Chapter 1, Basic Care & Protection

Clock icon

Learn the basics in 10 min

Tick icon

Earn the Basic Care Certificate

Thumbs up icon

13 people have liked this lesson


Questions to ask about your new pet

Your veterinarian will be your go-to source for information about the health of your new puppy, but there is some information they will need to know. Discover the reasons why it is so important to ask these questions of whomever you get your new puppy from.

  • What has the puppy been given for treating worms and when?

    Worms such as heartworm, tapeworm, and other GI worms are common in all dogs, including puppies.Prevention of heartworm disease should begin as early as 4-6 weeks of age, so you need to be aware of what treatment your puppy has already been given.

  • What has the puppy been given for treating ticks and fleas, and when?

    Fleas are a common parasite found on dogs1 and ticks are also very common. Tick treatment should begin as early as 8 weeks of age, so you need to be aware of what treatment your puppy has had.

  • What has the puppy been given for heartworm prevention?

    Heartworms are one of the most damaging parasites in dogs, but heartworm disease is preventable.2 Treatment should begin as early as 4-6 weeks of age, so you need to be aware of what treatment your puppy has already been given.

  • What is the puppy’s vaccination history?

    Many diseases can threaten your puppy but are preventable with a series of vaccinations from your veterinarian. You need to be aware of your puppy’s vaccination history so you can inform your vet on your first visit.

  • What has the puppy been eating?

    A puppy who has been fed raw meat is at greater risk for worms. Inform your vet if you learn they have been eating uncooked meat.

Choosing and visiting a veterinarian

Much like finding a doctor for yourself, choosing a vet and visiting them for the first time can be a bit intimidating. Put your mind at ease with this information.

  • Finding a vet
  • When to go
  • What to expect

Get recommendations

Finding a vet can be a very personal choice for a lot of people. That is why it is best to rely on the advice of those you know. Ask the organization you got your new pet from, a friend, or even people walking their dogs in your neighborhood.

Use online tools

If you are unable to get personal recommendations or prefer not to, don’t fret! Use our vet finder to locate one.


Choosing a vet is a deeply personal decision


  • Get vet recommendations
  • Ask shelters, friends and neighbors
  • Use our vet finder

Your first visit

Taking your pet to the vet should be done as soon as possible, especially if you have other pets in your house. The vet will help guide your pet’s vaccinations, protective treatments, diet, exercise, and more.3

Regular visits

You should schedule a checkup with your vet at least twice a year. As your pet ages, your vet may recommend more frequent checkups.3


Your vet will be your best guide


  • Visit your vet immediately
  • Schedule a checkup twice a year
  • Follow recommendation for additional checkups

What happens at a checkup?

Every checkup, your vet will ask if your pet has had any vomiting or diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, itching, or excessive thirst, in addition to asking about their energy and appetite. They will weigh your pet, check for ticks and fleas, take their temperature and perform a full physical exam. They may also call for other tests.3


A pet checkup is not so different from a human one


  • Your vet will ask questions
  • Your vet will perform a full exam
  • Your vet may call for additional exams

Questions to ask your vet

It is important to get the right information out of your vet on your first visit. Discover the questions you should ask and why they are so vital.


1Pets and Parasites. “Fleas.” http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/fleas. Accessed February 10, 2019.

2 Pets and Parasites. “Heartworms.” http://www.petsandparasites.org/dog-owners/heartworms. Accessed February 10, 2019.

3 Pets and Parasites. “Dogs Continue to be at an Elevated Risk of Heartworm Disease and Lyme Disease in 2018.” http://www.petsandparasites.org/expert-insights/dogs-continue-to-be-at-an-elevated-risk-ofheartworm- disease-and-lyme-disea. Accessed February 10, 2019.

4 Companion Animal Parasite Council. General Guidelines. Available at: https://capcvet.org/guidelines/general-guidelines. Accessed Feb 21, 2019.

5 RSPCA. “How to Take Care of Your Dog.” https://www.rspca.org.uk /ImageLocator/LocateAsset?asset=document&assetId=1232731755326 &mode=prd. Accessed February 10, 2019.