If you’ve just gotten a new pet dog, cat, or rabbit, you already know how much there is to do in order to be as prepared as possible. Let’s say you’ve got the right food, stocked up on toys, accessories such as leashes and beds, and everything else you need. Now all that’s left is to get them in for your first visit here at Hastings Veterinary Hospital.
Why you should see a veterinarian right after getting a new pet
Being proactive about taking your pet to the vet is the best thing you can do to ensure they’re healthy and happy from the get-go. Even if your pet was checked by a veterinarian while at the shelter you got them from, we still highly advise you to take them in for an appointment within the first week or two of taking them home.
There are a few more reasons why an initial vet visit is so important.
Giving us a baseline
For the sake of both you and your new pet, it’s a good idea to stick with the same veterinarian for as long as possible. Not only does this give your new furry friend a chance to get to know our veterinary team, but also it means they can more easily keep track of your pet’s health as time goes on.
The initial vet visit is a great way to provide our experts with a baseline of your pet’s health. This gives us a reference for future appointments. For instance, if your pet is much heavier or much lighter on their second appointment than their first, it gives us some idea of what may be going on, and will help us make informed recommendations when it comes to the health of your pet.
Getting recommendations for treatments to keep them safe in their new home
For animals that come from adoption centres and shelters, their background may be unknown. This means they could potentially have been exposed to contagious illnesses, parasites, and more. Seeing a vet as soon as possible after taking your pet home allows them to screen for a number of potential health issues, and quickly get them on any necessary treatment plans to ensure both you and your new friend are safe and healthy.
Making a connection in case of future emergencies
Thinking about serious emergencies is probably the last thing on your mind when you get a new pet, but the sooner you get in contact with a trusted veterinarian, the sooner you can get that all-important peace of mind in case something does happen. That’s why beginning a relationship with your veterinarian here at Hastings Vet sooner is so vital, as it means you’ll always have somewhere to go in case a serious situation does arise with your pet’s health.
What to expect from a first vet visit
As you can see, there are a number of important benefits to getting your pet in for a first veterinary appointment as quickly as possible. However, for those who have never looked after a pet of their own before, what can you expect from that first visit?
At Hastings Vet, a proper initial vet visit is usually a fairly extensive process, and it’s for good reason. The more thorough the initial appointment, the more informed our veterinarians will be for your pet’s future. During the first appointment for your new pet, we will:
- Weigh your pet
- Check the health of their heart and lungs
- Thoroughly examine their eyes, ears, feet, genitals, nose, etc. for any issues
- Check their skin and coat for any irregularities or conditions
- Perform a dental screening of their teeth, gums, and mouth
- Examine your animal’s abdomen and lymph nodes by touch
- Learn and discuss your pet’s known medical history
- Discuss any recommended testing (ex: fecal tests for parasites, heartworm testing, tick-borne illness testing, etc.)
- Provide owners with all necessary info on prescriptions and at-home pet care
- Answer all of your questions about pet care and future procedures (spaying/neutering, microchipping, preventative treatments for fleas, etc.)
For a full run-down of our services, you can read more here.
In general, you can expect to see our veterinarians carefully take all the time needed to thoroughly examine your pet. It may be a bit longer than a typical vet visit, but it’s well worth it in order for us to have all the information needed to provide ongoing care in the future.
What to do before your pet’s first vet visit
Preparation is key when it comes to welcoming a new pet into your home—this is especially true for people who are first-time pet owners or are adopting a certain kind of animal for the first time.
- We recommend getting to know more about us as your potential veterinary clinic before taking your pet home. This lets you get a feel for how we perform our services and ensure we’re a good fit for both you and your furry friend in the long term.
- Our staff is willing to take some time to chat with you, a prospective client. You can take that to mean that we’re happy to go the extra mile for clients and their pets.
- We make sure that you feel comfortable asking questions, since you never want to feel awkward or unwelcome when getting all the information you need.
We also suggest that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible to ensure minimal waiting time between taking your pet home and getting them the care they need.
Once you’ve finally got your pet from the shelter or adoption center, it’s time to bring them in for that first appointment! In order to make the process as smooth as possible and ensure you’re making the best use of your time, our vet staff’s time, and your pet’s time, you should:
- Prepare all your questions ahead of time (write them down if necessary)
- Gather and organize any documents and information you have for your pet (adoption papers, medical documents, vaccination records, etc.)
- Bring a list of anything your pet is currently taking, including prescriptions, supplements, and the food you’ve been giving them
- Bring things to help keep your pet dog, cat, or rabbit at ease during their appointments. We recommend their favourite toys, treats, and blankets—all the comforts of home to keep them feeling safe as the vet does the examination
- Keep in mind that your new pet might pick up on your mood. If you’re one to get nervous, anxious, or squeamish around medical locations in general, consider leaving the room for a moment in order to separate your feelings from your pet’s
- Reward your pet when you get home! Celebrating your furry friend for a job well done after a vet visit is a great way to reinforce the idea that the vet is nothing to be afraid of, and it will gradually make future visits more comfortable and efficient for everyone
As we’ve outlined, there’s a fair bit of necessary preparation when it comes to bringing a new pet in for their initial vet visit. Above all, the best thing you can do for your new furry friend is ensure you’ve chosen a trusted, experienced veterinary clinic.
We look forward to meeting the newest four-legged member of your family!
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