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How often should I take my dog to the vet?

If you love your pup and want to give them the best chance at a long and happy life, regular preventive veterinary care is essential. But how often should you take your dog to the vet? This blog post will cover when to take your dog to the vet, how frequently these visits should occur, and why routine checkups are important.

When should a dog go to the vet?

Knowing when to take your dog to the vet is vital for their overall health. Here are some key situations that necessitate a visit to the vet:

  • Puppy Visits: Puppies require more frequent visits. Typically, a vet should see them every 3-4 weeks until they are about 16 weeks old. This schedule allows the vet to monitor their growth, administer vaccinations, and ensure they develop properly.
  • Annual Exams: For adult dogs, an annual wellness exam is essential. This yearly checkup helps the vet detect any potential health issues early and keep your dog's vaccinations up to date.
  • Senior Dogs: As dogs age, they may develop health problems more frequently. Senior dogs (usually over seven years old) should visit the vet at least twice a year. These visits help manage age-related conditions and ensure a high quality of life.
  • Signs of Illness: If your dog shows signs of illness—such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or changes in behavior—you should take them to the vet immediately. Early detection of health problems can make treatment more effective.

Why It's Important to Have Routine Dog Exams

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your pup in for a physical. Like people, how often your pet should have a physical depends on its lifestyle, overall health, and age.

  • Early detection of health issues: Regular checkups help catch problems early when they are often more accessible and less expensive to treat.
  • Maintaining overall health: Consistent veterinary care ensures your dog stays healthy and happy.
  • Vaccination updates: Keeping vaccinations current protects your dog from many serious and potentially deadly diseases.
  • Monitoring chronic conditions: Regular vet visits are crucial for managing chronic health issues effectively in dogs.

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

For most dogs, monthly vet visits are unnecessary. However, puppies might need more frequent visits due to their vaccination schedules. Generally, after the initial puppy stage, the frequency of vet visits decreases:

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.

Our vets recommend having your pup spayed or neutered between 6 and 12 months to prevent a host of diseases, undesirable behaviors, and unwanted puppies.

Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age

Yearly wellness exams are recommended if you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 - 7 years old.

During your adult dog's exam, your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination 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, discuss your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may notice.

If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues, your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.

Senior Dogs

Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about eight years old, except for larger breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically around five years of age.

Since many canine diseases and injuries are more common in older dogs, we recommend taking your senior dog to the vet every six months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior dog will include all the checks and advice mentioned above but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet'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.

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

Neglecting regular vet visits can have serious consequences for your dog's health. Skipping routine checkups means you might miss early signs of health problems.

Conditions like dental disease, obesity, and parasites can go unnoticed without regular veterinary care. Additionally, staying up to date on vaccinations and preventative care is crucial for protecting your dog from serious diseases.

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 Diamond Bar Veterinary Clinic to schedule an appointment. 

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Diamond Bar Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Diamond Bar companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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