Recommendations from veterinarians for new puppy owners

Getting a puppy is an exciting time, but there is a lot to think about. Things like what your puppy will eat and where they will sleep will be fairly obvious priorities, and your vet is on hand to give you all of the advice and support that you need. However, in addition to this, there are two other important things that you need to consider. The first is scheduling regular wellness visits to check on the health and condition of your new family member, and the second is to make sure that they are up to date with their vaccinations and all aspects of their preventative care.

Wellness visits

Experts recommend that puppies attend monthly wellness exams during the earliest part of puppyhood. For convenience, these visits can usually be combined with the appointments that you will need to attend for your puppy to receive their vaccinations.


Your pup’s first wellness exam should take place when they are 8 weeks old. This will include a range of elements including:


A physical examination. Your veterinarian will be looking at your dog to make sure that they appear healthy and that there are no concerning abnormalities. Some of the areas that will be assessed will include your dog’s:

  • Weight

  • Temperature

  • Attitude

  • Ability to stand and move

  • Heart and lungs

  • Teeth and gums

  • Eyes, ears, and nose

If your vet has any concerns, further investigations can be carried out.


Parasite control. Parasites can affect our dogs at any age, including during puppyhood. In fact, if your precious pup contracts parasite, the effect could be more significant than if they were older. Your vet will provide oral deworming medication and will talk to you about flea, tick, and other parasite control. You may also be asked to bring in a fecal sample so that it can be tested for internal parasites. 


Other testing. Depending on your vet and whether there are any abnormalities detected during other evaluations, your vet may also recommend that your pet has a number of other tests. These could include urine testing, a full blood count, and blood chemistry profile. Blood testing also provides a valuable baseline against which any future bloodwork your pup may need can be compared. 

Vaccinations for new puppies

Vaccinations are the best way of keeping your puppy safe from the many infectious diseases that could make them very sick, and in some cases, even have life-threatening consequences. However, since your pup is still very young and has a low body weight, they won’t be able to receive the full dose of their vaccines immediately. Instead, the vaccinations are delivered over a schedule spanning several months.


Your puppy will primarily be given what is known as core vaccinations. These are those which are recommended for all dogs regardless of their age, location, or health. The core vaccinations protect your pup against the most serious disease which is either highly-transmissible, life-threatening, or both.


The following represents a rough guideline as to the accepted puppy vaccination schedule for the first year. However, it is essential that you stick to the specific schedule set out to you by your puppy’s vet:


  • 6-8 weeks old: Distemper and Parvovirus vaccinations

  • 10-12 weeks old: DHPP vaccination (which cover Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, and Parvo)

  • 16-18 weeks old: DHPP and Rabies vaccinations

  • 12-16 months old: DHPP and Rabies vaccinations


Following this initial schedule, your vet will be able to advise you when the dog should attend for booster vaccinations. It is important not to be late getting these boosters administered as doing so could leave your dog vulnerable to disease.


If you would like more advice about raising a puppy, or to schedule a wellness or vaccination visit, call our dedicated veterinary team today.