Here are a few tips to make your puppy's first trip to the vet less stressful.
Before the visit:
I would start by making sure your puppy is well rested. If the appointment happens to be when you puppy is typically taking a nap, I would restructure his morning that day so that he gets his nap in earlier and is well rested when you head out the door. Personally, I don't like to tackle new projects when I'm low on sleep, so let's make sure your puppy is well rested before the appointment.
Pack a baggie of high reward treats to bring along. I always keep a baggie of their kibble in my purse for quick treats, but for this particular outing, you'll want to bring along a high reward treat – possibly some meat, cheese, or hot dog, diced into very small pieces. Keep the pieces small since you'll use quite a few!
While at the vet's office:
It is estimated that dogs' noses are over 1,000 times more sensitive than humans' noses. The smells at the vet's office can be overwhelming enough, then you add in the extra body handling by a “stranger”! We really want to do the best we can to try to create a positive emotional response during this visit. It is very important to offer high reward treats while you sit in the waiting room, when your puppy is on the scale, while your vet is examining your puppy, and most definitely while your pet is being given a vaccine. When our vet is giving the puppies their litter exam and first vaccine before going to their forever homes, I treat them through the entire process, to begin making that positive emotional response. You can continue that same conditioning when you take him to the vet.
After the visit:
Some vets allow you bring your puppy in randomly with no charge to get a treat and a quick weight. If your vet allows that, consider penciling in some of these quick trips on your calendar. Again, bring treats. These quick positive trips while they are young will pay big dividends the rest of their lives. Just a warning - before they are fully vaccinated, be sure to carry them in/through the facility, not letting their paws touch the ground