Prior to bringing home your dog, please ask your breeder, rescue, or individual for medical records which should contain vaccines and all prior medical ailments (especially if the pet is older). If the breeder, rescue, or individual does not have the records on hand, that could be a RED FLAG. Ask them to obtain it so you have tangible records prior to bringing your doggo home. This is to safeguard YOU as a new pet owner. Veterinarians rely on prior medical records to help decide which vaccines need to be given or boostered, and what medical ailments to look out for and/or continue to help care for. If there are no vaccine records, veterinarians have to assume that the pet did not receive any and would start the vaccine series over for the pet’s safety. If the pet has a prior medical condition, it may mean having to re-run tests prior to prescription of medications which would be at your expense. So make sure to bring ALL medical records with you at the time of your appointment!
Thorough Veterinarian Consultation
For your first vet visit, veterinarians will ask questions to get an idea of your pet’s baseline such as the following:
how long have you had the pet for?
how is your pet behaving in the new environment?
what is your pet’s diet, and how much/how often are you feeding your pet?
what are some questions or concerns you have regarding your pet and/or pet care?
The above is just a short list of common questions that you’ll be asked. Based on your responses, there may be appropriate follow-up questions as well. It is very helpful to think about any questions or concerns in advance prior to the vet visit and possibly write them down so you won’t forget. There is no such thing as a silly question!
VET TIP: If you have it written down, they can look through the questions and prioritize the most important ones to address first. If they’re unable to get through all of them, they’ll always provide reliable resources that will answer any questions you have leftover.
While veterinarians are happy to answer all your questions, the vet may not be able to go through all your questions in one appointment.
Your Dog’s Expenses
While it may sound obvious, pets are a lifelong emotional and mental commitment, as well as an additional financial expense. The first year of raising a puppy is amongst the most expensive.
Pending the age, you may be seeing your vet almost on a monthly basis for the first 2-3 months to get all the puppy shots covered, and subsequently, to get your pet spayed or neutered.
In addition to buying food on a monthly basis, it is also important to keep your pet current on heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. Without factoring in possible illnesses or emergencies, we are already looking at a couple hundred dollars. As a dad to 5 furry companions myself, I know far too well how expensive it quickly adds up. Don’t get me wrong, I am not discouraging pet parenthood! There is no price tag on the companionship and loyalty our pets bring us. However, reality is that we, as pet parents, need to understand pets need medical attention too and we need to be prepared for that. This is where pet insurance or having a savings account for your pet comes in handy!
I hope that the above helped shed some light in preparing you for your first vet visit. Becoming a parent to a dog is very rewarding and just by reading this article, you have already taken the first steps towards proper care for them. We’re excited for you and your family, please let us know if there’s any other way we can help!
Speaking of reliable resources, there is a wealth of information out there. However, there is also a lot of misinformation. Here are some reliable sources that I trust the most as a veterinarian that you can use to read up on pet health and care: