First in The List: A Vet Exam
Once their new human family takes them home, the first item on the agenda should be a visit to the vet for vaccinations and an overall well-puppy exam. In addition to fecal examination for parasites, the exam will include checking your pup’s mouth, teeth and gums for abnormalities, making sure its ears, eyes, nose and skin are free of infection, verifying healthy weight and temperature (a puppy’s temp should be between 100.5° and 102.5° F), and examining lungs and other internal organs. This first exam is also an opportunity for your puppy to receive its first round of vaccinations, which will help protect it from distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza. Some veterinarians will also inoculate against leptospirosis, bordatella and corona. The vaccinations are generally administered at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, and will be followed by boosters at regular intervals, depending on your veterinarians’ preference.
Be sure to schedule an appointment for your pet to be spayed or neutered around six months of age and annual veterinary check-ups thereafter.
Of course, you are the first defense. If your puppy shows signs of weakness, collapse, shaking, seizures, vomiting, listlessness, bloody stool, refuses to eat, or other alarming or unusual symptoms or behavior, get him to your veterinarian without delay.