Your Family’s First Visit to the Vet

The whole family should be involved in your dog’s first visit to the veterinarian. And it shouldn’t end with just one visit. A puppy will need more veterinary care in the first year of life than at any other time. And older dogs need constant care from the vet as well. There is a lot your veterinarian can do and recommend that will help keep your puppy or dog healthy over time.

The First Visit

Once you have selected the right veterinarian for your family, you’re good to go. For more information, read our page on selecting a veterinarian. In addition to a general check up and examination for parasites, you and the veterinarian should work out a specific schedule of visits and vaccinations at that first meeting. This is the ideal time to begin discussing housetraining, crate training, and the prevention of play biting, jumping up on people and other rambunctious behaviors.

The First Three Months

When it comes to puppies, you will probably want to visit your vet every three or four weeks for vaccinations. Read more about vaccinations. The schedule continues by location, but going until 16 weeks of age is relatively normal.

Three to Six Months

Rabies vaccinations sometimes are regulated by local laws and often begin between three and six months. Between four and six months, your puppy should be checked again for parasites and your veterinarian may recommend heartworm treatment. Also watch for your puppy's permanent teeth to come in.

Spaying or neutering is also recommended between four and six months. The procedure is commonly performed, and males usually feel pretty good in a day. Females may take two or three days to return to their pre-surgery behaviors.

Six Months to a Year

After six months, the visits to the veterinarian usually taper off. There are boosters at about one year, and they’ll be repeated regularly. In general, it is a good idea for adult dogs to make at least one visit a year to maintain a healthy life.

Involving your family in the whole process is hugely important for your dog. You never know who might have to take your dog to the vet, and it creates a sense rapport between the dog, the vet, and everyone else in the family.

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