You love your dog and want to give them the best chance to enjoy a long, healthy and happy life. This is where regular preventive veterinary care can help. But, exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Carlsbad vets reveal the answer.
How often should I take my dog to the vet?
We can help your pup to stay healthier for longer by preventing serious diseases or detecting them in the very earliest stages.
Bringing your dog to the vet for their regularly scheduled routine exam gives your vet the chance to monitor your pet's overall health, identify the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and give recommendations on the best preventive care for your furry best friend.
Many a pet owner has likely searched online and asked friends, "How often should you take your dog to the vet?" or "When should I take my dog to the vet?" Our vets understand you're likely concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's healthcare can save you considerable expenses when it comes to treatments in the future.
Routine Exams - Checkups for Pets
Your dog's routine exam is much like the physical exam you get from your doctor. Similar to people, your dog's age, lifestyle and overall health will determine how often he or she should have a physical.
Annual exams are usually recommended for healthy adult dogs. However, puppies, dogs with underlying health conditions and senior dogs can benefit from more frequent examinations.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
If your canine companion is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your pup's first year they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over the course of 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 four-legged friend's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch spayed or neutered in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.
Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 - 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 next steps.
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically around 5 years of age.
Since many canine diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older dogs we recommend taking your senior dog to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior dog will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your pet comfortable as age-related issues 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.