The First Time You Bring Your Dog to the Vet
Your dog’s veterinarian will play an important role in your pet’s life, and it’s key to try to establish a positive relationship early on. If you’re the owner of a puppy, Domaracki says you should book the first appointment between six and eight weeks of age, if possible. If you’re the owner of an older animal, make that first vet visit as soon as you can.
When you arrive, be prepared to take notes. The vet will usually cover plenty of information during that initial visit. Domaracki says the vet will probably go over a vaccine schedule, heartworm prevention, microchipping, and a general plan for the first year of his life.
If this is your pet’s first vet visit, try to make it a positive experience. Bring treats your pet likes or a blanket he loves to curl up on.“Make it as soothing as a visit as you can so we’re starting off on a good foot,” says Domaracki.
For pets that have not yet been spayed or neutered, that’s an essential and important vet visit, too.
“There’s so many pets that are homeless because they’re not spayed or neutered, and they accidentally get out,” says Dr. Raelynn Farnsworth, the head of Washington State University’s Community Practice Service.
Getting your pet spayed or neutered does more than just prevent them from becoming a parent, it reduces the animal’s chances of developing mammary cancer, testicular and ovarian cancer, and uterine infections. Dogs who are not spayed or neutered also can have behavioral issues like aggression, wandering, marking habits and the drive to mate, says Farnsworth.
To try to create a positive association with vet visits, like feeding your pet a special treat immediately after the visit in the car or when you arrive home. Post-spay or neuter visit, have your home prepared so your dog will be comfortable. Put his favorite blanket in the car. Anything comforting that helps your pet feel more at ease after surgery, really.