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How Often Do You Take a Dog to the Vet?

You aim to give your dog the optimal opportunity for a healthy and extended life. This is where routine preventative veterinary care plays a crucial role. In Hohenwald, our vets will go over when you should take your dog to the vet, how many times a month visits are necessary, and the implications of neglecting veterinary care.

Preventive Care & Early Detection

Bringing your dog to the vet regularly allows the vet to monitor your pet's overall health, spot signs of illness early (when it's easier to treat), and offer guidance on preventive products for your furry friend. Vets understand that you may worry about the cost of check-ups when your dog seems healthy. However, taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's care could help lower the need for expensive treatments in the future.

Routine Wellness Exams - Check-ups for Pets

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is similar to taking your dog for a physical check-up. Like with people, how often your pet should have a physical exam depends on your dog's lifestyle, overall health, and age.

Yearly wellness exams are usually recommended for healthy adult dogs. However, puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions may benefit from more frequent examinations.

Puppies Up to 12 Months Old

If you have a dog less than a year old, you must schedule monthly visits to your veterinarian. During your puppy's first year, they will need several rounds of vaccinations to protect them against common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, rabies, and leptospirosis. These vaccinations will be administered over 16 weeks and are crucial for your puppy's health.

The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will depend on your location and its overall health. Between 6 and 12 months of age, our veterinarians recommend spaying or neutering your dog to prevent various diseases, undesirable behaviors, and the birth of unwanted puppies.

Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age

Yearly routine exams are recommended if you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 and 7 years old.

During your adult dog's exam, your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.

Your vet will administer any required vaccines. During this time, your vet will speak to you about the following:

  • Your dog's diet and nutritional requirements
  • Recommended parasite protection
  • Any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing

If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues, they will discuss their findings with you and recommend further steps.

Senior Dogs

Dogs are typically categorized as senior or geriatric when they reach approximately eight years of age, except for larger breeds like Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards. These larger breeds tend to age more rapidly than others, necessitating more frequent preventive care, typically commencing around five years of age.

We recommend taking your senior dog to the vet every six months. Twice a year, 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 look for issues that are more likely in older dogs and 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 pet care also involves a proactive approach to maintaining your pet's comfort as age-related problems like joint pain become more prevalent. If you have a senior dog, consult your veterinarian to determine the optimal frequency for bringing your pet in for an examination.

How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?

The frequency of vet visits depends on your dog's age, health, and specific needs. While puppies and seniors require more frequent visits, adult dogs in good health typically need annual check-ups. However, more frequent visits may be necessary if your dog has a chronic condition or other health issues. Generally, a healthy adult dog should see the vet at least once a year. However, dogs with health problems may need to visit the vet more often, sometimes as frequently as every month.

Is It Bad to Not Take Your Dog to the Vet?

Neglecting regular veterinary care can have serious consequences for your dog's health. Here are some reasons why it’s vital to maintain routine vet visits:

  • Preventive Care: Regular vet visits allow for early detection and prevention of diseases. Vaccinations, parasite control, and routine screenings can prevent serious health issues.
  • Early Detection of Health Problems: Many health problems can be treated more effectively if caught early. Regular check-ups help identify issues before they become severe.
  • Maintaining Health Records: Consistent vet visits ensure that your dog's health records are up-to-date, which is important for tracking vaccinations, weight, and other health metrics.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your dog is healthy and receiving the necessary care provides peace of mind for you as an owner.

By adhering to a consistent schedule of vet visits, you can ensure that your dog remains healthy and happy throughout their life. Remember, how often you should take your dog to the vet depends on their age, health status, and specific needs, but a general guideline is at least once a year for healthy adult dogs and more frequently for puppies, senior dogs, or those with health issues.

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.

Is your dog overdue for a check-up? Contact the vets at Hohenwald Animal Hospital to book an appointment for your canine companion.

New Patients Welcome

Hohenwald Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Hohenwald companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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