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How often should I take my dog to the vet?

Posted Jan 21st, 2024

How often should I take my dog to the vet?

You love your pup and want to give them their 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 Bellevue vets explain.

Preventive Care & Early Detection

Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages, can help your pooch to stay healthier, longer.

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 understand that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.

Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical. 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 canine companion is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.

During your pup's first year they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. 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.

Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch 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

It is recommended that you take your adult dog, who is between the ages of one and seven, to a wellness exam once a year if it is healthy and active.

In the course of the examination of your adult dog, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your pet from head to tail in order to identify any early warning signs of illness or other problems, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.

In addition, your veterinarian will administer any necessary vaccinations, will consult with you regarding the diet and nutritional needs of your dog, will make recommendations regarding appropriate parasite protection, and will discuss any behavioral or training issues that you may be observing.

In the event that your veterinarian notices any indications of developing health problems, they will meet with you to discuss their findings and make recommendations regarding the subsequent steps to take.

Senior Dogs

It is common practice to classify dogs as senior or geriatric when they reach the age of approximately 8 years, with the exception of giant breeds. Dog breeds that age more rapidly than others, such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards, will require more frequent preventive care at an earlier age, typically around the age of five years.

We recommend that you take your senior dog to the veterinarian once every six months. This is due to the fact that many diseases and injuries that affect dogs tend to be more prevalent in older dogs. These wellness check-ups for your senior dog will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but they will also include a few additional diagnostic tests that will provide additional insight into your pet's overall health.

In order to identify any early warning signs of conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes, we recommend that our elderly patients undergo diagnostic tests such as blood tests and urinalysis.

As age-related issues such as joint pain become more prevalent, geriatric care for pets also includes taking a more proactive approach to ensuring that your pet is comfortable. Consult your veterinarian about the frequency with which you should bring your senior dog in for a checkup if you have a senior dog.

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 Sawtooth Animal Center to schedule an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

New Patients Welcome

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

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