Whether the litter was planned or happened by accident, your new litter of puppies deserves the best care, and that includes veterinary care. While puppies don't need their first round of shots until six weeks or so after birth, taking the entire litter to the vet as newborns could have several advantages.

Here are some of the reasons why you should take your newborn puppies to the veterinarian early on.

1. Check for common newborn health problems

Unless you're an experienced dog breeder, you probably don't know all the aspects of caring for newborn canines. Your vet can look over the puppies, keeping a sharp eye out for any warning signs of health problems.

Some of the common types of health problems your vet could check for include hypothermia, digestive problems, infections, and congenital disorders. Newborn puppies are very delicate creatures, so any health problems may need to be treated immediately in order to save the puppy's life.

2. Discuss tail docking and dewclaw removal

Some breeds of dogs typically have their tails docked and their dewclaws removed just a few days after birth, which may be required if they're ever going to have a future in the show ring (depending on the breed standard). However, this is an elective surgery most of the time, as opposed to medically necessary, and can be quite controversial.

To spare the puppies from unnecessary pain, you can choose not to have these procedures performed and simply find pet homes for the puppies instead of show careers. Talk to your vet about what options you have, and keep in mind that in some cases, dewclaw removal could be useful or preventive rather than simply cosmetic. For example, working dogs who spend a lot of time running through brush could be at a higher risk of injuries if their dewclaws aren't removed. 

3. Get advice about newborn puppy care

Your vet has experience with all types of animals and can help answer any questions you have about caring for your newborn puppies. They can also give you advice for ensuring that each puppy gets enough milk, protecting puppies from any hazards, puppy-proofing your home, and even how to safely rehome puppies once they're old enough.

As you can see, you don't have to wait until puppies are old enough for their first shots to bring them to the vet. Your veterinarian may need to treat them for common puppy ailments and can give you advice about puppy care and whether or not you need to consider procedures such as dewclaw removal.