Next to you and your family, your veterinarian is one of the most important people in your dog's life. You should identify a veterinarian for your new dog before you bring it home and arrange for his or hers first appointment as soon as possible. The first vet visit gives you and your veterinarian an opportunity to establish your dog's baseline level of health and identify any potential long-term or chronic health problems. This visit can determine the health status identified of your new pet.
When you meet with the vet, be sure to discuss your daily care routines, home environment, and any anticipated problems or concerns you may have. Ask questions about any behaviors which you need more information on and if you have grooming preferences, particularly nail clipping. Your vet will examine your dog to ensure healthy bones, joints and muscles, heart, eye, ear and other organ functions. The vet will also do a blood test to check to make sure your dog has the right levels of nutrients and minerals.
Your dog may experience some stress going to the vet. The best way to alleviate this is with positive reinforcement, attention and happy visits. Stop in at the vet's office with your dog a couple of times when it doesn't need to be examined so that your dog associates the clinic with positive experiences. Pet your dog and give it praise when it behaves calmly and well at the vet's office. Take some treats to help keep your dog happy and to have staff give your pet. Fortunately, vet staff is experienced at handling dogs of all sorts and will likely make your job much easier.
After the first visit and your dog's initial vaccinations, you should plan on getting your dog checked by the vet once a year. You may need to go more frequently if the vet is clipping your dog's nails.