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Puppy's First Vet Visit Checklist

It's always exciting to get a new puppy, but there are some things pet owners should know before bringing them to the vet. Today, our San Diego vets explain what you can expect from your puppy's first visit to the vet.

What Will Happen During Your Puppy's First Vet Visit

During your puppy's first visit to the veterinarian, they should do the following during their exam to help set your young dog up for success:

  • Weigh your puppy
  • Take your puppy's temperature
  • Listen to the heart and lungs
  • Look at the puppy's teeth and mouth
  • Examine the puppy's skin and coat
  • Palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
  • Examine the eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
  • Examine the feces for the presence of worms
  • Discuss the puppy’s medical history/concerns
  • Provide you with any medications required

What to Bring to Your Puppy's Visit

If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more information your veterinarian has, the better they will be able to treat your new puppy.

  • A chew toy for distraction
  • A leash and collar/harness
  • A stool sample, as fresh as possible
  • Small treats to reward good behavior
  • Any veterinary records you have
  • A list of important questions or concerns
  • Notes about food/treats provided at home
  • A dog carrier or crate

It's important that you know that small puppies will usually be more comfortable and safe in their crate. Don't expect that you will be able to carry a squirming puppy in your arms when visiting a veterinary clinic. Puppies need to be kept under control using a leash and collar, or a harness. Treats or small toys are a good idea to help with this.

What to Ask Your Vet On Your Puppy's First Visit

Your veterinarian should be able to give you all of the information you need to help your puppy grow up happy and healthy. If you have any questions that you believe your veterinarian has overlooked, or if the information they gave you is confusing, feel free to ask for clarification. 

Having said that, a list of questions can help make the most out of your first visit. Here is a list of some good questions to ask your vet during the visit.

If you're concerned about the cost of your puppy's first vet visit, contact your veterinarian directly. They should be able to give you a more accurate estimate.

Health & Safety

Ask your vet the questions listed below, as well as any other health and safety concerns you may have.

  • Should I microchip my dog?
  • When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
  • How often does my puppy need to visit the vet?
  • How many times a day should my puppy poop?
  • What prevention measures are necessary?
  • Are there breed-specific health concerns?

Training & Behavior

Ask your vet for advice about any questions you have about behavior and training you may have, including those listed below.

  • Do you know any local trainers?
  • How do you potty train a puppy?
  • Do you recommend crate training? 
  • When can my puppy go to the groomer?
  • When can my puppy go to a dog park?
  • How long can she stay in her crate?
  • How much exercise does my puppy need?
  • How do I socialize my puppy with others?


Find out what type of diet your puppy should have by asking your vet the following questions:

  • What should my puppy eat? 
  • How many times a day should my puppy eat?
  • When do puppies switch to adult dog food?

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets.

Is your new puppy due for their first trip to the vet? Contact our San Diego vets to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome

San Diego Bay Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of San Diego companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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