How Often Should I Take My Dog to the Veterinarian?
While a Dog to the Veterinarian appointments may not be the most exciting activity for you and your canine companion, it is essential to stay up to date on vaccinations and routine wellness visits.
Dr Nicole Savageau, a veterinarian at The Vets, adds that if your pet may be sick or injured, it’s always best to err on the side of caution by contacting your vet, even if it means an emergency visit.
There’s no denying that vet appointments are a fact of life for pet owners, but you may be wondering how often your pup should go. It turns out that the answer is not one size fits all. How often your dog visits the vet depends on his age, lifestyle, and whether he has any underlying health problems.
How often should I take my puppy to the vet?
Expect to take your puppy to the vet four or more times during his first year alone. In other words, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know the veterinarian of your choice.
“These early visits are important,” says Savageau, “not only for disease prevention but also for guidance on training, socialization and nutrition, all of which lay a solid foundation for your puppy’s health and well-being throughout his life. life”.
The number of puppy vet visits can vary slightly, depending on what vaccinations your puppy needs and whether you are spaying or neutering him. You can count on your veterinarian to tell you exactly what your pup needs, but you can consult the general guidelines below to prepare.
Puppy life from 6 to 16 weeks
Your puppy’s first vet appointment will be when he’s about 8 weeks old, Savageau says. This important first visit will include vaccinations, deworming, and a thorough exam to ensure your puppy is healthy.
Puppies are born with antibodies from their mother, but these antibodies begin to decline at this stage. “Timely vaccinations help close this immunity gap, ensuring that the puppy can safely explore the world, socialize with other dogs, and grow up healthy and resilient,” explains Savageau. Following your veterinarian’s recommended vaccination schedule will give your puppy the best possible start in life.
How often your dog visits the vet depends on his age, lifestyle, and whether he has any underlying health problems.
You can expect your veterinarian to recommend core vaccines against parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus, and parainfluenza. However, they may recommend additional vaccines, such as Bordetella (kennel cough), leptospirosis, influenza (flu shots), or Lyme vaccines, depending on where you live, your dog’s lifestyle, and your dog’s family history.
About four weeks later and then again around 16 weeks, your puppy will receive the second (and possibly a third) round of those vaccines. This is also the time when they will receive the rabies vaccine, which is usually required by law.
Puppy life at 6 months
If you are considering spaying or neutering your puppy (Savageau recommends this for non-breeding dogs), the six-month mark is when puppies are usually old enough for surgery. “Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) can help prevent unwanted litters, reduce the risk of certain health problems, and potentially curb behavioral problems related to the mating instinct,” she explains.
If your puppy has not yet completed his last set of vaccinations, that will also happen when he is 6 months old. Of course, those won’t be your puppy’s last vaccinations, as they will need boosters. For example, they will need a rabies booster shot about a year and then every three years (or annually, depending on where you live).
How often should I take my adult dog to the vet?
Adult dogs should see their veterinarian once a year, even when they appear healthy. “During your dog’s annual exams, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam to look for signs of illness, dental problems, or changes in weight and behavior,” explains Savageau. This helps to detect any illness in time.
During your dog’s annual wellness exam, your veterinarian will recommend any necessary vaccine boosters and perform your annual heartworm check with a blood test. Your veterinarian can also provide advice on flea, tick, and heartworm preventive medications. This is also a good time to ask any questions you have about caring for your dog, such as diet and exercise.
If your dog has any chronic or underlying conditions, you may need to visit your veterinarian more frequently.
How often should I take my older dog to the vet?
Dogs are generally considered seniors at age 7, and giant puppies are given senior status sooner than smaller breeds. As pets age, their risk of age-related illnesses increases, which is why most veterinarians recommend that older dogs see their veterinarian every six months, rather than annually.
Senior wellness exams are similar to adult dog exams, but with more blood tests to check key markers such as kidney and liver function, blood sugar levels, and thyroid function, Savageau explains. These senior blood tests help detect and manage health problems early, helping your pup make the most of his or her golden years.
Hopefully, all the vet visits throughout your dog’s life will make these visits as stress-free as possible. However, if your pup finds traveling stressful or has limited mobility, consider visiting veterinarians like Savageau, who will visit your dog at home.
When does my dog need an emergency vet visit?
If your dog seems unwell, contact your veterinarian. According to Savageau, the following are always emergencies:
Do I need pet insurance for my dog?
Like human health insurance, pet insurance can help cover your dog’s routine checkups and emergency treatments, depending on the policy you choose and your monthly premium. Chances are, if you purchase pet insurance for your pup, your monthly premium will save you money in the long run.
However, pet insurance doesn’t fit everyone’s needs, and your dog’s age, breed, or pre-existing conditions can make a significant difference in cost and coverage. If that’s the case, Savageau says pet wellness plans are another smart option. Wellness plans cover routine care, such as wellness exams and vaccinations, rather than accidents, injuries or disease management.
How much does a visit to the vet cost?
Without insurance, vet appointments can range from $50 to $100 for the physical exam and more, depending on what the exam includes and where you live. If your dog needs to see an emergency vet outside of regular business hours, it could cost you twice as much.
Additional costs at each visit will depend on your dog’s age and needs. For example, if your puppy is due a round of basic vaccinations (rabies and distemper), he may have to pay more in addition to the exam fee.
Other additional fees include blood tests, urine and stool tests, special diets prescribed by your veterinarian, or flea and tick control, but you can also shop around and fill those prescriptions through Chewy’s online pharmacy.
Cover Image: Getty/Seventy-Four