You want to give your beloved dog the best chance at a long, happy life. Regular preventive veterinary care has an integral role to play in their long-term health. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Murfreesboro vets explain.
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious health issues and detecting diseases in their very earliest stages, can help your pooch to stay healthier for longer. Clients often call us up to ask, "How often should I take my dog to the vet?"
Taking your dog to the vet on a regular basis gives your vet the chance to monitor your pet's general health, check for early signs of disease (when conditions can most easily be treated), and offer recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our vets understand most pet owners have concerns about the cost of bringing their dogs in for checkups when they look perfectly healthy. That said, taking a preventive, proactive approach to your dog's care could save you paying for expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Think of bringing your dog into the vet for a routine exam as much like taking your pup in for a physical. Similar to people, the answer to the question of "How often should you take a dog to the vet for a physical checkup?" depends largely on your dog's overall health, age and lifestyle.
Annual wellness examinations are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but dogs with underlying health conditions, puppies and senior dogs benefit from more frequent checkups.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
We recommend monthly vet visits if your four-legged friend is less than one year old.
During your pup's first year they will need numerous rounds of vaccinations to help protect them against common infectious diseases such as corona, rabies, leptospirosis, parvo, hepatitis, distemper and parainfluenza. These vaccines will be administered over 16 weeks and will contribute to your puppy's continued health.
The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will differ depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch neutered or spayed 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, asking your vet how often you should bring your pet in for an examination will get that eternal question, "When should I take my dog to the vet?" finally answered based on your animal's specific circumstances.
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.