Updated: Feb 10
A puppy's first trip to the vet should be made as positive and enjoyable as possible. This may be their first time leaving the safety of their home and being away from mum. When getting a puppy it is incredibly important to get it checked over by your vet.
It is important if your pup is traveling to the vet by car that you make this experience as positive as you can. I always recommend owners to take their puppy on regular car journeys as soon as they get them so going in the car becomes second nature to them.
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states 'you must make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained'. It is illegal to have your dog wondering about the car. There are a number of methods of restraint for safe car travel. .
This forms a partition between the car seats and boot, to prevent dogs entering the passenger area.
This is great if you have a hatch back or 4x4 car and particularly for bigger dogs. The dog is safely separated in the boot but can see out the windows and see you too. The dog is able to move around and stretch at its own leisure.
Dog car harness/ seatbelt
These dog harnesses are designed to secure your dog if they will be traveling sitting on a seat. They secure around the dog and plug in to the seatbelt. The harnesses come in a variety of sizes and are completely adjustable so it fits comfortably around your pet. After the journey the harness can remain on the dog if you wish and lead attached.
There are a variety of dog carriers for the car, these are good for transporting the dog on the seats, keeping the dog secure and your car clean. Some are open at the top which is good if your dog likes to look out the window- which can also help with travel sickness. Fully enclosed ones are also available. These are more suited to small breeds of dog.
Dog crates are great for hatch back cars or 4x4's. They come in a variety of sizes to suit any size of dog.
They are great for after mucky walks too as means the car isn't getting filthy and the mess is confined to the crate.
If your pup is crate trained they should find the transition to the crate in the car pretty simple. These are also great if your dog is a chewer as they are kept away from the cars interior, preventing any damage.
As much as we try to keep our first vets visit as calm as possible, it is all very new to the puppy and can cause anxiety. These pheromone sprays are great. They can be sprayed in the car and carrier and help soothe and release stress. It can combat fear of traveling and improve travel sickness.
There are a variety on the market, I have always used Adaptal and had good results. I often spray it in my consult room when I have new puppies in to put them at ease.
All being well, the first time they normally visit me is for their first vaccination, microchip, flea and worm treatment.
When I meet a puppy for the first time, I make sure to keep the handling fun and have some puppy treats on hand for when needed.
I will give the pup and check over from nose to tail, checking for any signs of genetic/ inherited conditions, heart problems or any other health concerns. I will then weigh the pup and record this on its notes and will repeatedly weigh the pup at every check over as a way to monitor growth.
If the health check is all ok and the puppy has been well for the last 24hrs (no vomiting/ diarrhoea/ ill health) I will give the vaccination.
Vaccines can be given from 6 weeks of age, they require 2 injections 2-4 weeks apart depending on what type of vaccine your vet uses. (click here for more vaccine info). The vaccination is injected just under the skin.When you get a pup it may have already had its first vaccination with the breeder.
The puppy needs to wait at least a week after the 2nd vaccination before they are fully immunised and safe to go for a walk.
Microchips legally need implanted in puppies by the age of 8 weeks. The microchip is injected into the scruff of the pups neck. its a little more uncomfortable than the vaccine but over in seconds. Each chip has a unique number that shows up when the dog is scanned. You then register the chip details in your name onto the database. Microchips are very useful should your dog go missing, vets, dog wardens, the police all have scanners so owners can be easily traced and pets reunited.
Worming and flea treatment Worming should be started in pups from 2 weeks of age. Once you get your pup you should continue a worming regime. Different vets use different products and formulas, the same goes for flea treatments. Choice can depend on the area you live in and what parasites are more prevalent there.
Insurance I will always mention getting a pup insured at its first check over. There are so many different policies and it can be a bit of a mind field. My advise would be to read the small print carefully and check there are no exclusions and how much they cover each year. I would Strongly advise a Life time cover policy that will cover conditions that arise for the rest of the pets life.
So that is what usually happens at a routine first vet check with your pup. Things will obviously be slightly different if you have concerns or your pet is unwell. \
Just remember your dog will need to visit the vet on several occasions throughout its life so try and make it a positive experience with praise and affection when your dog when it behaves well.