What to expect at your first visit.
Adding a new dog or cat to the family is exciting, but while you’re busy helping your pet settle in, don’t forget to schedule their first visit to the veterinarian. A pet’s first vet visit sets the foundation for good health, and it’s where the vet can answer the questions that will help you take better care of your pet.
What to Expect at Your Dog’s or Cat’s First Vet Visit
Whether you adopted your new pet from a shelter or purchased them from a breeder, they have likely already had at least one visit to the vet. Be sure to share those records with your new vet so they know if your dog or cat has already been vaccinated and dewormed, and has started receiving flea, tick or heartworm preventives.
During the visit, your vet will likely:
- Check your pet’s weight
- Examine your pet closely, from head to tail and ears to paws
- Listen to their heart and lungs, and look for other ailments like hernias, mouth or eye abnormalities
- Talk to you about regular care you can do at home, such as trimming nails and bathing
- Administer any vaccinations your pet needs
When it’s time for vaccinations, your dog or cat might stay in the room with you, or the veterinarian or a technician might take them to another area, depending on your pet’s comfort level or your own preferences.
If your pet stays in the exam room with you, you might be asked to help hold your pet as the vet administers the vaccination. Your calming presence and firm hold can help calm your pet and make it easier for the vet to do their work.
Your vet may also ask what questions you have about pet care. This is the perfect time to inquire about feeding schedules, potty training concerns or any other general health questions you might have.
Questions to Ask Your Vet at the First Exam
Each vet practice has different policies, so it may be helpful to take along a list of questions you want to ask during the first vet visit. Here are some things to consider:
What Do I Need to Know about Your Office?
- What number can I call after hours?
- Who do I call in case of an emergency?
- Does your office offer other services, such as grooming or pet boarding?
- Which doctors work when?
How Do I Care for My Pet in the Early Days?
- What food and treats do you recommend?
- How many treats should I give per day?
- What area trainers do you recommend?
- Do you have any tips for potty training or litter training?
- Do you recommend microchipping?
- How often should we come in for visits?
- When do you recommend spaying or neutering?
- Are same-day appointments available?
Should I Worry about Fleas, Ticks and Other Parasites Common in Our Area?
- What parasites are common in our area that could affect my pet’s health?
- What preventives are available to manage those parasites and the threats they pose?
The Cost of the First Vet Visit
Veterinarian costs will depend on your geographical location and specific vet, so call ahead to ask what you can expect to pay for an initial visit. The fee will likely cover the visit as well as vaccinations and a dewormer, so the cost will vary depending on how many treatments your pet needs.
Your first vet visit cost may be considerably higher if your new dog or cat needs any medications or preventives.
Regular veterinarian visits are essential to maintaining your pet’s health. By establishing a strong relationship from the beginning, you’ll be in the best position to make sure your pet stays healthy.