Visiting the Veterinarian
If possible, your next stop should be the veterinary clinic. It's a good idea to make sure your new dog has a clean bill of health before you become so attached to him that you can't give him up. At the very least, schedule a health check within forty-eight hours of acquiring the dog.
This first visit to the veterinarian should be a friendly one. Ask for a physical exam only. This allows your puppy to gain a positive first impression of the veterinarian, staff, and clinic as a whole. Praise and a treat will reinforce his conception of the vet clinic as a good place to go. Save painful vaccinations for another trip.
Starting a Medical History
On this first visit, be prepared to complete a form detailing your Lab's age, sex, color, and so on. The veterinarian will fill in the dog's weight and other notes on his condition. This information will become the foundation of your Lab's medical history. Don't forget to add the vaccination and deworming records from the breeder to the dog's new file.
Other information that will help the veterinarian evaluate your dog includes where you acquired it (from a breeder or from a shelter, for instance). Knowing where the dog came from can help the veterinarian determine what types of things to look for.
What the Exam Will Cover
The first physical exam will involve listening to the dog's heart and lungs with a stethoscope to check for early heart disease. The vet will also examine such things as eye condition (no signs of disease or infection) and range of motion in the limbs (which might suggest loose hips, for example). A stool sample, if the dog is obliging enough, allows the vet to check for parasite infestation.