Taking your dog to the vet for preventive veterinary care is one of the best things you can do to help your dog live a long and happy life. Today, our Bellevue vets explain how often you should bring your dog to the vet.
Preventive Care & Early Diagnosis
Preventing serious diseases, or finding them early when they are in their earliest stages can help your pup stay healthier longer.
Bringing your dog to the vet on a routine basis allows your vet to monitor your pet's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions can be treated more easily), and offer recommendations on the best preventive 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 for Dogs
Taking your dog to the vet for routine exams is like bringing your pup to the doctor 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 should attend examinations more frequently.
Puppies Under 1 Year Old
If your furry friend is less than a year old, monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your pup's first year, they are going to require several rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over 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.
Our vets recommend having your puppy spayed or neutered when they are between 6 and 12 months old, to help prevent a host of diseases, undesirable behaviors, and unwanted puppies.
Adult Dogs 1 to 7 Years Old
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 problems, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.
Your vet will also administer any required vaccines, talk to you about your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral problems you may be noticing.
If your veterinarian finds any signs of developing health issues your vet will explain to you their findings and recommend the next steps.
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are around 8 years old. However, giant dog breeds 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.