You want to help provide your pup with lifelong care and happiness and regular checkups can help you accomplish just that. Our Thornton vets discuss how often you should take your dog to the vet and what care to expect at each stage of their life.
The Importance of Preventive Care for Dogs
By bringing your dog in for annual veterinary care you can ensure that they receive the care they need to stay happy and healthy.
Your vet will use these checkups to provide your dog with preventive care including routine vaccinations, they will look for any signs of illness or disease and provide treatment options when needed.
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.
How Routine Wellness Exams Benefit Your Dog
Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical. Just like medical exams for you, how often your dog will need checkups will depend on their age and the condition fo their health.
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.
Veterinary Care For Puppies
For puppies under a year old, your vet will likely ask to see your pup once a month to monitor their growth and administer any preventive care needed.
During your pup'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 16 weeks and will go a long way toward keeping your puppy healthy.
Your vet will inform you of the vaccination schedule that is suitable for your puppy's specific needs.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch spayed or neutered to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.
Checkups For Adult Dogs
A dog is considered an adult when they are between the ages of 1 and 7 years. During this time they should undergo annual exams.
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 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 any potential issues are noted during the exam, your vet will inform you and discuss the next steps with you.
Wellness Exams For Geriatric Dogs
Generally, once a dog reaches 8 years of age, they will be considered a senior. The exception to this is large breed dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards which age faster and will reach their senior years around 5 years of age.
Once your dog is a senior, they will be more likely to experience various injuries and illnesses. This means that you will likely need to bring them in every 6 months or so for an examination. 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.