You love your dog and want them to have the best chance at a healthy, happy and long life. Regular veterinary care can help make this happen. But what exactly is the answer to the question, "How often should you take your dog to the vet?" Our Riverbank vets explain.
How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?
Preventing serious diseases, or catching them in their earliest stages, can help your canine friend stay healthier longer.
Bringing your dog in for a vet checkup on a regular basis offers your veterinarian the opportunity to check in on your pet's general health, detect the earliest signs of disease (when health issues are most easily treated), and provide recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
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 may save you the cost of expensive treatments in the future.
The exact answer to the question, "How often should you take your dog to the vet?" will depend on a few specific factors we'll discuss in this post.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your dog to the veterinarian for a routine exam is similar to taking your pooch in for a physical. Just like with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends on your dog's lifestyle, age and overall health.
We'll typically recommend annual wellness examinations for healthy adult dogs. However, puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with underlying health issues benefit from more frequent exams.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
Is your four-legged companion less than a year old? Your veterinarian will likely recommend monthly visits.
During your pooch's first year, they'll require several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases such as corona, rabies, leptospirosis, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvo. These vaccines will be administered over the course of 16 weeks and go a long way towards ensuring your puppy stays healthy.
Your puppy's overall health and your location will determine the exact timing of vaccinations for your young dog. For pups between 6 and 12 months, our vets recommend having them spayed or neutered to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors, in addition to unwanted puppies.
Adult Dogs Up to 7 Years of Age
If your healthy, active adult dog is between 1 and 7 years old, your veterinarian will probably recommend yearly wellness exams.
During this checkup, the vet will perform a head-to-tail examination for your pet to check for early signs of illness or other issues such as joint pain, parasites or tooth decay.
Your veterinarian will also administer any required vaccines, discuss your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, talk to you about any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing, and recommend appropriate parasite protection.
If your vet spots any signs of developing health issues, they'll 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.
Owners of senior pooches should know that the answer to, "When and how often should I take my dog to the vet?" will change when they grow older and become more at risk for developing age-related health problems.
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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.