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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, and when, should you take your dog to the vet? Our Fort Worth vets explain.

Preventive Care & Early Detection

Preventing or detecting serious diseases in their early stages can help your dog live a longer and healthier life.

Regularly taking your dog to the vet allows your veterinarian to monitor your pet's overall health, look for early signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and recommend 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 similar to taking your puppy in for a physical. The frequency with which your pet should have a physical, as with people, is determined by 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. 

When should I take my dog to the vet?

Below, we'll detail when a dog should go to the vet based on their age.

Puppies Up to 12 Months Old

If your dog is less than a year old, you should take him or her to the vet on a monthly basis.

Several rounds of vaccinations are required during your puppy's first year to protect them from common infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. These vaccines will be given to your puppy over the course of 16 weeks and will help keep him healthy.

The exact timing of your young dog's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and the overall health of your pet.

Our veterinarians recommend having your dog spayed or neutered between the ages of 6 and 12 months to avoid a variety of diseases and undesirable behaviors, as well as unwanted puppies.

Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age

Healthy, active adult dogs between the ages of one and seven should have annual wellness exams.

During your adult dog's exam, your veterinarian will examine your pet from head to tail to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain, or parasites.

Your veterinarian will also administer any necessary vaccinations, discuss your dog's diet and nutritional needs, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and address any training or behavioral issues you may be having.

If your veterinarian notices any signs of impending health problems, he or she will discuss their findings with you and advise you on the next steps.

Senior Dogs

Except for giant breeds, dogs are considered senior or geriatric when they are around 8 years old. Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age faster than other breeds and require more frequent preventive care at a younger age, typically around 5 years of age.

We recommend that you take your senior dog to the veterinarian every six months because many canine diseases and injuries are more common in older dogs. All of the above-mentioned checks and advice will be included in your senior dog's twice-yearly wellness check-ups, along with a few additional diagnostic tests to provide more information about your pet's general health.

Blood tests and urinalysis are two diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients to look for early signs of problems like kidney disease or diabetes.

As age-related issues such as joint pain become more common, geriatric care for pets includes a more proactive approach to keeping your pet comfortable. If you have a senior dog, inquire with your veterinarian about how frequently you should have your dog examined.

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

Failure to take your dog to the vet can have serious consequences for its health and well-being. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative care are essential for your dog's long and healthy life. Additionally, early detection of any potential health issues can save you money in the long run by avoiding more expensive treatments later on.

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 team at Harris Parkway Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

New Patients Welcome

Harris Parkway Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fort Worth companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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