Back to News

Published: Nov 17, 2011

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting moment for owners, as the addition will bring new joy, love and affection into the house. Although this is a time to shower the pup with attention, owners may also be wondering when is the right time to visit the veterinarian for a health check-up and to begin vaccinations.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, in many cases puppies may have already been to the veterinarian's office by a breeder, town officials or animal shelter staff. VCA reports that most will be seen around two or three weeks for an initial pet health exam and then again at six to eight weeks to begin vaccinations and other preventatives.

While pups are susceptible to a number of dangerous illnesses, most of these medical problems can be prevented with vaccinations, so it's important for new pet owners to have their dogs protected at the recommended times. VCA suggests owners have their puppies' first set of shots for distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus between six and eight weeks. Booster shots should continue once every 3 weeks until your pup is about 16 weeks old or as recommended by your veterinarian. Rabies vaccines are usually given between 12 and 16 weeks of age.

During any of these visits to the vet, it is recommended that new owners also get their puppies microchipped, which is a tiny device that is implanted under a dog's skin and holds personal information should the dog get lost. Most shelters, rescue leagues and animal hospitals now have the scanners to look for microchips, so a dog can be reunited with its owners faster when it is lost.