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Dog Word of the Day: Fully Vetted

If you ever took a look at ads for puppies for sale or for adoption by a breeder, rescue group or shelter, you may have stumbled upon the term "fully vetted." What exactly though does it mean for a puppy or dog to be fully vetted? It's always important to conduct a lot of research before opening your heart and home to a new puppy or dog. Will the puppy or dog be a good fit for your home? How will his temperament be? On top of these, important questions, one another important aspects to look at is health so to not end up owning sickly puppies who will only cause hefty veterinary bills and heartbreaks. Knowing whether a puppy or dog is fully vetted is therefore important, but it's also important to understand what the breeder or rescue group exactly means by that term as it's seems to be prone to personal interpretation.


Definition of "Fully Vetted"

According to The Free Dictionary, the term "vetted" means "to subject to veterinaryevaluation,examination,medication, or surgery." As one may imagine, the term derives from "vet" referring to veterinarian.

If we look at the history of the word, Wikipedia tells us that the verb "to vet" was originally a term used in horse racing and was used to depict the practice of subjecting a race horse to a thorough veterinary exam before being allowed to race.

The term has therefore assumed the general meaning "to check over." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest usage of this term dates back to 1891, eg. "He vetted the stallion before the race."

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The addition of the word "fully" therefore adds further emphasis to the term, giving the idea that the animal is checked over with thoroughly with quite an amount of scrutiny for any flaws.

What Does a "Fully Vetted" Dog Mean?

When it comes to dogs, the term "fully vetted" is often a loose term that is subject to personal interpretation. It could refer to a dog being merely checked over by a vet, to a dog who has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, heartworm tested, microchipped, and possibly even dewormed.


This is why it is very important to ask the breeder or rescue what they exactly mean when they use the term "fully vetted."

Words are just words, and one must also require facts such as proof of vaccinations, with dates and types of booster shots given along with other important health records. The breeder or rescue should be willing to provide copies of all these records.

Perspective puppy and dog owners must consider that these veterinary services alone could easily amount to costing anywhere between $300-$1,000, so when paying the nominal adoption fee one must keep into consideration the money saved when getting a fully vetted puppy or dog.

dog pain goes away at the vet

A Closer Insight 

For new puppy or dog owners it may be overwhelming understanding what is included when a puppy or dog is claimed to be "fully vetted." Here is a brief overview of some services that "may be" included when a puppy or dog is claimed to be "fully vetted." Obviously, not all of these services are necessarily included so when in doubt it's best to ask.

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  • Spayed: a female dog that is altered so that she doesn't go into heat and have puppies.
  • Neutered: a male dog that is altered so that he is no longer capable of impregnating female dogs.
  • Booster shots: a series of vaccinations given to puppies generally starting at the age of 6 to 8 weeks and given about every three to four weeks until the puppy is about 16 to 20 weeks old. In puppies older than 16 weeks, usually two doses of vaccine are given 3-4 weeks apart. In adult dogs who have received their booster shots as puppies, they may be vaccinated annually or every 3 years, depending on local veterinary recommendations. Required shots tend to vary based on location and risks. Consult with your vet on which vaccines are needed for your new puppy or dog.
  • Core vaccines: vaccines recommended for all puppies and dogs with an unknown vaccination history. Core vaccines in dogs protect from diseases with high risks for morbidity and mortality. Generally, core vaccinations consist of distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and rabies shot. The rabies shot is required by law in many States and is generally given after the puppy is 16 weeks of age.
  • Non-core vaccinations:optional vaccines based on individual factors such as exposure risk, geographic location and the dog's lifestyle.
  • DHPP, DHPPVor DHLP-PVC an abbreviation used to denote a combo shot. The capital letters stand for different types of vaccines included,usually as follows: D stands for distemper, H stands for hepatitis, L stands for leptospirosis, P stands for parainfluenza, PV stands for parvo, C stands for coronavirus. This combo shot for dogs is also known as 5 in 1 shot or 8 in 1 shot depending on how many vaccines are included.
  • Microchipped: the puppy or dog has a microchip implanted under the skin for identification purposes. Puppy and dog owners should have the microchip registered under their name with an up-to-date address and phone number, so that, in the case the puppy or dog is lost, he can be promptly returned to his owners.
  • Fecal Flotation Test: the puppy's or dog's feces were tested for the presence of parasites.
  • Dewormed: the puppy or dog was given a medication against parasites.
  • Heartworm tested: the puppy or dog was tested for heartworm disease. Usually, veterinarians will start testing for heartworms when puppies are around 6-7 months of age.
  • Flea/tick preventive: the puppy or dog was given products to keep fleas and ticks at bay.

Fully Vetted Doesn't Necessarily Mean Healthy!

As much as the term "fully vetted" seems to suggest receiving a healthy dog, it's often recommended to take a new puppy or dog along with all paperwork received to see the vet within 48 hours so to have a complete physical examination done. Many things can have changed since the puppy or dog saw the vet last time.

At this exam, the vet will be checking the puppy's ears, mouth, nose and other things such as taking the temperature, listening to the heart etc.

The vet will go over the records to see if the puppy or dog may need any further vaccinations or de-worming done.

Bringing in a small fecal sample may turn helpful so to test for the presence of parasites. In older dogs, blood work may turn helpful to get a better insight on the dog's general state of health.

"A veterinarian should give new puppies a thorough physical examination; ideally within 48 hours of you acquiring your new puppy, to ensure he is healthy."~Green Hills Veterinary Clinic 

Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Consult with your vet for proper preventive care and treatment.


  • Green Hills Veterinary Clinic: Your Puppy's First Vaccinations, retrieved from the web on November 8th, 2016

Photo Credits:

  • A vet examines a dog in New York, Archivist1174 – Own work, Photo of New York State Assemblyman Dr. Stephen M. “Steve” Katz at the Bronx Veterinary Center.CC BY-SA 3.0

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