You love your dog and you want them to have a long and healthy life. To do that, consistent veterinary care and checkups are key! Here, our Benton vets share how often you should take your dog to the vet and why it is so important.
Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pet to stay healthier longer.
Taking your dog or cat to the vet on a regular basis 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 or cat in for a routine checkup when they seem healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your furry friend in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your pet's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
Annual wellness exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies and kittens, senior pets, and animals with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations.
Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
For pets under a year old, it is recommended to visit the vet on a monthly basis.
During the first year of your puppy or kitten's life, they will require multiple rounds of vaccinations to protect them against common infectious diseases. Puppies should receive vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis.
Kittens should receive the FVRCP vaccine, which provides protection against three highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
These vaccines will be administered to your young pet over a span of approximately 16 weeks, greatly contributing to their overall health.
The timing of your pet's vaccinations may vary based on your location and their individual health status.
Between 6 and 12 months of age, it is recommended to have your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered. This procedure helps prevent various diseases, undesirable behaviors, and the occurrence of unwanted litters.
Adult Pets Up To 7 Years of Age
If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between 1 - 7 years old, yearly routine exams are recommended. These examinations are annual physical checkups that are done while your pet seems completely healthy.
During your adult pet's routine 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 veterinarian will also administer any required vaccines, speak to you about your dog or cat's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If your vet detects any signs of developing health issues they will discuss their findings with you and recommend next steps.
Senior Dogs & Cats
Dogs are generally considered senior or geriatric around the age of 8, except for large breeds like Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards, which age more rapidly. For these breeds, preventive care should start earlier, typically around 5 years of age.
Cats are considered senior when they reach 11 years old.
As older pets are more prone to diseases and injuries, we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. These wellness check-ups will cover all the necessary checks and advice mentioned earlier, along with additional diagnostic tests to assess your pet's overall health.
For senior patients, we often recommend blood tests and urinalysis to detect early signs of conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also involves a proactive approach to ensure their comfort, especially as age-related issues like joint pain become more prevalent. If you have a senior pet, consult your vet to determine the recommended frequency for routine exams.
Many veterinarians strive to make preventive care more affordable for their clients by offering Wellness Plans.
Ask your vet about a Wellness Plan for your cat or 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.