Getting a new puppy means a lot of veterinarian visits in the future. It is important that you properly prepare for vet visits to help the process go smoothly for yourself and your new puppy. Most breeders require new puppy owners to have the puppy checked over by a veterinarian within a few days of pick up in order to activate any type of warranty. Furthermore, not too long after you get your new Shih Tzu home you will probably need to see a veterinarian for booster puppy shots. If you have put preparation plans together in advance the trip to the vet will hopefully run smoothly.
The first thing you need to consider after booking the vet appointment is how to safely get your Shih Tzu puppy to the vets office. Puppies like humans need to be secure anytime they’re riding in a moving vehicle. It is important that you purchase a puppy carseat or another type of restraint that will keep your puppy safe while the car is in motion.
They also sell seatbelt tethers that attach to the seatbelt if you prefer not to use a carseat. With this option you will need to purchase a harness to attach to the seatbelt tether. It is important that the harness fits properly. It is also essential that you don’t attach the tether to a collar under any circumstances. Shih Tzus are a brachycephalic breed. Any pressure or tugging on the collar could harm your Shih Tzus sensitive airway.
The next thing you need to think about is how you will get your Shih Tzu puppy into the vet clinic. You may decide to carry your puppy in your arms. Or you might have your puppy secure in a travel carrier. Another idea is to purchase a dog stroller. This is how I transport the Shih Tzu puppies in my breeding program to the vet clinic. I own a doggy stroller with a detachable base. I use the detachable base as a travel crate to get to and from the clinic. You can simply attach the travel carrier to the stroller base when it is time to go into the clinic.
The travel stroller concept helps prevent the puppies from having any access to other dogs or the floor. I’m sure you already know that vet clinics are a breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and parasites. To make matters worse, puppies don’t have fully functional immune systems until they’re much older. It is important that your Shih Tzu puppy has no contact with animals that may be ill or aren’t up to date on vaccinations. This will hopefully prevent your puppy from getting sick.
You may also want to think about which vaccines and other preventatives you want your new dog to receive. I have written another post where I dive deeper into the different types of vaccines dogs can receive. Click here to check out the post. At the very least, your puppy needs to receive all core vaccines during puppyhood. Some of the core vaccines includes: DHPP and Rabies.
Other inoculations such as Leptospirosis and the Rattle Snake vaccine are usually optional. You may also want to consider whether you will be using a monthly heart worm preventative and flea and tick protection. You can ask your veterinarian whether or not you need these additional preventatives depending on where you live and your lifestyle.
I would also take the time to jot down a list of questions before your first visit to the vet. Brainstorm and come up with a list of questions that you feel are important to your new Shih Tzu puppy’s well-being. I have put together a sample list of questions below.
- How often does my Shih Tzu puppy need to come in for a visit?
- How can I prevent my puppy from getting sick?
- What vaccines do you recommend my puppy receives?
- Should I use flea and tick medication? Is it safe?
- When do I switch my puppy to adult dog food?
- What health problems are common in Shih Tzus and how can I prevent them?
- How should I care for my puppy’s teeth?
- When are Shih Tzus full grown?
- Is there a trainer that you recommend? (Check out BringFido for some great trainer options: https://www.bringfido.com/)
- How much exercise does a Shih Tzu need?
- What is your after hours policy?
- What should I do in case of an emergency if your clinic is closed?
I hope that you now feel a little more confident about your first vet visit after reading this post. If you prepare in advance both you and your new puppy will be more comfortable when the time arrives to go to the clinic. Taking your pet to the vet may not be fun but is necessary in order to keep your dog healthy. Our animals depend on us to provide them with optimal care throughout their lives. Visits to the vet clinic are part of the equation that will help enhance overall wellness in your pooch.