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The Art of Raising a Puppy: Tips For the First Year

The Art of Raising a Puppy: Tips For the First Year

If you are adding a new puppy to your family then a visit to our clinic will be in order. This will help us to gain insight into your puppy's health and provide you with care information. Here, our Los Angeles vets talk about how to raise a puppy including what to expect during the first year of raising a puppy plus some tips.

Choosing a Vet to Care For Your New Puppy

Type 'puppy vet near Los Angeles' into your favorite search engine and you are likely to receive a list with numerous results. When it comes to deciding which vet suits you and your new puppy, you will want to keep their location and hours in mind.

Since puppies are always getting into mischief and can experience unanticipated health issues at any time, you'll want to check whether they offer a range of services, such as in-house diagnostics and urgent care. If you have other pets, you might consider checking whether they have the ability to care for cats and dogs of all ages, as they develop and eventually require senior care

The Importance of Veterinary Care While Raising a Puppy

Generally speaking, most puppies will have had an initial vet visit before leaving for their forever home. This usually includes a checkup and vaccinations at the very least. The shelter or breeder should give you paperwork that clearly states what type of care has been provided, when it occurred, and when to schedule your puppy's next visit to the vet. 

Even though your puppy should have had an examination already, you should still schedule a visit with your vet. This will give the vet a chance to meet you and your new addition, look over your puppy's records, and quickly provide any care that may be overdue. 

The veterinarian will also give your puppy a complete physical examination and may conduct some laboratory tests to find potential health issues. It's best to discover any problems as early as possible before any health guarantees provided by the breeder have expired. 

Your vet will likely recommend bringing your puppy in for a monthly checkup. Your vet will let you know when your puppy will be able to switch to annual visits.

Most puppies start to receive their vaccination between the 6 to 8-week mark. Puppies who receive their first vaccinations when they are older than 4 or 5 months of age can typically be caught up in two vet visits scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart. Your vet may adjust this plan depending on your puppy's specific history and needs. 

You should always try to bring as much information as you can to your puppy's visits.

Checklist For Your Puppy's First Vet Checkup

  • Veterinary records received from the breeder or shelter 
  • Notes on types of foods and treats you are feeding your puppy, and how much 
  • List of important questions
  • Any forms provided by your vet that you've already filled out
  • A stool sample, as fresh as possible 
  • Collar and harness or leash 
  • Chew toy for distraction 
  • Small treats to reward good behavior
  • Dog carrier or crate lined with old towels 

It's ideal to use a crate or carrier when bringing your puppy to the vet. Since they'll be experiencing all the new sights, sounds, and smells at the clinic, they may be more excitable than usual and not content to be held in your arms in the waiting room at the vet clinic. It's important to bring a leash or harness to control your dog if they are feeling excited or stressed. 

What will happen during your new puppy's first vet visit?

Veterinary staff will kick off the vet visit by asking you a series of questions about your puppy's history and how they are doing at home, followed by: 

  • Watching your puppy move around the exam room 
  • Checking your puppy's weight 
  • Examining the entire body, including the ears, eyes, nose, nails, skin, coat, feet, and genitalia
  • Using a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs
  • Checking reflexes
  • Measuring temperature, pulse, and respiratory
  • Opening the mouth to check out the teeth, gums, and other structures
  • Checking the eyes and ears 
  • Palpating the lymph nodes, joints, and organs within the abdomen

Throughout all the new puppy vet visits, the veterinary staff will discuss many important aspects of puppy care with you including:

  • Dental care
  • Grooming needs
  • Nutrition
  • Flea, tick, heartworm, and internal parasite control
  • Vaccination schedules
  • Exercise and play requirements
  • Behavior and socialization
  • Pet identification, including microchips and tags
  • Reproductive health, including the benefits and risks of spaying and neutering
  • Travel requirements
  • Pet safety and disaster preparedness
  • Diseases that can be spread from pets to people (and vice versa)

What are some questions to ask during your puppy's appointment?

Your vet should provide you with all the information that you need to help your puppy thrive but look over the topics listed above. If your vet forgot to talk about something or the information they provided was confusing, don’t hesitate more questions.

Kitten & Puppy Veterinary Care at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital

If you are the proud owner of a new puppy or kitten and are looking for a veterinary clinic in or near Los Angeles, you can trust our dedicated veterinarians and support staff to provide considerate and effective veterinary care for your furry friend.

We are always happy to address any questions or concerns you may have leading up to and following your pet's first appointment. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you've just brought home your new puppy then you'll likely have many questions about their care. Please contact our vets in Los Angeles with any inquiries and to book your first appointment.

Looking for a vet in Los Angeles?

Our veterinarians are passionate about caring for Los Angeles companion animals. Get in touch today to request an appointment for your pet. 

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