Puppy's First Vet Visit: A Checklist For Pet Parents

It's an exciting time when a new puppy joins the household! You've got all the essentials, and you've booked your new puppy's first vet appointment. Our White House veterinarians explain what to expect from your puppy's first appointment.

What Happens During the First Vet Visit?

During your puppy's first visit, a veterinarian should do the following:

  • Weigh the puppy
  • Listen to the heart and lungs
  • Take your pet's temperature
  • Examine the puppy's eyes, ears, nose, feet, and genitalia
  • Inspect the puppy's skin and coat
  • Look at the puppy's teeth and mouth
  • Palpate abdomen and lymph nodes
  • Examine the feces for the presence of worms (you should bring a stool sample if you can)
  • Discuss your pet's history and answer any questions you might have about feeding, medical issues, and future care
  • If sending you home with medications or treatment, ensure that you understand when and how they are to be given. Follow directions to the letter, and set up a schedule for follow-up visits and vaccinations.

What Should I Bring to the First Vet Visit?

If possible, try to bring the following items to your puppy's first veterinary appointment. The more information the vet has, the better they will be able to treat your puppy.

  • Veterinary records (from the breeder or shelter)
  • A list of important questions or concerns that you might have
  • Notes on foods and treats you offer at home
  • A dog carrier or crate lined with old towels or shirts that smell like home
  • A leash and collar or harness
  • A chew toy for distraction
  • Treats to reward good behavior
  • Any required forms provided by your veterinarian
  • A stool sample, if requested by your vet (as fresh as possible)

Small puppies will be more comfortable and safe in a crate! Don't expect to be able to carry a wiggly puppy in your arms when visiting the clinic. Puppies must be kept under control at all times using a leash and collar or harness, which is why a chew toy or some treats are a good idea.

What To Ask At A Puppy's First Vet Visit

Your veterinarian should be able to tell you everything you need to know to help your puppy grow. If you have any questions that you believe they have overlooked, or if the information they have supplied is confusing, don't hesitate to ask for clarification.

With that in mind, a list of questions can help make the most out of your first visit. Here is a list of some useful questions to ask your vet during the visit.

Health & Safety

  • How often should we visit the vet?
  • When should I spay or neuter my puppy?
  • Should I microchip my dog?
  • How many times a day should my puppy poop?
  • Are there any health concerns specific to my puppy’s breed(s)?
  • Does my puppy need flea and tick prevention?
  • What is heartworm disease and why is prevention important?

Training & Behavior

  • When can my puppy go out (e.g. to the pet store/dog park/groomer)?
  • Do you recommend crate training?
  • How long should puppies stay in their crate?
  • How do you potty train a puppy?
  • How much exercise does my puppy need?
  • How do I socialize my puppy with people and other dogs?
  • Do you know any local trainers?


  • What should I feed my puppy?
  • How many times a day should my puppy eat?
  • When should my puppy switch to adult dog food?

How Much Will My Puppy's First Vet Visit Cost?

The majority of what happens during a puppy's first vet appointment falls is routine in nature, but the cost for your visit will be determined by a variety of factors like location, vaccines, and prescribed medications. Veterinary wellness programs, vaccination clinics, and pet insurance can all help you save money. 

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.

Do you have a new puppy, or are you preparing to welcome a puppy into your home? Contact White House Animal Hospital for all the foundational and preventive vet care they need for a healthy, happy start!