Don’t wait! Ideally, the all-important, first vet visit should happen as soon as your Chihuahua gets home. That’s because the normal, safe age most puppies get adopted away from mom is between the 6th-and 8th-week birthday- and this is exactly the stage at which they most need vaccines, special diets and parasite-control to protect their delicate health as they begin exploring the wider world.
Only a trusted, carefully researched, licensed veterinarian can provide these tools. And you can’t safely train your Chihuahua without them. Make the most of your appointment with this checklist:
Prepare for shots! Once he’s weaned, your puppy’s immune system needs to be activated by vaccines. In fact, his first round of preventative shots can be a developing pup’s only protection against several infectious diseases he can easily catch from other dogs and wildlife. Depending on where you live, a rabies vaccination may be part of the regimen. Ask what’s typically required for your puppy’s age, before shots are administered.
Use the scale! This is an important bit of dietary information. Without an accurate record of your pup’s weight, analyzed by a pro for what’s normal for her breed or breed-mix, you can’t be sure you’re measuring out the right amount of puppy food. Blood work, too, can shed light on nutrition deficiencies the vet believes diet should address.
Bring a fecal sample! This is needed for the test for intestinal worms. An external examination for fleas and ticks and a blood test for heart worm disease round out the wellness checkup, so no undetected bugs stall your puppy’s healthy start.
A vet will likely start the preventive heart worm treatment right away, just to be safe. Rest assured, a professional can catch signs of a problem your eyes might miss. You don’t want to let a problem progress too to the point when it’s most costly to treat and more dangerous for your pet.
Get a tooth-brushing lessons! It’s the most important information that owners fail to pick up, after visiting the vet; but learning how to clean your dog’s teeth, can make stronger his overall health and saves you money on doggie dental care. Take advantage of your vet’s experience and ask what to look for when it comes to your dog’s teeth, gums and breath.
First Trip Tips
How to get him there
Keep your energy calm and happy, so he doesn’t become alarmed. Carry your Chihuahua to the vet in a comfy crate with his favorite toy, to make that first trip a pleasant one.
Reasons to get early
An emergency visit to the vet, before your scheduled time is better than letting any scary symptoms or behavior worsen in the meantime. For example, don’t ignore a runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite. Any illness can have more serious results for puppies than for adults with mature immune systems.
Sources for finding a reputable professional
Professional organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (avma.org) and your local ASPCA are smart places to look for a list of licensed veterinarians. Also, turn to other dog owners you trust for personal referrals, then call the office with questions about their practice, before booking your appointment.