In order to provide your pet with a long and happy life you will need to give them more than a home and head pats. Your cat or dog will also need ongoing routine care. Our Thornton veterinarians talk about vet visits and how often you should bring your dog or cat in for a wellness exam.
Preventive care with Vet Checkups
By bringing your cat or dog to the vet for a routine pet checkup you are giving your vet the chance to spot any issues before they become concerning. They will also take this opportunity to administer vaccinations and parasite prevention to help keep your pet healthy.
We know the cost of bringing your dog or cat in for a vet checkup when they seem healthy can seem unnecessary, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.
Pet Wellness Exams - Dog & Cat Checkups
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine cat or dog wellness exam is like taking your furry friend in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your pet's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
While your adult cat or dog could benefit from annual pet checkups, puppies, kittens, geriatrics pets or those with health concerns may need to visit the vet more often.
Wellness Exams for Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
For cats and dogs that are less than a year old, a monthly pet checkup is recommended.
During your puppy or kitten's first year, they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases. Recommended vaccines for puppies include distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. Kittens should receive their FVRCP vaccine which helps to protect your feline friend against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
These vaccines will be given to your young friend over the course of about 16 weeks and will go a long way toward keeping your puppy or kitten healthy.
The schedule for these vaccinations may change depending on your pet's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters.
Pet Checkups for Adult Cats & Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between 1 - 7 years old, annual pet wellness exams are recommended. These examinations are annual physical vet checkups that are completed when your cat or dog isn;t showing any signs of health concerns.
During your adult dog or cat's wellness 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 veterinarian will also administer any required vaccines during this pet checkup, speak to you about your dog or cat's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If there are any concerns that come up during your cat or dog's wellness exam then your vet will discuss them with you before you leave.
Geriatric Dog & Cat Wellness Exams
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 starting around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered to be senior when they reach 11 years of age.
Since many animal diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior pet 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 dog or cat comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior pet, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for a routine exam.
What Questions You Should Ask Your Vet
Veterinary appointments are always easier for you and your pet when you are fully prepared, which includes having the questions you want to ask your vet ready to go. Having your veterinary questions ready allows you to get all the information you need to care for your cat or dog and keep them happy and healthy.
Below, the vets at our Thornton animal clinic explain some questions you should have ready to ask your vet and discuss why they are important:
Is my pet up to date with their shots?
Vaccines are a very important part of your cat or dog's preventative care. They have to be kept up to date to help protect them from a wide range of serious and often life-threatening illnesses and diseases. The vets at our Los Angeles vet clinic always do their best to inform you when your pet is due for their booster shots however, it can sometimes be overlooked so it's always best to ask.
Is my pet's behavior normal?
Pets do strange things that worry their owners, such as biting, wheezing, or itching. Always keep track of these behaviors and consult with your veterinarian if you suspect an underlying condition. You should also tell your veterinarian when these behaviors occurred so they can make an accurate diagnosis.
Is my pet's weight healthy?
It can be difficult to determine whether your pet is overweight or underweight. Pets of all breeds and ages must adhere to specific weight guidelines in order to live healthy lives. Even a few extra pounds over or underweight can put your pet at risk for a variety of health problems (some of which are life-threatening), making this a critical question. If your cat or dog is overweight, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a diet and exercise plan to help your pet lose weight.
Is there a specific flea or tick prevention product you recommend for my pet?
Fleas and ticks are bothersome for both pets and their owners, and they can spread serious diseases. With so many different products available, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you and your pet. Fortunately, your veterinarian will be able to recommend or prescribe a prevention product that will work best for your pet.
Can you explain my bill to me, please?
When your vet hands you the bill, please ask this question. To give you a better understanding of the services offered, your veterinarian will be able to break down the costs and explain what each fee represents. It can also help you plan your next visit.
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.