First vet visit

The first visit to the veterinarian with your puppy should ideally be two or so days after he arrived at his new home. This visit is to start a relationship with the vet, and also to take your puppy for his first health check. Don’t stall his first visit to the vet because of the lockdown restrictions, but phone your vet first and make an appointment. Your vet will explain what the current protocol is.

Here is a list of what to expect from your veterinarian, and what your vet expects from you.

What to expect from the vet

  • Ensure that the practice is clean inside and outside, with premises that indicate professionalism and that your pet will be in good hands.
  • When the vet sees your pet, he or she should examine him for any lumps, listen to his heart and check his teeth.
  • Does the vet show compassion towards the puppy, and is the puppy comfortable with him or her?
  • Find out if the practice has emergency care, or where the closest hospital is and if the vet is affiliated to the hospital.
  • Find out if there is another vet in the practice who will be able to see you if your vet is busy, and see if you are comfortable with them.
  • Get the vet’s rates and compare them with other practices in the area. If the rates are very similar, you don’t need to worry. But if the rates are much higher, do find out what makes this vet so special.
  • Discuss your puppy’s health and well-being and any vaccination, deworming and other programmes, and remember to take all the puppy’s records with you to the vet.

What the vet expects

As much as you have certain expectations of the vet, they also have a few expectations that you have to meet. These include the following:

  • You must supply them with as much information as possible when they consult with you. If your dog is sick, they need to know what the symptoms are. For instance: Is he vomiting? What is his temperature? Does he seem to be in pain? Why do you think your dog is sick? Remember, the vet sees a patient who cannot talk for himself.
  • Your vet doesn’t want to be afraid of your dog, and therefore socialisation classes for your puppy are important.
  • Your vet will have to examine your dog in consultation. Make sure your puppy is used to this poking and prodding by feeling him over regularly.
  • Your vet wants you to be satisfied and as happy as the patient. Therefore, it is important to communicate with him or her if there is anything that you are unhappy with.
  • Please do ask questions, but do not question your vet’s prognosis, unless you are 100% sure that your vet is wrong.
  • You want your vet to be professional and friendly, and so they want the same in return.

Make sure that your dog doesn’t only see the vet for ‘nasty’ injections and examinations. Take him to visit the practice and say ‘hi’, and let everyone give him some treats while there. Also, make your dog used to trips in the car. You don’t want him to associate trips in the car with a visit to the vet.

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