You adore your pooch and want to do all you can to help them live a happy, long life. Regular preventive veterinary care has an integral role to play here. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Baltimore vets explain.
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Detecting serious diseases in their earliest stages, or preventing them altogether, can help you pooch remain healthier, longer.
Bring your dog to the vet regularly offers your vet the opportunity to look after your pet's general health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer recommendations for the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our vets understand that you are concerned about the cost of taking your dog in for a checkup when they seem healthy. However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's care may save you the cost of expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Booking your dog's routine exam is similar to taking your pup in for a physical. Similar to people, how often your pet should come in for a physical depends on your dog's age, lifestyle and overall health.
While annual wellness exams are usually recommended for healthy adult dogs, puppies, senior dogs and dogs with underlying health issues benefit from seeing a veterinarian for an examination more often.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
Is your four-legged friend less than one year old? If so, monthly visits to your vet are in order.
Your pup will need several rounds of vaccinations during their first year to help protect them against common infectious diseases such as hepatitis, distemper, corona, rabies. leptopsirosis and parainfluenza. These vaccines will be administered to your puppy over 16 weeks and will contribute to keeping your pooch healthy.
The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
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.
Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age
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 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 veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.
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 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.