Last Friday we took Carter to his ‘healthy-puppy’ check-up. This was our first visit to the vet, and Carter did great. He slept through most of the appointment and examination. His litter-mate and brother Bauer, slept through his appointment as well. Maybe it’s a family thing!
At the end of our visit, Carter was declared a healthy and normal puppy. He also gained 1.8 pounds in one week! Oh boy.
If you’re off to see the vet for the first time, here are some tips for your visit and signs that you have chosen a good vet!
1. How to choose a vet
I asked a bunch of friends for vet recommendations in our neighbourhood. I then went online and researched reviews to help make my final decision.
If there were too many negative reviews, or comments about the vet being pricey, then that clinic was an obvious no.
I also read doctors’ and staff bios, how long they have been in operation in the neighbourhood, and looked at their philosophy or approach to care and treatment. For example a website of one of the clinics I reviewed, stated that their approach is to neuter male pups at 6 months. I don’t want to get into a debate about the pros and cons of what age to neuter, but when a clinic makes such a statement, it makes me wonder whether this vet is open to discussions, or is flexible enough to assess each dog (i.e. breed), case by case rather than making such a blanket statement.
2. First impressions count!
From making the first call to book an appointment, to when we arrived, we were greeted by friendly staff. The clinic we chose was very clean and tidy too. It also didn’t hurt that staff gushed over Carter!
When it was time for our appointment, the doctor was kind and patient with us and with Carter who kept licking her stethascope. She answered all of our questions (see below), and we didn’t feel like we were rushed out the door.
3. Bring your list of questions
We had a lot of questions, from food quantity and supplements, to chewing and biting. These were just some of our questions:
- Is it ok that he eats his food in record-time? Yes, most puppies do.
- He has the hiccups a lot. Again, normal for puppies.
- He once ate his own poo! Gross. Also normal, but don’t encourage it.
4. Bring your pup’s paper-work and vaccination record
I brought Carter’s paperwork but forgot his vaccination record. No biggie since he was not due for his second round of ‘shots’ at this visit. Luckily, the paperwork I did bring had his microchip number, and when the technician used a wand-like device to scan him, she was able to verify his number. Who knew about microchips and scanner-thingy-wands until you own a dog!?
5. Foster a good and open relationship
Communication is a two-way street. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Hopefully your vet will welcome this. As already noted, our first impression of our vet and her philosophy was positive. She wasn’t pushy, she provided lots of good information about what to expect now and down the road, and was supportive of us as new puppy parents.
Having said that, some friends have switched vets over the years. It’s ok to do so if the need arises. They tell me it’s easier to break up with your vet than with your hairstylist! Good to know.