Registering your puppy or dog with a vet
One of the first things you will need to do when you get a new puppy or dog is to register with a local vet. Most vets offer healthcare plans to help you spread the cost for veterinary treatment throughout the year.
When should puppies go to the vet
You can make an appointment for your puppy to see the vet when you contact them to register. It’s a good idea to let your puppy settle in for a few days first. On the first visit, the vet will carry out a puppy health check. This involves examining their eyes, ears and teeth, weighing them and listening to their heart. Ask your vet what your dog’s ideal weight will be as an adult. You will need this information to make sure you feed your puppy the right amount of food. Feeding guidelines, which you will find on your dog food packaging, are based on your dog’s ideal weight as an adult.
Take with you any paperwork given to you by the breeder, previous owner or dog rehoming centre. This includes a vaccination card, your Puppy Contract and breed registration papers.
How often do you take a puppy to the vet
If you have got an eight week old puppy from a breeder, they may have already had their first vaccinations. However, they will still need to have their second set of vaccinations. This will be about two weeks later. Your vet will advise you on what vaccinations your puppy needs. Your puppy will also need to be wormed and de-flead. This can be done at home as directed by your vet.
Thereafter, it’s an annual booster for dogs to protect them from nasty diseases. They will also need a health check. This is offered every six or 12 months, depending on your vet. Your vet will examine your dog and check their weight at these appointments.
How to choose a vet
Every town has a vet – or a few veterinary practices. You can find details of your local vets using the RCVS Find A Vet search facility. The RCVS – the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons – is the UK’s governing body for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses.
When it comes to picking a vet, there are a number of factors you may want to consider. This includes specialism (dogs in this case!), location and structure.
Some vets specialise in a particular species of animals, for example, small animals such as cats and dogs. Other vets specialise in farm animals or equines.
Others are part of a large nationwide veterinary group. The main ones are:
A smaller percentage of vet practices are independent and privately-owned.
How much do vets charge?
During the first year of your puppy’s life, you will need to pay for a full course of vaccinations. This is to protect them from diseases. You will also need to have them spayed or castrated.
Veterinary treatment can be expensive, particularly if they become seriously sick or are injured and need surgery or to stay overnight. Going to the vet for a consultation can cost around £60 per visit. There are ways to manage the cost of veterinary treatment, so that you don’t find yourself with a huge bill:
Dog health care plans
Most vets offer dog and puppy health care plans. These cover annual vaccinations, and a year’s worth of prescription flea and worm treatment. They also include health checks every six to 12 months. You pay a monthly subscription for this annual plan.
It’s a good idea to get pet insurance for dogs. This can cover any unexpected costs in the event of your dog being seriously ill or injured. Shop around to compare pet insurance for your dog and check the small print for what’s covered and what’s not.
Help with vet costs
Help with vet bills for low income families is available through a number of animal welfare charities. These include: