Dogs need vet care throughout their lives in order to enjoy their best health. However, puppies do tend to need more regular vet care than mature, middle-aged dogs. Here are the key kinds of vet care that a puppy will typically need during their first year of life.
When your puppy is young, the vet will want to look them over for any abnormal anatomical features. For example, if they have one leg that is longer than another or a deformity in their hip, this is something the vet will note. It's a good idea to find out about any abnormalities early on, since this gives you more options for managing them. For instance, your vet may recommend doing certain exercises with your pup to strengthen abnormal limbs or joints as they grow. Most puppies, however, are found to have normal anatomy; it's still nice to have this reassurance from your vet.
Vaccines start when puppies are just a few weeks old. There are several different vaccinations puppies need when young, including the parvovirus vaccine, distemper vaccine, and canine influenza vaccine. Puppies do not have a lot, if any, natural immunity to these pathogens. A vaccine gives their body a chance to build immunity so that if they do encounter a virus, they can fight it off rather than becoming ill. Many of these vaccines, such as the parvovirus vaccine, require a couple of boosters. So, your puppy will see the vet for shots pretty regularly during their first year of life.
The vet will keep an eye on your puppy's dentition each time you visit. They'll make sure your puppy loses their baby teeth and gets their adult teeth on-schedule. If there are any abnormalities in your puppy's teeth, the vet will let you know. You may need to respond by offering a specialty diet or specialized chew toys.
Neutering or Spaying
Most vets prefer to neuter or spay puppies when they are under a year old, or before they reach sexual maturity. Spaying and neutering are not only good for your puppy's health, but also for the dog population as a whole. These procedures help prevent pet overpopulation.
During your puppy's first year, it will feel like you are bringing them to the vet a lot. However, these vet services are very important for puppies. They'll keep them in good health not only now, but as they continue to grow and mature. A hospital like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital has more information.