Bringing your dog in for an annual wellness exam allows your veterinarian to monitor their health, look for early signs of disease, and provide preventive treatments that can help protect your dog from potentially life-threatening conditions. Today, our Fairfield, NJ veterinarians discuss the advantages of preventive care for dogs.
Why should I bring my dog to the vet if they seem healthy?
Preventive care is concerned with keeping your dog in good health and providing the care they require to give them the best chance of living a long and healthy life. Preventive care for dogs begins with annual or twice-yearly wellness exams, depending on your dog's needs.
These regular exams are physical examinations for your dog.
By bringing your dog to the vet, even if they appear to be perfectly healthy, you allow your vet to monitor your dog's health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and provide preventive care such as vaccines and parasite prevention to keep your dog looking and feeling their best.
Catching health issues like parasites, ear infections, or gastrointestinal issues early, before obvious symptoms appear, means that treatment can begin early when it is most effective.
How often do I need to bring my dog in for preventive care?
Most dogs and cats should have a yearly routine wellness exam, according to our veterinarians. However, each dog is unique and has unique needs (especially as they age). As a result, the recommended frequency for your four-legged friend will vary depending on their age and medical history.
Puppies and kittens can be vulnerable to health conditions that adult dogs can easily resist. This also applies to senior or geriatric dogs. You should bring your puppy/kitten in for regular checkups to give them the best start in life (every month for puppies and kittens under a year old). It is recommended that geriatric dogs be examined twice a year, or more frequently if necessary.
What's involved in a routine wellness exam?
When you bring your fur baby into our Fairfield, NJ veterinary clinic for a checkup, our vets will review their medical history and ask you about any specific concerns you might have.
We may have asked you to bring in a sample of your dog's stool to perform a fecal exam in some cases. We'll take that sample and look for signs of common intestinal parasites that would be difficult to detect otherwise.
After these initial steps, your veterinarian will perform a physical checkup of your dog which will usually include any or all of the following:
- Listening to your dog's heart and lungs
- Checking your animal's weight, stance, and gait
- Checking your dog's eyes for signs of redness, cloudiness, eyelid issues, excessive tearing, or discharge
- Inspecting the dog's coat for overall condition, dandruff, or abnormal hair loss
- Looking at your dog's feet and nails for damage or signs of more serious health concerns
- Looking at your dog's ears for signs of bacterial infection, ear mites, wax build-up, or polyps
- Examining the condition of your dog's teeth for any indications of periodontal disease, damage, or decay
- Examining your dog's skin for a range of issues from dryness to parasites to lumps and bumps (particularly in skin folds)
- Palpate your dog's abdomen to access whether the internal organs appear to be normal and to check for signs of discomfort
- Feeling along your dog's body (palpating) for any signs of illness such as swelling, evidence of lameness such as limited range of motion, and signs of pain
All of these tests are designed to detect early warning signs of any health issues your dog may be experiencing. Because our dogs and cats cannot tell us when they are in pain, these tests and checks can help you determine how your pet is feeling in general.
What about getting my dog their shots?
Vaccines are intended to protect your dog from common, contagious, and potentially fatal diseases. The vaccines recommended for your dog will be determined by where you live and the lifestyle of your dog.
Core vaccines for dogs and cats are recommended for all dogs, whereas lifestyle vaccines are most often recommended for dogs that are regularly in contact with other animals. To learn more about the vaccines recommended for your dog check out our vaccine schedule.
Adult dogs will require booster shots regularly to maintain their disease resistance. Boosters are typically administered once a year or every three years. Your veterinarian will notify you when your dog's booster shots are due.
Does my dog need parasite prevention?
Parasites pose a serious health risk to Fairfield, NJ dogs. Ticks and mosquitos carry parasites that can infiltrate your dog's body and cause potentially fatal conditions; therefore, your veterinarian will advise you on how to keep parasites away from your four-legged friend. It's also worth noting that some of these parasites can be passed from dogs to their adoring owners!
Parasite prevention can help to protect your dog from conditions such as:
- Lyme Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Is preventive care expensive?
Compared to treating advanced forms of conditions, disorders, or diseases, (especially heartworm) regularly scheduled wellness exams will save you money.
Not only that, but they will ensure that your dog suffers as little discomfort or pain as possible as a result of any health issues. The earlier a medical problem is discovered, the sooner it can be diagnosed and treated.
Our vets understand that the idea of budgeting for annual healthcare for your dog can be daunting, that's why we offer wellness plans.
What are dog Wellness Plans?
Our Fairfield, NJ hospital offers dog Wellness Plans that include all of the preventive services your cat or dog requires to stay healthy, such as annual checkups, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and more. Then, to help you stay on budget, we offer a discounted rate and spread the annual cost over 12 months to help make your dog's regular veterinary care more affordable.
You get the benefit of saving money and your dog gets the benefit of regular preventive care! It's a win-win for you and your beloved dog!
We offer Dog Wellness Plans for small, medium, large, extra-large, and even giant breed dogs. Our Cat Wellness Plans are designed to keep both indoor and outdoor cats happy and healthy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding dogs. For an accurate diagnosis of your dog's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.