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Your New Puppy's First Veterinary Exam: What to Expect and what Questions to Ask:

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Gone to the vet for the first time
OK, Off to the Vet we go.

What can I expect at Your New Puppy's First Veterinary Exam: What to Expect and what questions to ask? Bringing home your new best mate is an exciting adventure, and your puppy's first veterinary exam is a crucial step in ensuring their health and happiness. In this article, we are speaking to the younger family members, who may never have been into a vets: we'll walk you through what to expect during this visit and empower you with essential questions to ask your vet. Plus, we'll cover the general examination your vet may perform and what important items you should bring along to make the visit smooth and stress-free for your puppy.

Your New Puppy's First Veterinary Exam: What to Expect?

Your puppy's first visit to the vet is a crucial step in ensuring their health and well-being. The vet will perform a comprehensive examination to assess your puppy's overall health and identify any potential issues. They will also discuss vaccinations, deworming, and other preventive measures to keep your puppy healthy.

Prepare your puppy for the veterinary visit by focusing on socialisation and familiarity. Start socialising them as early as possible, exposing them to various people, animals, and environments to build confidence and ease around new experiences. I have written many articles on this so please read them to understand what is required to get this correct from day 1. Additionally, familiarise your puppy with different sights, sounds, and smells to reduce anxiety during the vet visit.

Handling your puppy gently and regularly touching and playing with their feet, head, Ears, Tail etc will help them become comfortable with being touched and examined. Regularly brushing your puppy's coat and making grooming a positive experience will further contribute to their comfort during vet visits. These efforts will make the entire experience at the vet's office much smoother and less stressful for both you, your puppy, and the veterinary team. A well-socialised and familiarised puppy tends to be calmer and more cooperative, making the vet's job easier and ensuring a positive experience for everyone involved.

Essential Questions to Ask Your Vet:

What vaccinations does my puppy need, and when should they receive them?

If you're a new puppy parent, and you haven't had a pup in a while, then you're probably full of questions. No more so than when we take our young kids with us to the Vets for the first time, too. There excited or sometimes a little apprehensive, wondering about the puppy. Will they be OK? When you visit the vet for the first time, make sure to get answers to some important areas. Ask about vaccinations, how to deal with worms, and what to do for flea and tick prevention. Don't forget to inquire about general health check-ups, grooming tips, and how to take care of your pup's teeth, ears, and nails.

C3 Vaccination 1 between 6 - 8 weeks of age

C3 or C5 or possibly C7 at 10 - 12 weeks of age

C3 or C5 or possibly C7 at 12 - 16 weeks of age:

TRUST your Vet to give you the very best information on vaccinations and schedules as they may change based on Location and other determining factors. (Thanks to Brianna for your feedback on this Dog Blog).

Disease Prevention:

Vaccinations are a crucial shield safeguarding your puppy from potentially life-threatening diseases. During their early stages of life, puppies are highly vulnerable to various infections, and vaccinations play a vital role in building their immunity, effectively lowering the risk of contracting these illnesses. It's important to note that the specific vaccinations required and their schedules may vary from one country to another, considering the prevalence of certain diseases in different regions. Adhering to the recommended vaccination protocols ensures your puppy's health and protection, regardless of their location. Listen to your VET: If they don't vaccinate for certain disease ask them why?

What is a C3 Vaccination for a puppy?

The C3 vaccine is considered a ‘core’ vaccine as it provides protection against the potentially fatal diseases of canine Distemper virus (D), canine Adenovirus (hepatitis) (H), and canine Parvovirus (P).

What is a C5 Vaccination for Puppies?

It is a course of vaccinations from your vet to a puppy or a dog not previously vaccinated. It covers parvo, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and Bordetella (Kennel Cough). Generally Speaking this may be recommended by your vet. A C5 Vaccine is comprised of 2 components (C3 + Kennel Cough vaccine). The Kennel Cough vaccine is considered a ‘non-core’ vaccine as it provides protection for “at-risk” animals (i.e., those that regularly contact other dogs) against Parainfluenza virus (PI) and Bordatella Bronchispectica (BB).

When can my puppy go out after being vaccinated?

As a general rule of thumb a puppy can go out in an unrestricted way. (Location) approx 1 week after their last vaccine.

Canine Distemper:

A highly contagious and potentially fatal viral disease that affects a puppy's respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems.

Canine Parvovirus (Parvo):

Another highly contagious viral disease that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. Parvo is often deadly, especially in young puppies. This is one of the main reasons we don't take our puppy out into the general public until after they have had their vaccinations. At Bonnies we always tell our clients that protecting your puppy is very important to get right. Make decisions which are right for you.

Canine Adenovirus (Hepatitis):

A viral infection that affects a dog's liver and can lead to various symptoms, including fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Canine Parainfluenza:

A respiratory virus that can contribute to the development of kennel cough, a contagious coughing condition in dogs. As with many diseases in puppies, if you think your puppy has one - do NOT take your puppy into the public arena. These diseases are easy to transfer one canine to another.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica:

Another bacterium that is a common cause of kennel cough, especially in environments with many dogs in close proximity, such as boarding facilities or dog parks.


A deadly viral disease that affects the nervous system and can be transmitted to humans. Rabies vaccination is often required by law and is essential for your puppy's protection. In Australia we are relatively Rabies FREE. However, there is something called Bat Lyssa Virus, which is from the same family of viruses and causes similar Symptoms. Most Vets will only recommend a Rabies vaccine if the dog has been bitten by a Bat or has eaten a bat. (A Rabies Vaccination is NOT generally recommended in Australia)


is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans and has detrimental effects on the liver and kidneys. The bacteria responsible for Leptospirosis are commonly found in contaminated water sources. We advise all our clients to take precautions and never allow their puppies to drink from puddles or drains, even after rain. It is equally important to avoid letting puppies drink water from stagnant puddles to minimize the risk of exposure to Leptospirosis and other potential waterborne infections. Generally Speaking in Brisbane this is NOT a generally a component of standard inoculations.

Canine Coronavirus:

A viral infection that causes gastrointestinal symptoms similar to parvovirus, although it is generally milder. Generally Speaking in Brisbane this is NOT a generally a component of standard inoculations.

Lyme Disease:

Caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is transmitted through tick bites and can lead to joint pain and other health issues. This Disease is usually imported with a dog bought in from another Country. It is not a recommended vaccination for Australia.

It's important to note that not all puppies will need all of these vaccinations, as the vaccine recommendations can vary based on the factors mentioned earlier. Your veterinarian will assess your puppy's risk factors and recommend a suitable vaccination schedule to provide the best protection against preventable diseases. Regular booster shots will be necessary to maintain immunity throughout your puppy's life. Professional "Dog Trainers" will say "they don't give Veterinary advice". They will however pay attention to your puppy and if they see something, they may suggest a visit to the vet. I know for sure, that's what happens where I train.

Vaccination Schedule
Puppy Vaccination Schedule

Each vaccine has a specific schedule for administration. Asking about the required vaccinations and their timing ensures that your puppy receives the right shots at the appropriate ages, optimising their protection during critical developmental stages.

Depending on your location, there might be specific legal requirements or recommendations for pet vaccinations. Ensuring your puppy gets the necessary vaccines can help you comply with local regulations.

Some socialisation locations such as Day Care for dogs and training classes or many other facilities and places, may require proof of vaccinations to enroll your puppy, or to allow it on premises. By knowing the necessary vaccines, you can ensure your puppy gets the right documentation to participate in these activities. At Bonnies Dog Obedience and Puppy School, we like to ask what vaccinations the puppy has had "Has you puppy had there initial vaccinations. At a minimum we prefer 2 of a 3 dose course where possible. Some people would prefer to wait until their puppy has had ALL of their vaccinations. We appreciate this and our Puppy Training Brisbane is from 8 - 18 weeks of age.

During your first vet visit, ask the veterinarian the following questions about your puppy's vaccinations:

When Do I need to get the Booster Shots?

Ask about the need for booster shots. Most vaccines require periodic boosters to maintain effectiveness, so understanding the timing of these follow-up shots is crucial. The information and schedule should also be added to your Schedule of Vaccinations, Flea and Tick, Deworming etc.

What are the possible Side Effects?

Puppy taking a pill at the Vet
Happy to be well. Thanks for looking after me.

The most common reaction dogs display after getting their shots is general discomfort and lethargy for up to 24 - 48 hours after the so. This may be paired with a mild fever as your dog's immune system works and responds to the vaccination. These mild symptoms are normal, and should only last about one or two days before fading away. If there is anything you are unsure of, call your Vet immediately.

It may also be true that side effects may also be temporary swelling or even a little hair loss at the vaccination site.

While vaccines are generally safe, it's essential to be aware of any potential side effects your puppy might experience after vaccination. Ask about common reactions and what to do if your puppy has an adverse reaction. You may even research the different Products before you go to the Vet to see which ones are suitable for your dog.

Will be puppy feel unwell after a vaccine?

Like any medications given to Humans or Puppies, or any animal, they may feel slightly unwell after a vaccine. In fact they may have a different reaction to different medications. Some dogs may even have mild symptoms of sneezing, coughing or even possibly a discharge from their eyes or nose.

Are there any other Preventive Measures I should take?

In addition to vaccinations, inquire about other preventive measures you can take to keep your puppy healthy, such as deworming, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm prevention.

Make sure to ask for documentation of the vaccinations received. Don't forget this should include items like deworming and flea and tick control timings too. This will be important for future vet visits, travel, and any other situation where proof of vaccination may be required. Remember, regular veterinary check-ups and staying up-to-date on vaccinations are essential throughout your puppy's life. Your vet can guide you on creating a comprehensive healthcare plan tailored to your puppy's specific needs and lifestyle.

How often should I deworm my puppy?

Different deworming products have varying recommended schedules. Asking your veterinarian about the appropriate frequency for deworming ensures that you stay on track with your puppy's health care regimen.

What product/s do you recommend?

There are various deworming products available, and each may target specific types of worms. Your veterinarian can recommend the most effective and safe product for your puppy's age, size, and potential risk of exposure to certain parasites.

Why should I ask this question?

Regular deworming is a vital part of your puppy's health care. Puppies are often born with worms or can contract them from their mother's milk or the environment. Deworming helps remove these parasites, ensuring your puppy stays healthy and free from potential health issues caused by worm infestations. Deworming is a preventive measure against intestinal parasites. Even if your puppy doesn't currently show signs of worms, regular deworming can help prevent serious infections and reduce the risk of transmitting worms to humans or other pets. Your puppy's deworming needs may change as they grow and their lifestyle evolves. By asking this question, you allow your veterinarian to provide a tailored approach to deworming that best suits your puppy's unique circumstances.

What is the optimal diet for my puppy's age and breed?

Red Hill Vet puppies
Brisbane Vet - Red Hill Vet - Great with puppies

It is essential to have a discussion with your vet about the feeding recommendations provided by your breeder. While most breeders offer valuable guidance, it's essential to consult your vet to ensure the best diet for your puppy's specific needs. Double Checking everything is great practice. Over time, there have been various unconventional diets for puppies, but your vet can help you navigate through them and recommend a suitable and balanced diet. Most likely, they will suggest specially formulated puppy foods, such as Hills Science Diet, Black Hawk puppy food, or other brands designed for various stages of a puppy's growth.

It's crucial to avoid overfeeding your puppy, as excessive weight gain can lead to health issues. Following your vet's advice, feed your puppy the right amounts of food at appropriate times to maintain a healthy growth rate. Furthermore, inquire about suitable treats for your puppy. Your vet can suggest nutritious and safe options that won't disrupt their overall diet plan. A well-balanced and proper diet during the early stages of your puppy's life is crucial for their health and development. Your veterinarian's expertise will ensure that your puppy receives the best nutrition suited to their age, breed, and individual requirements.

What are some of the signs I should I watch for, that may indicate my puppy is unwell?

The Vet will often have something they can give you to help. I starter pack for Puppies. Recognising early signs of illness can help you take prompt action and seek veterinary care if necessary, ensuring the well-being of your puppy. The following is a basic list. If you are ever concerned about your puppies health don't go to Doctor Google - Go to your Vet.

Here are 10 Signs your puppy may be unwell:

  1. Changes in Eating Habits: Loss of appetite, excessive thirst, or difficulty eating.

  2. Digestive Issues: Vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

  3. Respiratory Problems: Coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing. increased respiratory rate and inability to settle

  4. Lethargy: Unusual lack of energy or reluctance to play and engage in activities.

  5. Changes in Behavior: Sudden aggression, anxiety, or unusual changes in personality.

  6. Skin and Coat Issues: Itchiness, redness, hair loss, or the presence of lumps or bumps.

  7. Weight Changes: Significant weight loss or gain.

  8. Eye or Ear Problems: Redness, discharge, or constant scratching, excessive blinking/keeping eye closed, pawing at face, bloodshot or cloudiness. Sudden vision loss.

  9. Lameness or Difficulty Walking: Reluctance to put weight on a specific limb.

  10. Excessive Thirst or Urination: May indicate potential kidney or urinary issues leaking/accidents/inappropriate urination, small frequent wees, straining to urinate - could indicate bladder/kidney or endocrine issues (e.g. cushings/diabetes)… among other things – they’re just the most common issues.

The vet may emphasise the importance of regular health check-ups and staying vigilant for any changes in your puppy's behavior, appearance, or habits. If you notice any concerning signs, it's crucial to seek professional veterinary advice promptly. Early detection and intervention can lead to better outcomes for your puppy's health. Moreover, your veterinarian might suggest monitoring your puppy's overall well-being and keeping a record of any unusual symptoms in a journal or on your phone. This valuable information can assist during vet visits, enabling the veterinarian to make accurate diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment, if necessary.

This practice - keeping the data on your puppies health - is especially crucial if your puppy's stool is not firm or is discolored. Collecting a sample and taking it to your vet can aid in the diagnostic process, helping to identify potential health issues and find the appropriate solutions. Being proactive and observant about your puppy's health will contribute to their overall well-being and ensure timely medical attention if any concerns arise.

Puppy at the Vet
My vet rocks. They look after me when I am not too well.

When should I schedule the next veterinary appointment?

Your vet will give you all the info you need to schedule the follow up appointments. It may also depend on what treatments or Vacinatioin schedule you need for your particular puppy.

When should I start flea and tick prevention for my puppy?

Your breeder will have started this process for you. If you have picked up a rescue dog then this may not be the case. I suggest that this process starts at around 6 - 8 weeks of age.

How do these preventatives work?

The simple answer is that they work by either killing the parasites on contact or by disrupting their Life Cycle, preventing them from multiplying. They come in various forms such as topical solutions, oral medications or even specific collars.

How often should I administer the treatment?

Each type of treatment may have different timing as it depends on the treatment itself. Some can last 1 month and others can be 3 months.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects are generally rare but can include skin irritation or digestive issues. Always watch your puppy for a day or two after administering the treatment and consult your vet if you notice anything unusual.

Can my puppy still get fleas or ticks after using these products?

No product is 100% foolproof. It's still possible, but far less likely, for your puppy to pick up these parasites. Regular checks and immediate action if you do find a tick or flea can help keep things under control. Remember, prevention is always better than cure. And when it comes to fleas and ticks, starting early and staying consistent is the best way to protect your new family member.

When should I ask about Spaying, neutering, desexing my Puppy? As you are a responsible pet owner, it's important to inquire about spaying, neutering, or desexing your puppy during your initial veterinary visit or as early as possible in their life. These procedures involve surgical sterilisation to prevent your puppy from reproducing. The appropriate timing for spaying or neutering can vary based on factors like age, breed, size, and overall health. Generally, many veterinarians recommend spaying or neutering around six months of age thru to 2 years of age, but individual considerations may lead to earlier or later timing.

I encourage you to be well-informed about this and all topics mentioned in this "Dog Blog". I have written an in-depth article on this issue, which you can read to gain a comprehensive understanding. Keep in mind that some vets may prefer waiting until your puppy reaches adulthood, typically between 1 to 2 years old, before performing the procedure.

However, the ultimate decision should be yours to make. I suggest avoiding early age desexing (EAD), as it may not be the best option for many owners and their dogs. Please listen to your Vet carefully as there are many reasons for various strategies in this matter. It is also worthing noting that the breed and size, may have an impact on recommendations. Research and gather information to determine what approach aligns with your preferences and your puppy's and your families needs.

If your current vet insists on waiting until your dog is a fully grown adult, you have the option to seek a second opinion or choose another veterinarian who aligns better with your views and desired timeline. Ultimately, the decision about when to spay or neuter your puppy should be based on well-informed discussions with your vet and considering what is best for your pet's health and well-being and must also include you and your families needs too.

What should I take with me to the Vets for the first time?

As a prepared puppy parent, make sure to bring the following items to your vet appointment:

  1. A towel or blanket with the scent of the puppy's mother and littermates to comfort them during the visit. This is particularly relevant with very young puppies. Once the puppy gets used to the vet you may not need this.

  2. Any paperwork or documentation provided by the breeder, including health records, vaccination history, and microchip information.

  3. A list of questions you want to ask the vet to ensure you don't forget any important information.

In Conclusion: Your puppy's first veterinary exam is an exciting step in your journey as a new dog owner. It's essential to ask the right questions and ensure your puppy receives the best care possible. Don't be shy to seek guidance from your vet; they are there to support you and your puppy's well-being. By preparing for the visit and knowing what to expect, you'll set your new puppy up for a lifetime of health and happiness by your side. Enjoy this special time with your furry companion! If you are not comfortable with the Vet you have gone to see, then please seek further help, and get a second opinion. Vets can make mistakes too. They have chosen this profession because of their love of animals and their commitment to you, your family and your pets. Even Cats too. Woof.

Bonnies senior dog trainer Peter Bonney
Puppy Whisperer Peter Bonney

For those residing in Brisbane, Australia, Peter Bonney, a renowned master puppy trainer, recommends taking advantage of the "4 Training Steps to a Successful Dog" offered by Bonnies:

Step 1 - Puppy Magic: Designed for puppies up to 18 weeks old.

Step 2 - Best Mates: Focused on basic dog training and obedience for dogs older than 16 weeks.

Step 3 - Unleashed: Suitable for all breeds with good basic obedience skills.

Step 4 - Limitless: Weekly classes on Saturdays, without the need for prior booking.

When seeking dog training in Brisbane, it is essential to be cautious of self-proclaimed "experts." One should inquire about their actual experience and credentials. Owning a dog for a few years does not automatically make someone a qualified dog trainer. Instead of searching generically for "Dog Trainer Brisbane," consider looking for Bonnies, a reputable option for dog training. To find more information about their services, you can visit their website . Additionally, you may explore Val Bonney's best-selling books on dogs, available for purchase.

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1 Kommentar

02. Aug. 2023

A client told me to have a look. As a Vet, I like my clients to be well informed. One of the best short briefs I have read. I hope you don't mind but i will send to new clients to read. Thank you.

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