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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 should you take your dog to the vet? Our West Salem vets explain.

Preventive Care & Early Detection

Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages, can help your pooch to stay healthier for longer.

Taking your dog to the vet regularly allows your vet 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 know that you are likely 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.

How often should you take a dog to the vet?

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is akin to taking your pup in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon 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 exams. 

When should I take my dog to the vet?

Below, we'll discuss how often to take your dog to the vet based on how old they are.

Puppies Up to 12 Months Old

If your canine companion is less than a year old, then we recommend monthly visits to your vet.

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 toward keeping them healthy.

The exact timing of your puppy's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.

Between 6 – 12 months, our vets recommend having your pooch spayed or neutered to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.

Adult Dogs Up To 7 Years of Age

If you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 – 7 years old, we recommend yearly wellness exams.

During your adult dog's 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 necessary vaccines, discuss your dog's diet and nutritional needs, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be experiencing.

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

Senior Dogs

Dogs are typically considered senior when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant 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 5 years of age.

Because many canine diseases and injuries are more common in senior dogs, we recommend that you take your dog to the vet every 6 months. All of the checks and advice mentioned above will be included in your senior dog's twice-yearly wellness check-ups, along with a few additional diagnostic tests to provide additional insight into your pet's overall health.

Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis. These help 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 them in for an examination.

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

Regular veterinary check-ups are important for ensuring your dog's overall health and detecting any potential issues early on. Neglecting to take your dog to the vet can result in undiagnosed illnesses or conditions that could worsen over time. 

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 West Salem Animal Clinic to schedule an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

New Patients Welcome

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

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