Your dog will need the vet check-ups throughout his life, from early puppy hood to old age. Regular health check-ups of your dog will help pick up hidden problems and minor issues before they become major worries.
FIRST PUPPY HEALTH CHECK-UP
Before the check-up
Take your puppy for his first veterinary check-up as soon as it is convenient. Unless he is already vaccinated, carry him into the office and keep him off the floor. He should wear a collar and leash in case he jumps out of your arms. Alternatively, use a pet carrier. There may be other animals in the waiting room and it can be noisy, so reassure your puppy.
During the check-up
Vets enjoy meeting puppies, and you are likely to receive a warm welcome. The vet will ask you for details of your puppy’s early life: his date of birth; the size of the litter; where and how the pups were reared; what worming and flea treatments were done; and the results of any screening tests for the breed. If your puppy has been vaccinated, show the vet the certificate. Your puppy will be weighed, and the vet will make a detailed examination, including checking his ears with an otoscope and listening to his heart.
The vet will also scan your puppy to check that he has been micro-chipped. Implanting a microchip under the skin between your puppy’s shoulders. a procedure somewhat like giving a vaccination ensures that he can always be identified. Scanning the chip reveals a unique number against which any contact information you have provided is recorded in a central database. If a vaccination is required, it will be given now. You may need to make some follow-up appointments to complete the vaccination course and to allow the vet to monitor your puppy’s progress.
Before you leave
the vet should offer advice on diet, flea control, neutering, socializing, training, and traveling in the car. Do not hesitate to ask if you need any further information.
FOLLOW-UP PUPPY CHECK-UP
The veterinarian may suggest that you take your puppy for another check-up when he is four or five months old, to ensure that he is growing well and developing both physically and socially. This will also give you the chance to build on the advice given at the first puppy appointment. At the follow-up check-up, the vet will look for any puppy teeth that were not shed as the adult versions came through. This is important because the baby teeth may need to be removed to allow the adult teeth to take up the right position within the mouth and ensure the correct bite.
Protecting your dog against infection is one of the best things you can do for him. Vaccination has greatly reduced the incidence of major canine diseases, such as parvovirus and distemper, and prevents other infections, including rabies and leptospirosis. During pregnancy a bitch (provided her vaccinations are up to date) passes immunity on to her puppies. This protection lasts for a few weeks after birth, after which the puppies should be vaccinated. Your vet will recommend when boosters should be given. Some vaccines can give up to three years’ protection against certain diseases, following a booster 12 months after the initial course.
Making sure all is well
The annual check-up can be an enjoyable, social time for you, your dog, and the vet. This is your chance to discuss any concerns you may have.
Meeting the vet
Your puppy should be relaxed and enjoy his first appointment at the veterinary practice. Reassure him while the vet examines him so that he remains calm.
In addition to the regular check-ups you do at home , you should also make an appointment for an annual vet check-up. The vet will examine your dog from head to tail and ask various questions for instance, about his thirst, appetite, diet, toilet habits, and exercise. If there is any cause for concern, detailed diagnostic tests may be recommended. You may be asked to bring a sample of your dog’s urine, particularly if your pet is a senior, since this will provide additional important information about the kidneys and bladder. The sample should be collected early that morning into a suitable container. Moreover, Your vet will also be able to advise on general health matters such as weight, body and coat condition, and control of worms, fleas, and other parasites.
A healthy mouth not only enables your dog to enjoy eating his food, but it is also important for his general well-being, since decayed teeth and infected gums can lead to diseases in other parts of the body. The teeth will be examined at annual check-ups and any interim visits, but you may want to consider taking your dog to a regular dental clinic. Such clinics can give you advice on home dental hygiene techniques and will monitor your progress. They will also provide support if your dog has to undergo a dental procedure such as a scale-and-polish.
ASKING ABOUT NEUTERING
If you decide to have your dog neutered, as the majority of owners do, an early puppy health check-up is a good opportunity to ask for advice. Your vet will explain what the procedure involves for either a dog or a bitch, and suggest when neutering is best carried out. Veterinary opinions differ as to the ideal time for dogs to be neutered, with the recommended age ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Most commonly, to preform the operation is performed after puberty. Also, Many owners worry about the after-effects of neutering and any concerns you may have can also be discussed at your puppy’s first health check-up.