You want to give your dog their best chance at a long and happy life, that's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. Our Central Illinois vets explain how often should you take your dog to the vet.
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Taking your dog to the vet regularly provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your pet's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer 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 could save you from 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 dog 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 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, 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 dog's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your dog 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 - 7 years old, yearly routine 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 administer any required vaccines. During this time your vet will speak to you about:
- Your dog's diet and nutritional requirements
- Recommended parasite protection
- Any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing
If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend further steps to take.
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.
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 look for issues that are more likely in older dogs, and 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.