We know that you love your dog and want to provide them with their best chance at a long and happy life; that's where regular preventive veterinary care comes in. Our Capitola vets discuss how often to take your dog to the vet.
Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them early before they progress into something more serious, can help your dog stay healthier longer.
Taking your dog to the vet on a regular basis provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your pet's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our vets understand if you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they seem perfectly fine, 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 like taking them 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 examinations.
Puppies (Less Than 1 Year 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 the course of 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.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your pooch spayed or neutered in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted puppies.
Adult Dogs (1 – 7 Years Old)
If you have a healthy, active adult dog between 1 - 7 years old, yearly wellness exams are recommended.
During your adult dog's exam, your vet will carry out a complete examination of your pet 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, speak to you about your dog's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If your veterinarian detects any signs of developing health issues your vet will discuss their findings with you and recommend next steps.
Dogs are generally considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, with the exception of giant breeds. Breeds 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 tend to occur more in older dogs we recommend taking your senior dog to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior dog will include all of 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.
Many veterinary clinics strive to make preventive care more accessible to their clients by offering Wellness Plans, which are
At Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital we offer Wellness Plans for dogs of all sizes to help make your pup's routine annual care easier on your wallet. With our Wellness Plans, we bundle all the preventive services your pet needs to stay healthy including routine exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention and more. And then we give you a monthly payment plan to help you save money and manage your budget.
Ask your vet about a Wellness Plan for your dog.
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.