As soon as possible after bringing your new puppy home, you’ll want to visit your veterinarian. Most breeders and rescue groups require an immediate veterinary exam in order for any health guarantees to be valid. You also want to make sure your new puppy is happy and healthy, and it’s the perfect time to get some last-minute guidance from your vet.

Keep puppy relaxed

Your puppy is going to require regular visits to the veterinarian so you want to establish good habits from the start.

Schedule your puppy’s first appointment as early in the morning as possible, preferably when the clinic opens or when there are fewer people. Since your puppy hasn’t completed his vaccinations, he’s susceptible to diseases. You don’t want to expose him to other dogs in the waiting area. Scheduling an appointment when the clinic is less active will also help ease the anxiety your puppy will feel in a strange environment.

During the veterinarian’s examination keep your puppy calm and relaxed. Praise him softly during the exam and afterwards. Keep an upbeat, pleasant tone. If he starts to make a fuss, don’t coddle him or be overly sympathetic. You’ll only reinforce the behavior and likely make it worse on your next visit. Simply get your puppy’s attention with a quick wave of your hand or other movement. Be mindful of what behavior you’re rewarding as you offer praise. You want your puppy to remember the veterinarian’s as a pleasant place to be.

What to expect and what to bring

Your puppy’s first visit to the veterinarian will involve a basic health check and his first set of vaccinations. Your puppy will be weighed and given the once over to check his coat, ears, eyes, heart, lungs, teeth and gums.

You may need to bring a stool sample for your veterinarian to test for parasites. Also, take along any health records or documentation you received from the breeder or rescue organization. This will give the vet a sense of your puppy’s previous care and help him establish an appropriate health regimen.

Make sure you’re clear on any directions or recommendations your veterinarian offers. Get them in writing if necessary. You should also ask any questions you have about caring for your puppy. You’ve likely survived the first night or two with him and now would be a good time to get answers for any issues that may have come up during that time.

You want to make sure that your puppy is happy and healthy, which means regular visits to the veterinarian. By taking the time to make your puppy’s first visit to the vet as calm and relaxing as possible, you’ll be on the path to making every trip to the vet stress-free for you and your puppy.