If you have a dog, you will need to consider their ongoing veterinary care needs and what that means for you both. In this blog, our Springfield vets share how often you should take a dog to the vet for routine exams and preventive care, and why this is important.
How often should I take my dog to the vet?
When it comes to caring for your pup and providing lifelong health and happiness, early diagnosis and intervention are best. When answering 'How often should you take your dog to the vet', you should consider different reasons for the visit, as well as your location, and the age and health of your furry friend.
By bringing your dog to the vet regularly you are giving your veterinarian the chance to keep an eye on your dog's overall health, check for the earliest signs of diseases, and provide you with recommendations for the preventive products that will suit your pup best.
While we are aware that spending the money on a full checkup when your dog seems perfectly healthy can appear pointless, it is quite beneficial in the long run. Taking a proactive and preventive approach to your furry friend's health can save you on the fees of more costly treatments in the future. It can also prevent the need for more intensive veterinary care and services such as internal medicine performed by veterinary specialists and emergency care.
Routine Wellness Exams & Preventive Care
When you bring your dog in for a routine wellness exam you can expect it to be quite like an annual checkup for you. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your dog's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
Annual wellness exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations.
How often should I take my puppy to the vet?
If you have a new puppy we highly recommend bringing them to your primary vet every month for a checkup and preventive care.
During the first year of your dog's life, they are going to require several rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases such as hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza, corona, parvo, leptospirosis, and rabies. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over 16 weeks and will go a long way towards keeping your puppy healthy.
The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
Our vets recommend having your canine companion spayed or neutered when they are between 14 to 16 weeks old to help prevent a variety of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.
How often should I take my adult dog to the vet?
If you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 and 7 years old, yearly wellness exams are recommended.
During your adult dog's exam, your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination of your pet to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.
Your vet will also administer any required vaccines, speak to you about your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.
When should I take my senior dog to the vet?
Dogs are generally considered geriatric or senior when they are roughly 8 years old, except for giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age faster than other breeds and will need more preventive care more frequently earlier, usually around 5 years of age.
Because lots of canine injuries and diseases are typically more common in elderly dogs we suggest bringing your senior pooch to the vet every 6 months. Twice-annual wellness checkups for your senior dog will consist of all the checks and advice listed above, although there will be a few added diagnostic tests to obtain additional insights into the overall health of your pooch.
A couple of diagnostic tests we recommend for senior dogs can include urinalysis and blood tests to check for early signs of issues such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Geriatric care for dogs also consists of a more proactive approach to keeping your pooch comfortable as age-related problems such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior dog, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for an examination.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.