Navigating Your First Vet Visit With Your New Dog

Visiting the veterinarian can be stressful. While you wonder what questions to ask, your dog might have anxieties of his own. Follow these tips from Dr. Zach Mills, Head of U.S. Pet Veterinary Professional Services, Boehringer Ingelheim, to make the most out of that first appointment.

1. Make it a comfy ride.

“Puppies that aren’t used to riding in cars might be nervous about traveling,” said Dr. Mills. “Getting your dog comfortable in the car before your appointment will help start that day off on the right foot.” Take your dog on a few joy rides before making your first trip to the vet to help your dog get comfortable with being in the car.

2. Know what’s coming

Your veterinarian will cover lots of territory in your first visit. Be ready to take down notes and share plenty of info about your new doggie. “During the first visit, the clinic staff will weigh your dog, listen to his heart, and examine every part of his body,” said Dr. Mills. “You’ll discuss your pet’s medical history and future care, like spaying or neutering and preventive care.” Remember: bring any medical history the shelter or breeder provided you!

3. Be ready to ask questions.

Make a list of questions before you go. Make sure you ask your doctor about protecting your dog against fleas and ticks with NexGard® (afoxolaner), a flea and tick control product that can be used in dogs as young as 8 weeks, as long as they weigh more than 4 pounds. Also ask about HEARTGARD® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel), which prevents heartworm disease and can be used in puppies as young as 6 weeks.

With these tips, you and your dog will be ready for a successful veterinary visit! Want more great tips? Check out this It’s a Dog! blog post for the 4-1-1 on pet insurance!


Reported side effects for NexGard include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, lethargy and lack of appetite. The safe use of NexGard in pregnant, breeding or lactating dogs has not been evaluated. Use with caution in dogs with a history of seizures. See your veterinarian for more information or click here for full prescribing information.

HEARTGARD Plus is well tolerated. All dogs should be tested for heartworm infection before starting a preventive program. Following the use of HEARTGARD Plus, digestive and neurological side effects have rarely been reported. For more information, contact your veterinarian or click here for full prescribing information.