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How Often Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?

Have you often wondered how often you should take your dog to the vet? You’re not alone.  Many people wonder the same thing.  The answer isn’t as clear-cut as you may think.  Generally speaking one visit to the vet each calendar year is recommended, however, there are no hard and fast rules. In fact, there are many considerations including your dog’s stage of life, if he is showing any signs of illness and even breed considerations.

Stage of Life of Life Considerations

Puppies:

As your dog grows from puppy to adulthood, his healthcare needs and considerations will vary as will his visits to the vet.  During the first year of life, you can expect your puppy to visit the vet at least a handful of times.  Think about it, it is during the first year of life that a puppy will need to be closely monitored.  Puppies are just like babies, after all!  Can you imagine not taking your baby to see a doctor during his first year of life? Well, your puppy will need to see the vet for multiple vaccinations, pre and post-surgical appointments for the recommended spay or neuter, as well as visits for any other health concerns that may come up.

Adult Dogs:

Once your puppy reaches adult status, the visits to the vet will level out.  Adulthood for dogs, depending on breed, will range from about one year of age until about 7 years of age. It is during this stage that under ordinary circumstances you can expect your dog to be in the best of health.  During this stage, you will still need to monitor your dog closely for any signs that he may need medical attention, but you can definitely expect to see the vet at least once a year for a well-check visit.  During this visit, your vet will examine the overall health of your dog as well as run tests as needed.  Your vet will offer advice on any other procedures or vaccines that he or she may recommend.

Seniors:

When your dog transitions from adulthood to senior status, he will need to be monitored by the vet a little more closely.  Realistically speaking, you can expect to bring your senior dog to the vet on an average of two to four times per the calendar year. It is during this time of your dog’s life that lumps and bumps may start to appear.  Your dog may show signs of slowing down and signs of bone and joint pain may present themselves.

End of Life:

Sadly, it is also during this stage of life that other age-related illnesses may become present.  All changes in your dog’s physical or emotional state should be brought to the attention of your vet as soon as possible.  Your vet will continue to order age appropriate tests and give advice on preventative measures and other ways to keep your senior dog comfortable and in the best of health.

Signs of Illness and other Considerations

No matter what stage of life your dog is in, it’s always important to keep an eye out for any physical or behavioral changes.  Changes can often indicate that an underlying health issue exists.

Signs and symptoms that your dog may need medical attention:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Coughing
  • Signs of Pain
  • Lumps/Bumps
  • Aggression
  • Withdrawal
  • Dull Coat
  • Rashes or other skin issues
  • Changes in Diet
  • Lethargy
  • Scratching
  • Self-mutilation

Taking your dog to the vet should always be a priority. Neglecting to take your dog to the vet could have serious ramifications.  The best prognosis for a healthy, happy life always includes routine veterinary care.

 

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