750 State Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02747  •  Phone: 508-996-3731 • Fax: 508-996-3750 • Email
Mon.-Fri. 8am-8pm; Sat. 8am-5pm; • Closed Sundays & Major Holidays

South Coast New Puppy Tips: Start With a Veterinary Check-Up

new-puppy-tipsWhat could be better than a brand new puppy? Making sure that you know what you are getting into, having the tools and support to help you get your new family member off on the right foot and, of course, the training to prevent potential issues that could happen later on in life. Your first step should be to schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian in South Coast Massachusetts to get a veterinary check-up. Working closely with a local vet who specializes in providing vet care for cats and dogs, as well as other popular pets, can really help you to create a healthy and happy home environment for your new puppy.

What to Expect at the Vet
If you have never had a puppy before, this might all be new to you. It can be helpful to know what to expect when you visit your vet, the tests that might need to be run and the topics that will be discussed. Many people will sadly adopt a puppy with no intention of ever taking him or her to the vet. Not only could this cut your new dog’s life expectancy considerably, but it could also expose you and your family to unnecessary risks associated with parasites, disease and other potential problem. Bringing your new puppy in for a veterinary check-up is a smart idea for the entire household.

Step One: Physical Exam
The first thing that your veterinarian in South Coast Massachusetts will likely want to do is to perform a basic physical exam. You will be present in the room for the exam, answering any questions the vet might have about your adoption experience, the background of the puppy or anything else that you can provide. If you adopted through a shelter or a breeder, make sure to have all papers regarding shot records, de-worming or anything else that has already been done. This will save time for you and your veterinarian and likely save you money on vaccinations and other services that you might not need.

Your vet can learn a lot about your puppy just by performing a physical exam. Skin infections, heart defects, digestion issues or infestation with parasites, such as fleas or ticks can all usually be spotted in the initial exam. Included as part of this exam, your veterinarian will also likely perform a fecal exam to check for internal parasites, run some basic blood tests, as well as some chemistry and electrolyte tests to check internal organ status.

Blood tests help to scan for any infections, internal inflammation, anemia or other blood-based conditions that could affect your puppy’s health. Puppies that are older than six months can undergo the heartworm test. It takes six to seven months for a dog that has been affected by heartworm to test positive, so that’s why there is a delay in testing. Once you get the all-clear on parasites, your veterinarian can help you start a parasite control preventive program for intestinal parasites, heartworm, fleas and ticks.

Step Two: Vaccinations
Vaccines are very important to help protect your new puppy from viruses and diseases that commonly affect dogs in the United States. Check with your local veterinarian in South Coast to find out about vaccination vet care for cats and dogs, as there may be vaccinations that you should get here that you might not know about from other parts of the country. On the other hand, if you lived somewhere outside of the New England area, there might be vaccinations that you won’t need to get here.

The basic vaccinations that every puppy and dog should have includes:

  • Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Hepatitis and Coronavirus
  • Rabies

The first grouping of vaccinations are often combined together to create a single vaccine because all are equally important. Rabies shots are often required by the states, counties and local communities where you live. Regular boosters are needed to keep up to date with the rabies vaccine throughout your new puppy’s life.

Speak with your local vet at your first veterinary check-up to determine any other vaccines that might be recommended based upon where you live, the activity level of your dog and the interaction that he or she has with any other type of animal, either domesticated, farm or wild. Vaccinations can be confusing and overwhelming, but if you will take the time to learn a little bit about them, you will be able to better determine which ones are needed for your particular situation.

Step Three: Consultation
At this point in the visit, it is your time to speak with your veterinarian about any issues that you might have or to ask questions about how to properly care for your new puppy. House-breaking tips and techniques, tips for dogs scare of loud noises, proper nutritional requirements and feeding, dental health, socializing and scheduling a veterinary check-up each year to determine your pet’s progress are common topics. Make sure to write down a list of any questions you might have so you won’t get distracted during the check-up and forget to ask. Don’t forget to discuss the benefits of spaying and neutering, if you haven’t already made a decision in this regard.

For more information on vet care for cats and dogs, or to set up an appointment for a veterinary check-up with a professional veterinarian in South Coast Massachusetts, contact Anchor Animal Hospital by calling 508-996-3731. Our team can help you schedule an appointment, answer any questions you might have about our services and help you determine if our services are right for you. With over 40 years of experience providing quality services to local residents of Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, you can trust Anchor Animal Hospital to help you start your brand new puppy off on the right paw!