Vet Care for Dogs, Cats and Many Other Animals

Pet Wellness And Your Puppy's First Year

by Calvin Newman

Congratulations, you're a proud new pet parent! Now that your pup is finally home, what's next? Learning about pet wellness is an important step to making sure your canine companion is happy and healthy. If you're a first-time dog owner, take a look at what you need to know about wellness and care over the first year.

When Should Your Puppy First Visit the Vet?

Unless you have documented proof that your puppy recently saw a vet, now is the time to make their first appointment—especially if the dog comes from a shelter or has an unknown medical background. During the first visit, the vet will provide a physical exam, ask about immunizations (if the puppy came with an existing immunization record), and recommend additional care.

Along with providing preventative care and potentially suggesting treatments (if needed), the first puppy visit is also a time to create a connection with the veterinarian. This professional will care for your pet for years to come. Establishing rapport and fostering effective communication starts from the first visit.

Are There Other Times to Take a Puppy to the Vet?

After the first visit, your pet may require follow-up care. Depending on the puppy's physical health and overall condition, the vet may want to see them for follow-up care. Your puppy will also need additional vet office visits for vaccinations.

What Vaccinations Are Necessary?

Like human vaccinations, pet immunizations help to keep your pup healthy and reduce the risks associated with potentially dangerous diseases. During your dog's first year, the vaccination schedule typically includes:

  • Six to eight weeks. Distemper, measles, parainfluenza, and bordetella.
  • Ten to twelve weeks. DHPP and possibly coronavirus, bordetella, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease.
  • Twelve to twenty-four weeks. Rabies.
  • Fourteen to sixteen weeks. DHPP and possibly coronavirus, bordetella, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease.
  • Twelve to sixteen months. Rabies, DHPP, and possibly coronavirus, bordetella, leptospirosis, and Lyme disease.

Talk to the vet about which vaccines your dog needs (core vaccines) versus which ones are recommended but optional. Along with the initial vaccinations, your puppy may need boosters during their first year and after.

What Happens If Your Puppy Gets Sick?

If your new puppy won't eat, sleeps constantly, seems lethargic, won't drink, vomits, or has another noticeable issue, call the vet's office immediately. Even if there's nothing wrong, or the problem is minor, it's best to have an experienced vet take a look.

A healthy puppy is a happy one. From regular exams to vaccinations, pet wellness and vet visits are key to your dog's health now and in the future. You just need to find a local clinic like Douglas Animal Hospital that you can take your pet to.