How often should I take my dog to the vet? The answer may surprise you.
Like people, our furry friends need to go to the doctor for regular check-ups.
It is generally recommended that puppies have their first visit to the vet within 6-8 weeks of adoption, but what about when they get older, does it stay the same?
How Often to take your dog at the vet?
For puppies, frequent veterinary visits are essential to ensure their proper development and receive necessary vaccinations. The recommended schedule for puppy visits is as follows:
8-10 weeks old: Initial checkup, first set of vaccinations, and parasite screening
12-14 weeks old: Second set of vaccinations and parasite screening
16-18 weeks old: Third set of vaccinations and parasite screening
20 weeks old: Rabies vaccination (recommended for puppies over 12 weeks old in some areas)
Adult Dog Visits
Once your puppy reaches adulthood, typically around one year of age, the frequency of veterinary visits can be reduced. However, regular checkups are still important for adult dogs. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends that healthy adult dogs should visit the veterinarian at least once a year.
Senior Dog Visits
As dogs age, their veterinary needs may increase. Senior dogs, typically those over seven years old, should visit the veterinarian at least twice a year for more comprehensive checkups. These visits may include additional tests, such as bloodwork and urinalysis, to monitor for potential health problems that may arise with age.
Annual Wellness Exam/ Checkup
Even though your dog looks and behaves like they are in good physical condition, a regular vet visit is a must. While it depends on how often you should bring your dog to the vet, it will depend on your dog’s age, health, and previous health problems (its overall lifestyle, basically); a visit to the vet nonetheless is required.
An annual wellness exam in dogs is a comprehensive physical examination performed by a veterinarian. This exam allows the vet to check your dog’s overall health, identify any potential problems, and provide recommendations for preventive care.
Why is an annual wellness exam important, you might ask?
An annual wellness exam is important for your dog because it allows the vet to catch any potential health problems early, as early detection and treatment of health problems can improve your dog’s life.
What Happens During an Annual Wellness Exam?
During an annual wellness exam, the vet will physically examine your dog. This will include checking their weight, temperature, heart rate, and breathing. The vet will also check for signs of illness or injury, such as lumps, bumps, sores, or bruises. They will also look at their coat and skin for signs of problems.
After the physical examination, the vet will discuss any concerns with you and recommend preventive care. This may include vaccinations, routine blood work, and parasite prevention. The vet may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as switching to a healthier diet or exercising more.
In-Home Vaccination and Exams
As a pet parent, you want what’s best for your furry friend. That includes ensuring they’re up to date on their vaccinations and have regular check-ups.
But even if you cannot find the time to take the pet to the vet every time they need an exam or vaccination, you can have a vet. Don’t mind, it’s easier, but it’s also more affordable than bringing your pet to the vet clinic. That’s why in-home veterinary services offer your dogs convenient, in-home vaccination and examination services.
This should become a regular practice, though, as vets will need more resources to conduct a thorough examination as they would in the clinic.
Birth One Year: Vaccination and More
We all know that the moment you get a puppy, your whole life changes for the better. But puppies are not just for playing around or cuddling; they come with a serious responsibility. They require proper care just as we do, if not more.
So, once a puppy enters your world, you’ll become acquainted with veterinarians, and they’ll be a part of your monthly routine for a time.
Your puppy will need vaccinations from around six to eight weeks old. These are called “core” vaccines and protect against some of the most serious diseases affecting dogs.
Your puppy will need booster shots of these vaccines every three to four weeks until they’re around 16 weeks old.
Your vet will give your puppy the first round of core vaccines, which includes:
- First DHLPP shot (combined vaccine for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvo, and corona): 6–8 weeks
- Second DHLPPC shot: 10–12 weeks
- Rabies vaccine: 12–24 weeks
- Third DHLPP shot: 14–16 weeks
After that, they’ll need annual boosters to protect them against these diseases.
In addition to vaccinations, your puppy must be dewormed at around two to three weeks old. Your vet will prescribe a dewormer, and you’ll need to give it to your puppy as directed.
When they’re around six to nine months old, puppies can get spayed or neutered. This is an elective surgical procedure to remove their reproductive organs and prevent unwanted pregnancies and health problems.
As your puppy grows into adulthood, they’ll still need to see the vet at least once a year for an annual exam and vaccinations. But if they have any health problems, they may need to see the vet more often.
One Year- Several Years: Vaccination and More
Once your dog has received all its puppy vaccines, an annual vet checkup for a thorough examination and getting their DHPP and rabies booster shots must be in order. In a situation when your dog goes to puppy daycare, they should get a kennel cough vaccine.
On the other hand, despite these mandatory vaccines, your dog might need an extra vaccine depending on your geolocation.
As your dog becomes an adult, he needs to have some blood tests drawn out, heartworm tests, and dental exams, among many other things.
Unfortunately, during these few years, your dog may develop many infections that can threaten its life if left untreated. So, without any doubt, an annual regular vet visit is a must to prevent an infection from spreading, if there is one, of course.
Vet checkups pose the opportunity for a thorough dental exam because a tooth’s bacteria and infection can spread to other organs, and nobody wants that, right?
If untreated tartar continues to build up, it leads to the infection, also known as gingivitis, which, if not considered, could lead to tooth decay. And no, flossing them or giving them dental sticks won’t do the trick.
Try visiting your vet for proper dental care. Fortunately, a vet will do everything to keep your dog healthy, meaning that with a simple professional dental cleaning procedure, your dog will have clean, bright, white teeth again.
During the visits, you might be asked about the dog’s daily routine, habits, and diet, so the vet can clearly see how well-behaved your dog is.
So, a once-a-year checkup is acceptable if your dog is in good condition. There’s no need to stress him over.
Eight Plus Years: Vaccination and More
Sadly, our dogs get older, and as they age, they require more regular vet checkups. And with older age, they are prone to more life-threatening diseases and injuries.
So, taking them to the vet twice a year seems completely reasonable.
During the visit, the vet will do their head-to-tail examination and draw some additional blood tests to check for some common diseases that come with older age, including diabetes and thyroid disease.
But also, they exhibit some behavior that needs an extra checkup. Often dog owners are worried if their older dog acts differently at times. For instance, they may be drinking more water, peeing more, or other unusual changes, meaning they exhibit some behavior that needs an extra checkup.
Even though we know that regular pet visits can be costly, bringing your dog as required is better so you won’t spend more money on medications and additional vet checks.
After eight years of life, they will require even more regular checkups. But it’s the least you can do. They’ve spent their whole life being devoted to you– now it’s time to return the favor and keep them a bit longer in your life, starting with those regular vet checkups.
With regular checkups, you can catch the disease at its early stage and prevent it from spreading.
When to Go to Vet Immediately
Ideally, going to the vet would be once or twice a year tops (the moment they become seniors).
However, dogs cannot tell us when they’ve been hurting, which makes it difficult to understand when to seek veterinary help. Therefore, paying attention to some of the most common symptoms requires visiting a vet:
- Loss of consciousness
- Signs of poisoning
- Drop or rise in body temperature
- Uncoordinated movements
- Constant vomiting and diarrhea for 24 hours or, worst-case scenario, vomiting blood
- Sudden loss of appetite
- A visible injury
If any symptoms persist, it’s important to bring your furry best friend to the vet clinic immediately.
Regardless of the situation, try and stay as calm as possible, as your dog might sense your fear, and it will make them restless or even more stressed than they already are.
Ultimately, it’s up to you; after all, you know your puppy the best. But even if you feel like taking them to the vet for a sudden behavior change, do it. They are medical professionals and will do everything they can to help you diagnose the problem or assure you that there is nothing wrong with your dog’s health.
Caring for a dog is a big responsibility; sometimes, it might seem too much. But if you’re determined to get a furry friend, then you should be aware of the consequences that come along with it.
The first and most important thing you should do is take them to the vet regularly– at least once or twice a year. This will ensure that they are healthy and don’t have any underlying health problems.
Of course, some sudden changes in their behavior might require an immediate vet visit. But overall, if you stick to the yearly routine, you should be fine.
Their only fault is that their lives are way shorter than ours. So, the only thing you could do to have them longer by your side is to take them to their regular vet visits and stick to their daily routine.
How Often Should a Healthy Dog Visit the Vet?
A healthy dog should visit the vet once or twice a year (once they are more than eight years of age). However, sudden behavior changes might require an immediate vet visit.
Do Dogs Need to Go to the Vet?
Yes, dogs need to go to the vet regularly in order to stay healthy and catch any underlying health problems early on.
Is It Bad to Take a Dog to a Vet in a Cage?
No, taking a dog to the vet in a cage is not bad. However, try and stay as calm as possible so your dog doesn’t sense your fear and becomes more stressed out.