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How Often Do You Take a Dog to the Vet?

You love your pup and want to give it the best chance at a long and happy life. That's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. But exactly how often should you take your dog to the vet? Our Lancaster vets explain.

How often do you take a dog to the vet? 

The frequency of vet visits for a dog can vary based on several factors, including the dog's age, health status, and any specific health concerns. However, as a general guideline:

Puppies Up to 12 Months Old

We recommend taking puppies under one year old to the vet every month. During their first year, puppies require multiple vaccinations to protect against common infectious diseases like distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis.

These vaccinations will be given to your puppy over a period of 16 weeks, and they will significantly contribute to keeping your puppy healthy. The precise timing of your puppy's vaccinations will depend on where you live and your puppy's overall health. Between the ages of 6 to 12 months, veterinarians recommend spaying or neutering your dog to prevent various diseases and undesirable behaviors while helping prevent unwanted puppies.

Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age

For an active and healthy adult dog between the ages of one and seven, we highly recommend taking your pet for yearly wellness exams. During these examinations, your veterinarian will thoroughly check your dog from head to tail to detect any early signs of illness or other issues, such as joint pain, tooth decay, or parasites.

Furthermore, your veterinarian will administer any necessary vaccines, discuss your dog's diet and nutritional needs, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and address any training or behavioral issues you may be experiencing. If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health problems, they will discuss their findings with you and recommend the following steps to keep your furry friend healthy.

Senior Dogs

As dogs age, they enter their senior years. This transition typically occurs around eight years old, except for giant breeds, which age faster. Large breeds such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards may require more frequent preventive care starting around five years of age.

As many canine diseases and injuries are more common in senior dogs, we recommend taking your senior dog to the vet every six months. Regular check-up vets will perform all necessary checks and provide relevant advice to keep your senior dog healthy. Additional diagnostic tests, such as blood tests and urinalysis, will be conducted to give the mother insight into your pet's overall health.

Moreover, geriatric care for pets should include a 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.

How many times a month should I take your dog to the vet? 

Veterinarians generally recommend that dog owners schedule a complete check-up for their pets at least once a year. These check-ups, commonly referred to as 'wellness exams,' enable you to monitor your dog's growth and development and discuss any concerns directly with your veterinarian. 

Ultimately, your veterinarian should determine the frequency of your dog's vet visits based on their individual needs and circumstances, offering personalized recommendations to ensure your dog receives appropriate care to maintain their health and well-being.

When should I take my dog to the vet?

It would be best if you took your dog to the vet for several reasons, primarily to seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic, such as:

  • Check-ups:  We recommend annual check-ups for dogs to ensure their health and keep their vaccinations current.
  • Signs of Illness: If you notice any signs of illness or changes in behavior, appetite, or activity levels, it's essential to schedule a vet appointment promptly.
  • Injury or Trauma: If your dog experiences an injury, trauma, or accident, seek veterinary care immediately, even if the injury seems minor.
  • Changes in Behavior: Any sudden or significant changes in your dog's behavior, such as lethargy, aggression, or anxiety, may indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.
  • Dental Health: Regular check-ups and cleanings are essential for your dog's oral health. If you notice signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, difficulty eating, or swollen gums, consult your vet.
  • Parasite Control: Regular vet visits are necessary for parasite prevention and control, including flea, tick, and worm treatments.
  • Senior Care: As dogs age, they may require more frequent vet visits to monitor for age-related health issues such as arthritis, dental disease, and cognitive decline.

Building a good relationship with your veterinarian is crucial and adhering to their advice regarding caring for your dog's health. If you're ever uncertain whether your dog requires medical attention, it's always better to err on the side of caution and schedule an appointment for an assessment. 

Is it bad to not take your dog to the vet? 

As a pet owner, you want what is best for your dog, and proper veterinary care is a big part of helping keep them happy and healthy. There are countless benefits to keeping up with your dog' least by taking them to regular appointments, including:

  • Catch Issue Early: During your dog's annual check-up, the veterinarian will conduct a physical exam to check your dog's weight, temperature, and overall health. The exam includes assessing your dog's coat, skin, teeth, eyes, ears, heart, and lungs. Early detection of any health issues leads to better treatment and recovery. A check-up increases the risk of missing a problem until it becomes more severe.
  • Keep track of your dog's weight: It's difficult to weigh your dog at home if you don't have a scale, and some breeds are more prone to weight issues. To keep an accurate eye on your dog's weight, continue taking them to annual appointments with your veterinarian. They can help you determine a healthy weight and tips for maintaining your dog's ideal size.
  • Monitor current health issues: If your dog has a health condition, see a vet to monitor their health. Some conditions change quickly, requiring a treatment change. Take your dog's checkups, even if they respond well to treatment. Any appointment with good news is better than a missed one. You may need to visit the clinic more frequently than once a year.
  • Avoid preventable diseases:  Regular veterinarian visits are crucial to maintaining your dog's health. Vaccinations are an effective way to prevent serious health problems. Your veterinarian can provide affordable vaccines, heartworm preventives, and flea and tick repellents to ensure your furry friend's health.

In summary, regular veterinary care is essential to keeping your dog healthy, happy, and thriving throughout its life. Neglecting to take your dog to the vet can seriously affect its health and well-being.

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 it time for your dog's routine wellness exam? Contact our friendly team at Sears Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment. 

Welcome New Patients

Sears Veterinary Hospital is now welcoming new cat and dog patients! We have a talented veterinary team that is passionate about providing the pets of Lancaster with the best care possible. Contact our office to book your cat or dog's first appointment today.

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