Although some owners might believe otherwise, you shouldn't only take your dog to the vet when they appear sick. Here, our Santa Clarita vets share how often you should take your dog to the vet and the benefits of routine wellness checkups.
Prevention & Early Detection
The key defense against the development of harmful disease in your pup is routine exams.
By bringing your dog to the vet regularly you are giving your veterinarian the chance to keep an eye on your dog's overall health, check for the earliest signs of diseases, and provide you with recommendations for the preventive products that will suit your pup best.
Our vets realize how the costs of taking your dog to the vet for checkups can worry you, especially when they appear to be healthy. However, taking a proactive and preventive approach to your furry friend's health can save you on the fees of more costly treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Dogs
Bringing your dog to the vet for a routine exam is similar to taking them for a physical checkup. 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.
Puppies Up to 12 Months Old
If your pup is younger than a year old we recommend taking them to the vet monthly.
During the first year of your dog's life, they are going to require several rounds of vaccinations to help protect them from common infectious diseases such as hepatitis, distemper, parainfluenza, corona, parvo, leptospirosis, and rabies. 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.
Our vets recommend having your canine companion spayed or neutered when they are between 14-16 weeks old to help prevent a variety 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.
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 generally considered geriatric or senior when they are roughly 8 years old, except for giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age faster than other breeds and will need more preventive care more frequently earlier, usually around 5 years of age.
A couple of diagnostic tests we recommend for senior dogs can include urinalysis and blood tests to check for early signs of issues such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Geriatric care for dogs also consists of a more proactive approach to keeping your pooch comfortable as age-related problems 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.