can look different depending on your area, you can likely expect to pay around $50 just for your dog’s examination. If you’re bringing a puppy in who hasn’t been vaccinated yet, you can also expect to pay around $20 per vaccine. Your vet will likely also recommend at least a fecal exam and a test for heartworms. Those can run up to $45 and $50 respectively. So a first vet visit can really add up, but a dog in good health will also cost you less down the line.
What to Bring Up to Your Vet
Hopefully, your visit is free from anything but routine care. However, if your dog is exhibiting any strange symptoms or behaviors, now is the time to bring them up to your vet. Here are some things your vet will want to be aware of:
- Loss of Appetite
- Drinking Too Much Water
- Eye Secretions
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
- Problem Behaviors
Following Up with Your Vet and Later Visits
This is just the start of your relationship with your vet. Talk to their office and ask for a list of common services and prices. This will help you decide if you want to continue care there. In the upcoming months, your dog will get more vaccines, boosters, and medications to treat heartworm. A good vet is like a good doctor for humans. Therefore, it’s important to grow your relationship with your vet and keep on good terms by paying your bills on time and never neglecting your dog’s routine healthcare.