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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 Riverside County 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 on a regular basis 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 veterinarians understand that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog in for a checkup when they appear to be in good health, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your dog's care may save you money on expensive treatments in the future.

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

We're not saying you're a bad pet parent, but you have a lot of responsibilities, and taking your dog to the vet is one of the most important. Dogs, like humans, require regular checkups. You should also take your dog to the vet if they are acting strangely or showing signs of illness or injury.

Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets

Taking your dog to the vet for a routine exam is like 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 examinations. 

When should I take my dog to the vet?

Below, we'll list when to take your dog to the vet based on their age.

Puppies Up to 12 Months 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 them healthy.

The exact timing of your 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 Up To 7 Years of Age

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 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 requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and address any training or behavioral issues your pet is having.

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 or geriatric 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 older dogs, we recommend that you take them to the vet every six months. All of the checks and advice mentioned above will be included in your senior dog's twice-yearly wellness check-ups, as well as a few additional diagnostic tests to provide more information about your pet's overall health.

Some diagnostic tests we recommend for 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 take a dog in for an examination.

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 wellness exam? Contact our friendly team at Banning Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

New Patients Welcome

Banning Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients. Our experienced and compassionate vets care about the health of animals across Riverside County. Contact us today in order to book your first appointment.

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