Have you properly prepared for bringing your new dog home? You have already purchased all the essentials for your pet like dog bowls, collar, leash, a nice doggie bed, a crate, and toys but after you’ve picked your puppy up from the breeder or paid the adoption fee to the shelter, the second most important thing is paying for your new dogs first vet visit. Your new dog should have the earliest available vet visit ideally before he comes into the house on the way home from the shelter or breeder or in the next days following that for many reasons. You would not adopt a child and forget to take them to the pediatrician, and a new pet deserves the same care and concern. Health issues that could slip under the radar if a new dog isn’t examined as soon as you have chosen them to become your new family member.
Birth defects are quite common in puppies. While some like small umbilical hernias are benign and simple to fix, your new puppy needs to be examined by a vet. You want to ensure there are not birth defects that will affect your new dog’s quality of life or lifespan. A veterinarian visit can make sure your dog is healthy and can find congenital defects that will have a significant impact on your dog’s future. The majority of birth defects are permanent and are not outgrown so knowing if your dog has any and treating any that can be treated right away ensures a long and happier life as pet and pet parent. Even if you’ve adopted a dog that is no longer a puppy, knowing about any birth defects is important. Reputable breeders and shelters will allow you to return a pet if a veterinarian finds they have a significant health issue. The longer you put off getting an exam, the harder it will be to return a pet that was not as guaranteed as you will have emotionally bonded. Even if you cannot return a pet with a heart defect, it is possible to negotiate a full or partial refund for a pet with whom will require special care and treatment for a possibly shorter lifespan. Ideally, a shelter will disclosure the birth defect condition and will have vetted all dogs that are adoption ready, but a vet visit ensures you have a healthy dog if you entered into a contract stating your dog would be healthy.
By having no baseline for your dog’s normal health status is, it can be harder to know if something is changing. Having a new dog in to see the vet for a weight check and physical exam established a baseline and expectations for your dog. Many vets will also do labs for dogs that are at higher than average risk for particular diseases because of their breed and history, so you have more knowledge and know what is normal for your new dog.
Preventive Healthcare and Nutrition Advice
If you have any health records from the breeder or shelter, take them to your local vet at that first visit. You and your vet can discuss anything of note in the new pup’s history and can address the nutritional needs your new companion canine will need to be healthy, happy and active based on your lifestyle and his breed. You and your vet can also schedule your pet’s vaccinations, deworming, discuss and start flea and tick prevention, go over doggie dental care, and discuss when your dog should be spayed or neutered. They can also trim the new dog’s nails and microchip your pet if it was not done in the adoption process.
Socialization and Training
Behavioral issues are the main reason why so many pets are surrendered to shelters. Making sure your new dog has been properly socialized and has basic obedience training can foster your new relationship. Your vet is trained to help advise you on training methods best suited for your dog’s age and temperament; Your vet can also help you find a dog trainer or even find a canine behavioral specialist who can help you address behavior problems, if they do occur.
Puppies have immature immune systems and dogs that were in group settings like a shelter are at higher than average risk for infectious diseases. Many of these viral, bacterial and fungal infections can be passed on to humans and your other pets at home. Your new pet should be checked and treated for these as soon as adopted to prevent problems-
Parvovirus is a sometimes-fatal viral infection of the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow that causes vomiting, diarrhea, and immunosuppression in dogs, especially if they are not properly vaccinated. Vaccination is a way to save your dog’s life.
Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin causing hair loss and irritation found in animals that live in groups and highly contagious to people and other pets.
Distemper is a viral infection of the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system. It is often fatal in under-vaccinated or unvaccinated dogs.
Kennel Cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that should be treated.
Rabies is a fatal disease to all mammals, including humans if untreated.
No matter if your dog comes from the classiest breeder in town, an early vet visit still commonly diagnoses new canine pets with internal or external parasites. Parasites can come from anywhere. Fleas and intestinal parasites lie worms can make young puppies very weak and ill. Severe parasite infestations can even kill a fragile puppy. Adult dogs are more resistant to some types of parasites but can still be weakened by an infestation. Roundworms and hookworms are dangerous because the larval forms can be transmitted to humans. Roundworm larvae can damage a person’s eyes or internal organs as they migrate through the body. Children are more likely to eat dirt or play in grass; an infected dog has passed larvae onto when going to the bathroom and accidentally ingest larvae. Hookworm larvae can penetrate through the skin and cause inflammation as they move. Bringing home a dog with fleas can cause you to have to treat an entire house and all other pets to completely eradicate them as they are so small and spread like wildfire. Fleas also carry disease.
Building a Good Foundation
If your new dog’s first visit to the vet is a positive one and is done by a great vet who disguises an exam as a play date with a new human friend, the stress of future vet visits can be made less. By starting a partnership with your vet and your new dog as early as possible, if and when a health crisis does occur, the dog and the vet will be good acquaintances if not buddies and having a dog that likes his vet is good for you and your new dog. Having your new pet start off on the right paw with their vet builds a good foundation for a lifetime of good health.