So, you’ve finally brought home your very first puppy! Indeed, it’s difficult to describe the feeling of owning your first pet. It’s, to say the least, a mixture of happiness and excitement, which is truly one of the best moments that you can enjoy in your life. Without a doubt, gazing at the utter canine cuteness before you, you’ll immediately feel a strong sense of responsibility for your puppy as well. After all, like a parent to a child, who doesn’t want their pet to grow and develop to the fullest?
Of course, you can only ever ensure that your puppy’s health is kept in optimum condition by taking him to the vet. The first stages of development of a puppy, much like a toddler, are the most important times of his life. During these times, he is still very susceptible to diseases common among dogs, which could have a permanent, adverse effect on his development. What’s worse is that these diseases could even lead to death if it’s not addressed immediately. Fret not, though, for with the right core vaccines and physical checkups that your vet would undoubtedly administer, these can be easily prevented. It’s for this reason that your puppy’s first vet visit is a must.
Handling your Puppies First Visit to the Vet
The first visit is crucial because what your puppy experiences during this time would leave a lasting impression on him. If he gets a less than desirable experience, then you’ll have loads of trouble taking your dog in the future. The key then lies in conditioning your puppy beforehand on what he would experience once the fateful day arrives. Knowing what motivates your puppy to do something it otherwise won’t normally do is equally vital.
Planning the time to take your puppy to the vet is the one of the first steps that you should take. Most experts suggest taking them once they’re aged 7 to 8 weeks. Make sure that you take it before its 12th week. Delaying further is highly inadvisable because of the health risks involved.
As for how you can train your puppy to love vet visits, one of the most proven ways to do this is by bringing along things he likes, may it be food or his favorite toy. You can give this to him to encourage him to go on top of the examination table, for instance. While your puppy won’t show much apprehension yet because of its youth, conditioning him that going on top of the table equals reward would really go a long way in giving him a good impression of the vet clinic as a whole.
Another advice that experts give is to actually take your dog to the vet even if you don’t intend to have him checked up. Take him just for fun. Once he gets used to the place (and the admiring gazes and gestures of its other patrons), you’ll never put up with the hassle of dragging and forcing him to go. Have him associate the vet’s office with fun and a place for socializing, and not just unpleasant medical stuff like sharp, pointy needles and invasive thermometers.
It also wouldn’t hurt to take the initiative in making him experience what it’s like to be “handled” in the vet. We have to accept the fact that some procedures in the clinic would be unpleasant after all. For example, you could perform physical actions on him that simulate how a vet does a standard checkup, like lifting his legs, turning his head every which way, and shining a beam of light in his eye. Of course, you have to make sure that you do it gently.