You want to do everything possible to give your dog the best chance at a long, healthy and happy life. Regular preventive veterinary care plays an important role in this. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Sacramento vets offer some answers in this post.
Preventive Care & Early Detection
As a dog owner, one of the best things you can do for your pup's health is to prevent serious diseases or have them detected in their very earliest stages. Early detection of illness can help your canine companion stay healthier, longer.
One of the most common questions our vets at South Sacramento Pet Hospital receive from clients is, "How often should you take your dog to the vet?"
Booking regular vet checkups for your dog offers your vet the chance to monitor your pet's overall health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated) and provide recommendations on appropriate preventive products for your dog.
Our vets understand that you're likely concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem healthy. That said, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pooch's care may save you the cost of more expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams — Checkups for Pets
Bringing your dog to the vet for a routine exam is similar to taking your pup in for a physical. Just like with humans, how often your pet should have a physical depends on your dog's overall health, age and lifestyle.
While healthy adult dogs should typically have a yearly wellness exam, puppies, senior dogs and dogs with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
Is your puppy less than a year old? They should visit your vet on a monthly basis.
During your pooch's first year, they'll need several rounds of vaccinations to ensure they are protected against common infectious diseases such as hepatitis, corona, distemper, leptospirosis, rabies, parvo and parainfluenza. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over 16 weeks and will go a long way to helping your pet stay healthy.
The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will vary depending on where you live and your four-legged friends general health status.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch spayed or neutered 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 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.
It's not uncommon for mature adult dogs to need veterinary care for developing health issues, or emergency medical care for incidents even the most doting pet owner doesn't anticipate. As for the answer to, "When should I take my dog to the vet?", any time you notice concerning symptoms or have questions about your dog's care or behavior, never hesitate to get in touch with our Sacramento vets.
If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend the 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 your pet is getting a little gray around the muzzle, the answer to, "How often should you take a dog to the vet?" may depend on whether your pooch is experiencing any issues related to their old age. 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.