Taking your dog to the vet for regular checkups and preventive care can provide your four-legged friend with their best shot at living a long and healthy life, but how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Cordova vets share their recommendations.
Why does my dog need regular checkups?
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your animal companion to stay healthier longer.
Taking your dog to the vet on a regular basis for routine checkups provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your dog's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention medications.
At Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital, our team of experienced veterinarians understands that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem perfectly healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's health care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.
Not only that, but many veterinary clinics offer Pet Wellness Plans to help make checkups, vaccines and parasite prevention for dogs and cats more affordable.
How often should I take my dog to the vet?
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 pup is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your puppy'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 pup's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your puppy spayed or neutered in order to prevent a range of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.
Adult Dogs Between 1 - 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog between the ages of 1 - 7 years, yearly vet checkups are recommended.
During your adult dog's checkup, 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 vet detects any signs of developing health issues they will discuss their findings with you and recommend next steps.
Senior Dogs Over 7 Years of Age (Or Large Breeds Over 5)
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 diseases seen in dogs and injuries tend to be more common in older pets 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.
How can a Pet Wellness Plan make my dog's vet visits more affordable?
At Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital we offer Wellness Plans for dogs (and cats) of all sizes to help make your pup's annual preventive care easier to afford. 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.
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.
Is it time for your dog's checkup? Our Cordova vets are here to help. Contact Germantown Parkway Animal Hospital today to book a routine examination for your canine companion.
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