15 Questions To Ask Your Vet About Your New Puppy
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You just got a puppy and can’t wait to start your new life together. You need to make a vet appointment but you’re wondering what are the most important questions to ask your vet about your new puppy.
If you don’t already have a vet, try to get a personal reference when making your selection.
Make sure that you choose a vet who will give you enough time to answer the questions that you have.
No vet will have an unlimited amount of time. But you should receive answers to your important questions or referrals to other resources.
Of course, you want to be sure that your puppy’s healthy. But you also have many questions about how to keep him healthy and regarding his nutrition.
If this is your first puppy or even if you’re a seasoned puppy parent, it’s still important to ask necessary questions about your current puppy.
When I get a new puppy, I schedule a vet visit for her to be seen in the first few days.
When I adopted Millie, my Aussie mix, from a rescue group, I already had a vet visit scheduled for the next day.
She seemed to be healthy, and the rescue group already had her checked by a vet and given age-appropriate vaccinations.
But it’s still good for peace of mind to have your new furry bundle checked out.
Some breeders, shelters, or rescues may even require that you do so within a certain number of days after you pick up your puppy.
When I go to the visit, I have a list of questions. And my very patient, thorough vet happily answers them.
I’ve been a client at my regular vet for many years. Her routine check-up with a new puppy already answers many of the basic questions I have.
But I always have some additional questions, including follow-ups to the information my vet provides.
You also probably have many questions that your vet can answer.
In this article, I’ll discuss many questions that you should ask a vet regarding your new puppy.
In addition to making sure that your puppy’s currently healthy, your vet can help answer any questions regarding how to maintain your pup’s health.
Why It’s Important To Have a Vet Visit With Your New Puppy
Your vet can answer your questions regarding your puppy. It’s also important to have the vet check the puppy with a physical exam.
A puppy can seem to be healthy but can have an illness that may show up later or that can be detected at his first visit.
He may have gastrointestinal parasites that can be detected by a stool sample you can provide from the puppy.
Your vet can also check whether he’s a good weight and give a full physical exam.
Checking his skin, eyes, ears, and general health can determine whether he needs any immediate veterinary care.
Your vet can also review any documents you received regarding any vaccinations he’s received to determine what other treatments are necessary.
There are many questions you should ask your vet. The following article provides many of the most important queries you should make.
15 Questions To Ask Your Vet About Your New Puppy
1. Is My Puppy Healthy? Could He Have Any Diseases?
Of course, this is a very broad question. But, as noted above, your vet should do a full exam of your puppy.
This should include checking his weight and general condition.
Checking his skin and coat to determine if he’s healthy is routine. And checking ears for infection, eye health, teeth, and more are also usually done.
A vet will help determine whether any treatments are required and can help you determine what to do.
And she’ll determine whether your puppy is the right weight for his breed and age.
Also, you may want to ask your vet whether she has any suggestions regarding any potential health or behavioral concerns regarding your breed or mix.
If you have a pug, for example, she may suggest limiting activities or places where he may overheat.
2. How Often Should My Puppy Go To the Vet? What Vaccinations Are Required?
Of course regular check-ups are important for maintaining your puppy’s overall health.
But you also need your vet to tell you what vaccination schedule is appropriate and what other medicines, such as heartworm and flea and tick preventatives, should be given.
In addition to regular, preventative visits, your vet can also set forth other things to look out for.
She can also set forth other times that your puppy may need medical attention.
Of course, there are obvious times when you should seek veterinary help for your puppy, such as when he’s been injured.
But there are also other times that a vet visit may be in order.
This includes when the puppy seems sluggish or not as active as normal. Or when the pup’s not eating or drinking the same amounts as he normally does.
Other times may include when he’s urinating or defecating too infrequently or too often. Or when he has diarrhea or vomits. You get the idea.
So ask any follow-up questions you have to ensure that your puppy’s as healthy as he can be.
3. What Breed Is My Puppy? How Large Will He Be as an Adult?
Sometimes it’s an educated guess how large a puppy will be as an adult–especially if it’s a mixed breed.
My Aussie mix Millie was the runt of the litter. As a puppy of 11 weeks old, it was really hard to guess how large she would be as an adult.
Her mother looked like a purebred Aussie but her father was unknown. Her mother was found as a stray.
It was thought that she would only be maybe 20-some or just above 30 pounds when fully grown.
I’ve been in touch with the owner of a littermate. That dog is now almost 50 pounds.
Millie just turned two years old the other day and she’s about 35 pounds. My vet’s educated guess was almost spot-on, as Millie has now filled out as a young adult.
Of course, if your puppy is a purebred, your vet will probably be able to better guess how large he’ll be when fully grown.
Providing information regarding your puppy’s parents and genetic lineage can also help your vet play detective and give you an educated guess regarding your puppy’s breeds and potential size as an adult.
4. Should I Give My Puppy Protection Against Parasites?
Acquiring and following this information can help your puppy become–and remain–healthy.
A stool sample may show that your puppy needs certain medications to become free from parasites that he already has.
Some vets even may have you give medications such as dewormers to eradicate any parasites that aren’t otherwise visible.
In making her decision, your vet will take into account your dog’s breed, age, and size when prescribed.
I have three herding dogs–two shelties and an Aussie mix–all who may have sensitivities to certain medications. So my vet was very careful when she prescribed their heartworm medications.
5. How Can I Prevent My Puppy From Getting Injured or Sick?
Of course, you want the best for your puppy. And you want to avoid any preventable hazards.
So it’s natural to question your vet about what you should do.
Your vet may give you guidance regarding how to puppy-proof your home.
This can include making sure that the puppy doesn’t have access in your home to: electric outlets and cords, chemicals, and stairs until he learns how to navigate them.
You may also receive guidance regarding the importance in observing your puppy and not giving him out-of-sight freedom. And in being sure that outside exits are blocked so that your puppy can’t accidentally escape.
You may also be informed about the importance of training your puppy.
This can include regular obedience training as well as how to housetrain and crate train your puppy. Some vets even recommend certain trainers or other services.
6. When Will My Puppy Be Housetrained?
Of course, this is one of the most important goals for most puppy parents. And your vet can provide some guidelines regarding what to expect. And help you learn how to crate train your puppy.
Generally, young puppies can “hold it” for about one hour more than their age in months. So, a two-month-old puppy can remain in the crate for about three hours assuming he pottied immediately before going into the crate.
Many young puppies can even hold it overnight. Your vet can help provide specific guidance regarding your puppy and what you should expect assuming that you properly house train him.
And your vet can help decide whether there’s a medical reason for any housetraining indiscretions.
7. When Will My Puppy Stop Chewing Things and Mouthing Me?
A puppy seems like a land-shark at times. Teeth, teeth, teeth–that’s all you seem to see at times.
Puppies explore the world with their mouths.
Your puppy may be experiencing pain from teething. And he may try to relieve that pain by biting down on things.
Your vet can help you determine when your puppy’s adult teeth will appear and how long the whole process should take.
And she may have tips on how to cope with your little piranha.
Of course, always have something safe for your puppy to chew and redirect him to it. This will save your house, your hands–and your sanity.
8. What Should I Feed My Puppy? How Much and When?
You may ask your vet about what’s the proper nutrition for your new puppy.
The rescue, shelter, or breeder from whom you obtained your puppy probably gave you a sample of the food they recommend–or directed you to it.
Assuming the food’s appropriate, it’s often best to keep that puppy on that food for a while before transitioning to a new food in order to avoid digestive upsets.
Your vet may suggest that you switch your puppy to another type of food.
There are so many brands on the market. And many have specialized formulas for various sizes, breeds, and ages.
If you have a large-breed puppy, your vet may suggest a food that’s made for such puppies.
And your vet can give guidelines regarding when and how to make the transition. Switching foods too quickly can result in digestive upsets–and diarrhea.
Your vet can also give you guidance regarding how many meals a day to give your puppy. Some puppies may eat three or four meals a day, eventually eating just two meals for life as they mature.
And you can also inquire about the amount you should feed. Pet foods provide general guidelines regarding the amount that a puppy should eat.
But, depending on your puppy’s activity level and genetic makeup, your vet may suggest greater or lesser amounts for him to maintain optimal health.
9. How Should I Groom My Puppy? What About Baths, Nails, Teeth, and Ears?
And the same is true of how often your puppy should be brushed or clipped.
Depending on his coat and activity level, he may require more or less frequent bruising or clipping.
Some very short-coated dogs like a pit bull may require only a daily zoom groom brushing but other long-coated breeds such as shih tzus or Yorkies may require more extensive daily brushing and combing sessions.
Your vet can also provide information regarding how and when to clip your puppy’s nails, clean his ears, and eventually brush his teeth.
10. When Can I Take My Puppy to New Places?
Your new furry bundle is your pride and joy. And you can’t wait to take him on the road and have the world admire him. And pet him. And play with him.
But when can you safely take him on walks and to other places like pet shops? Or to puppy play groups?
This will depend on what vaccinations and other preventatives he’s had. Until he’s had certain vaccinations, it’s unsafe to take him where other, unvaccinated, potentially ill dogs have been.
So your pup’s age and what vaccines he’s already had will help determine when you can venture out with him and show him off to the world–and further socialize him.
11. Should I Spay or Neuter My Puppy? When?
Your vet can help guide you regarding whether–and when–you should spay or neuter your puppy.
Early spaying can have health benefits, including potentially lessening the chance of breast cancer as your pet ages.
But there are various theories regarding when puppies should be fixed. Your vet may tell you to wait until your puppy’s a certain age–especially if he’s a large breed–because of certain health concerns if the puppy is spayed or neutered too soon.
Ask your vet what you should do and why. Just explain that you’re not questioning her judgment but, instead, want to understand the process.
But note that the breeder, rescue, or shelter from whom you’ve obtained your puppy may have specified in your contract whether and when your puppy should be spayed or neutered.
So, after you’ve reviewed what’s required, show the contract requirements to your vet too.
12. How Much Exercise Should My Puppy Get?
Your vet can help guide you regarding how much physical exercise your pup should get–and tell you how much is too much.
Generally, working-type and larger breeds will require more exercise than smaller, toy breeds will.
But it’s also important no to over-exercise any puppy so that he’s not injured. And certain activities such as jumping on furniture may be discouraged by your vet until your puppy’s a certain size and age.
You can also ask about what type of exercise is best for you puppy: walks, fetching, games, or playing with other puppies.
And inquire about what type of mental stimulation is best for your puppy. This can include obedience training and puzzle toys.
13. Can You Recommend Any Pet Professionals I’ll Need?
Your vet probably can recommend some of the pet professionals you’ll need.
This can include trainers, groomers, pet sitters, pet walkers, doggy daycares, and boarding facilities. She may have personal knowledge or her clients may have informed her of good and bad experiences they’ve had.
And this is a treasure trove of information for you!
Your vet may even offer some of these services.
My vet has grooming and boarding in addition to veterinary services.
Over the years, I’ve boarded some of my dogs there, safe in the knowledge that they were well-taken care of. And, should anything happen, my pups were at a vet I really trust.
14. Should I Have My Puppy Microchipped?
Vets I know uniformly believe that dogs should be microchipped. It can really help your dog to be returned to you should the unimaginable happen–should he become lost.
Some vets may advise you to have a chip implanted when you first get your puppy. Others may indicate that the microchip should be implanted when your puppy’s spayed or neutered.
In any case, make sure that you register the dog with the microchip company in your name and with your contact information.
Your breeder, shelter, or rescue group may have already had your puppy microchipped.
Make sure that you obtain all the appropriate paperwork so that you can register him with your information. And provide that information to your vet for her records.
You can also ask your vet to scan for any microchip if you’re uncertain whether your puppy’s been microchipped–or to check that a microchip is where it should be.
When I adopted Millie, she had already been microchipped and the rescue had registered her in their name. The group gave me the necessary paperwork so that I could register her with my information.
15. Should I Get Pet Insurance?
It’s really a personal decision regarding whether to get pet insurance.
There are policies that cover accidents and illness and others that cover wellness exams. There are also various deductibles and caps on what will be paid out.
When I got my first puppy as an adult, a shih tzu named Cuddles, I bought insurance that covered accidents and illnesses. At the time, there weren’t many options available regarding what company was available.
Now, however, there are many different coverages and some companies even pay the vet directly.
You can ask your vet whether she can recommend a company as well as any good or bad experiences she or her clients have had with the available companies.
What are some important questions to ask my vet about my new puppy?
Ask whether your puppy’s healthy (after a full physical is performed). Inquire about what vaccinations your pup should receive and when as well as any other medicines he should receive against parasites.
Also, ask when your puppy can be taken to new places. And inquire about his nutrition: what food is best, how often should he be fed, and how much.
This is not my first puppy. Do I still need to ask my vet questions? YES! Your current puppy is an individual, so it’s important to know about his health and nutrition and exercise needs.
Depending on his size and breed, your vet may even suggest a different spaying or neutering schedule than your previous dog had.
What should I do if my vet won’t answer my questions?
You can explain why you need answers. But, remember, no vet is going to have an unlimited amount of time. Chances are your vet would already have touched on some of the answers to the questions cited in the above article.
Most vets are very accommodating, caring individuals. If a new vet isn’t a good fit, ask for referrals from trusted friends, neighbors, relatives, groomers, trainers, breeders, shelters, or rescue groups.
Your vet can provide answers to many of the pressing questions you have regarding your new puppy.
A thorough vet will probably provide the information regarding your pet’s health, what medicines he should receive, and when he should be neutered even without you asking.
But you may still have follow-up questions or additional questions such as those listed above.
Even though a vet’s time is limited, she should be able to briefly answer your specific questions and be able to direct you to other resources when necessary.
What questions are your planning on asking your vet?
Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.
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