Congratulations on your new addition! Welcoming a new cat or dog can be a true joy, and if this is your first foray into pet parenthood, you likely have many questions about when to schedule your pet’s first checkup, what to expect, and how to prepare.
At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, we warmly welcome new pet patients, and we’ve compiled some helpful hints for navigating your pet’s first visit.
When Should You Have Your First Vet Visit?
Ideally, right away. Even if your pet received veterinary services from the animal shelter or breeder, you should schedule a vet visit within a few days of bringing home your new companion. Your pet could be due for additional vaccines or parasite prevention. Plus, having an established relationship with a veterinarian is important in case of an emergency.
What Happens at the First Vet Visit?
When you contact us for your pet’s appointment, we will ask you to fill out our New Patient Information form. This provides us with important details about your pet. At your pet’s first visit, our veterinarian will review your pet’s previous medical records (if any), perform a thorough nose-to-tail examination, and recommend further treatments that are needed, such as vaccines, parasite control, and spaying or neutering. Additionally, your veterinarian will guide you through other aspects of your pet’s care, including behavioral training, nutritional recommendations, and microchipping.
Prepare Ahead for Your Pet’s Visit
We know trips to the vet can be stressful, but a little advanced prep can go a long way toward making the visit more productive and less stressful. Here are three suggestions from our compassionate team:
- Purchase an appropriate carrier or leash and harness.
You might think your new kitten will sit calmly on your lap or that your dog will remain dutifully by your side, but small pets are much safer in carriers, and larger dogs are much easier to control when wearing a proper harness and leash—not a retractable leash.
- Choose the right day and time.
Our pets can detect when we’re anxious. Choose a day when you are the least pressed for time. You don’t want to be in a rush when putting your cat in the carrier or coaxing your dog into the car. You want to remain calm and cheerful so you can support your pet with lots of praise and affection.
- Bring the following items with you.
Use this checklist when collecting what you’ll need for your pet’s first visit:
- Previous veterinary records
- A list of current medications or nutritional supplements
- Notes regarding types of food and treats
- A favorite toy (for distraction) and treats as rewards
- A fresh stool sample
- A written list of questions and concerns for the doctor
We’re always excited for new patients, and we’ll do all we can to make your pet’s first visit as comfortable as possible. Please contact us to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions.