Your puppy's first visit to the vet will probably be more than just a quick hello. Get all the details from Veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson as she talks about important details like how to properly bring your puppy into the vet's office and vaccinations he needs.
Your puppy's first veterinary checkup is about much more than simply greeting your dog's new vet, weighing in, and getting him his standard immunizations. Believe it or not, your first visit is just as much about educating yourself and answering your questions as it is about checking the health of your newest family member. Your first vet visit requires organization, preparation, and sometimes even some light note taking. Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and today we're talking about how to take your new puppy to his first veterinary appointment. Let's begin with what you'll need to bring to your first visit. First, you should find out what the breeder or shelter has already done for your puppy. They've probably given them some vaccinations. He probably has also been placed on a deworming schedule, and may even be on a heartworm preventative. And depending upon his breed, the tail may have been docked and the dewclaws removed. Your veterinarian will need all of this information, along with the puppy's approximate birth date. So it's important to bring all of your paperwork with you to your first veterinarian visit, so they can help you determine a schedule for completing immunizations, and determine when it's best to schedule spaying and neutering. Next you should bring a fresh stool sample to your first visit, so the veterinarian can check for parasites. Lastly, prepare a list of questions. After having your puppy home for a few days, there's no better time to ask questions than at your first visit with a medical professional. Ask other family members, too, if they have any questions that they'd like added to your list. Once you're prepared, bring your puppy's crate to the car, and do your best to secure it with available seat belts. Depending on the size and weight of the crate and the puppy, it's usually easier to secure the crate first, and then put your puppy inside. If you cannot fit a crate in your car, try purchasing a dog seat belt that is specifically designed to restrain and protect your puppy in case of an accident. This next piece of information is critical. Carry your puppy into the doctor's office. Do not let him interact with any other animals in the office. Though the other animals may be perfectly healthy themselves, your puppy can still get very sick from even just rubbing noses with another dog until his vaccinations and immunity against disease is further developed. After greeting you and your new pup, your vet will likely begin examining your pup as she continues to converse and answer your questions. She'll check your puppy's weight, temperature, heart, lungs, ears, genitals, eyes, nose, skin, anal region, mouth, and gums for both basic and breed abnormalities. Your puppy needs to learn to be comfortable being handled by others. Remaining calm and peaceful in the new environment with the vet or any other stranger will allow your puppy to do the same. Depending on the status of your puppy's records and stool exam, your puppy will also begin the deworming process, receive the following initial vaccines: rabies, distemper, and Bordatella. If your puppy's exposed to other dogs in boarding, public dog parks, training, and other situations, then based on geography and lifestyle, ask your veterinarian which vaccines they recommend for your puppy. Also, ask your vet about microchipping, and when it is safe to begin socializing and training your pup. Following the initial visit, your veterinarian will ask that you return to booster the vaccines until your puppy reaches a certain age. The time between boosters typically ranges between two and four weeks. Here are some signs that your puppy needs immediate medical care: allergic reactions or swelling around the face, hives-- this is most easily seen on the belly or face-- any eye injuries, any respiratory problems, any signs of pain-- panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy, restlessness, or loss of appetite-- any suspected poisoning, any open wound, a seizure, fainting, or collapse, snake bites, thermal stress-- either too hot or too cold-- trauma, like if he's hit by a car, even if he seems fine, vomiting or diarrhea more than two or three times within an hour. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition to the family.
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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