You love your pup and want to give them their best chance at a long and happy life, that's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Waxhaw vets explain...
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pooch to stay healthier longer.
Regular visits to the vet give your veterinarian the chance to check on your dog's general health, search for early disease symptoms (when conditions are most easily treated), and make recommendations for the best preventative products for your canine companion.
Our vets understand that you are 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 care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical. 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.
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 toward 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.
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 veterinarian will examine your pet from head to tail to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.
Your veterinarian will also give your dog any necessary vaccinations, discuss the diet and nutritional needs of your dog with you, suggest the best parasite protection, and go over any training or behavioral issues you may be observing.
If your veterinarian notices any signs of developing health problems, he or she will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.
Except for giant breeds, dogs are considered senior or geriatric when they reach the age of 8 years. Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age faster than other breeds and require more frequent preventive care at a younger age, usually around 5 years.
We advise taking your senior dog to the veterinarian every six months because many canine diseases and injuries tend to be more prevalent in older dogs. All of the checks and recommendations listed above will be included in your senior dog's twice-yearly wellness exams, along with a few additional diagnostic tests to give you more information about your pet's general 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.
Many veterinarians strive to make preventive care more affordable for their clients by offering wellness plans.
At Park Animal Hospital we offer wellness plans for dogs to help make your pup's routine annual care easier on your wallet. With our wellness plans, we bundle all the preventive services your pet needs to stay healthy including routine exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and more. And then we give you a monthly payment plan to help you save money and manage your budget.
Ask your vet about a wellness plan for your pup.
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.