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A cat kitten at the vet

What to expect during your pet’s first visit to the vet

If you’re adopting a pet and adding a furry friend to the family, its health and well-being is your responsibility. While cats and dogs are lovable, loyal and beneficial to your mental health, they are more than just accessories to the home. They require compassionate care and regular check-ups to ensure their health and safety. Whether you’re adopting an adult pet or a youngster, it’s important to schedule a trip to the vet within a week of bringing it home.

Tips for your pet’s first vet visit and what to expect

Regardless of its age, the first trip to the vet allows a doctor to analyze your furry friend’s medical history and physical shape. If you’re unsure of what to ask your vet on the first visit, try to get a sense of what the appointment will include. Below, you’ll find some tips for vet visits based on your pet’s general age.

Adult cats and dogs

If the animal has medical records, a visit to the vet could reveal any preexisting conditions. With a physical exam, the doctor will inspect your pet’s eyes, ears, teeth, heart, lungs and other organs. Vets can usually detect illnesses or intestinal parasites, fleas, heartworms or other pests that may have followed your pet home.

If your furry friend is not at a healthy weight, you may be advised to change its diet and maximize nutritional intake while minimizing the risk of digestive issues. A full check-up at the vet’s office could reduce the chances of developing a surprise sickness.

Adult animals have also likely developed their personalities based on the environments in which they were trained. Shelters may not have had the resources or time to prevent behavioral or health problems, making it mission-critical that you follow the vet’s instructions.

Puppies and kittens

If you’re wondering “When should a puppy first see a vet?” or “When should a kitten first see a vet?” the answer is usually within the first few weeks of their life. At the first appointment, you and the veterinarian can determine the best plan of action depending on your lifestyle and the pet’s needs.

Similar to humans, baby animals don’t build immunity to certain diseases and infections right away. Depending on the species and breed, city requirements, and personal preferences, your vet might recommend certain vaccines to prevent future sicknesses, such as ringworm or rabies. Fecal analysis and blood tests may be the preferred form of testing for any diseases. Other factors, such as posture, joint movements, respiratory rate and overall body condition are taken into consideration as well. It could be a good idea to spay or neuter the animal, but your vet can determine a good time to schedule the procedure depending on the pet’s age.

When it comes to puppies and kittens, it could be beneficial to discuss their vaccine schedule, insurance plans, socialization and training strategies with the veterinarian in order to prevent issues in their adult life.

Caring for your pet from the first visit and beyond

For your pet’s first veterinarian appointment, be prepared to help it relax in the unfamiliar environment. Bring your adoption papers, any medications and a list of questions that will help you understand the tendencies and patterns of the animal. Taking charge of your pet’s health and wellness puts you both in a position to bond more strongly for years to come.

Editor’s Note: Adopting a new cat can be exciting for a first-time pet owner and family. Be sure to make the most of your cat’s first trip to the veterinarian with these tips.


Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology—the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud—and the industry’s most comprehensive pet insurance plans.

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