You love your pup and want to give them their best chance at a long and happy life, that's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Fairfield, NJ vets explain...
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pooch to stay healthier longer.
Regular visits to the veterinarian allow your veterinarian to monitor your dog's overall health, look for early signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and make 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 the cost of 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 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.
When Should I Take My Dog to the Vet
You may be wondering how often you should take a dog to the vet. We've outlined a schedule for you below based on age.
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 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 towards keeping your puppy 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 - 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.
Additionally, your veterinarian will administer any necessary vaccinations, consult with you regarding your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may notice.
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 classified as senior or geriatric when they reach the age of about eight years, except for giant breeds. Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more rapidly than other breeds and require more frequent preventive care at an earlier age, typically around 5 years of age.
Because many canine diseases and injuries are more prevalent in senior dogs, we recommend that you take your senior dog to the veterinarian every six months. Twice-yearly wellness examinations for your senior dog will include all of the above, but will also include a few additional diagnostic tests to provide additional insight into your pet's overall health.
Blood tests and urinalysis are two diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients to check for early signs of kidney disease or diabetes.
Additionally, geriatric care for pets entails a more proactive approach to maintaining your pet's comfort as age-related issues such as joint pain become more prevalent. If you have an older dog, inquire with your veterinarian about how frequently you should bring your pet in for an examination.
Many veterinarians strive to make preventive care more affordable for their clients by offering Wellness Plans.
At All Creatures Great and Small Animal Hospital we offer Wellness Plans for dogs of all sizes to help make your pup's routine annual care easier on your wallet. 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.
Ask your vet about a Wellness Plan for your pup.
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.