Don’t you wish that your new puppy or kitten came with an instruction manual? Well, here it is! Continue reading for a complete list of medical care that needs to be provided for your new pet.

Establish a relationship with your veterinarian

Chances are that you have a family doctor. It is important for your pet to establish a relationship with his or her veterinarian as soon as possible. Making a “get-to-know-you” appointment in the first few days that your pet is home will not only allow your veterinarian to meet your new pet, but it will also provide an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Most pets need to be seen for a wellness exam at least once a year.

Update vaccinations

Bring a record of any previous vaccinations to your appointment. This will allow your veterinarian to review what vaccines your new pet has received, what he or she is due for, and what additional vaccinations may be recommended.

Start a parasite prevention program

You may be asked to bring a stool sample to your appointment in order to screen for intestinal parasites. Routine intestinal parasite prevention is recommended for all pets. Other parasites such as heartworms, fleas, ticks, and ear mites are a concern as well. There are many options for preventing infection with these. Your veterinarian will counsel you as to the best option(s) for your new pet.

Choose a diet

It can be difficult to choose a bag from amongst the many different types of food at the pet store. Take into account your new pet’s age, size, and any medical needs. During your initial veterinarian visit, be sure to ask if one diet might be better than another for your dog or cat. Always remember to make any diet changes gradually over the course of a week or more.

Consider spaying or neutering if appropriate

If your pet has not already been “fixed”, ask your veterinarian about doing so. Spaying and neutering both provide numerous health benefits and can prevent the development of some behavioral problems as well.