To give your beloved pup their best chance at a long and healthy life bring them to the vet regularly for routine wellness exams. Here, our Lafayette vets explain exactly how often you should be bringing your dog to the vet.
Early Diagnostics & Preventive Care
You can help your dog stay healthy longer by preventing serious diseases or finding them early.
Taking your dog to the vet regularly provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your pet's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our vets realize how you may be concerned about the costs of taking your dog to the vet when they appear to be healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you the fees of expensive treatments in the future.
Routine Wellness Exams - Dog Checkups
Bringing your dog to the vet for a routine exam is similar to taking them in for a physical. Similar to humans, how often your pooch should get a physical depends on their age, overall health, and lifestyle.
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 12 Months Old & Under
If your canine companion is less than a year old, monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
Throughout your dog's first year of life, they will need to get several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them safe against a range of common infectious diseases such as parvo, distemper, corona, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, and rabies. Your puppy will be given these vaccines over 16 weeks and they will go a long way in helping your pup stay healthy.
The precise timing of your young dog's vaccinations will differentiate based on where you live and your animal companion's overall health.
When your pooch is around 6-12 months of age, our vets recommend having them 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
Is your adult dog healthy and between the ages of 1-7 years old? We recommend bringing them to your vet's office once a year for a veterinary wellness exam.
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 vet uncovers any signs of arising health problems they will explain their findings to you and recommend your next steps.
When dogs reach 8 years of age they are generally considered geriatric, except for giant dogs. Breeds such as Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards, Great Danes, and Mastiffs typically age faster than other breeds and will need to start getting more frequent veterinary care sooner (generally at around 5 years of age).
Because lots of diseases and injuries become more common in elderly dogs we suggest bringing your senior pup to the vet every 6 months. Twice-annual wellness check-ups for your geriatric dog will consist of all of the checks and advice listed above, but with some additional diagnostic tests to gain extra insights into your canine companion'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, 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.