Regular veterinary checkups and preventive care are essential if you love your pet and want to give them the best chance at a long and happy life. But how frequently should you take your dog or cat to the veterinarian? Our Edgewater veterinarians explain...
Veterinary Preventive Care & Early Detection
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pet to stay healthier longer.
Taking your dog or cat to the vet on a regular basis allows your veterinarian to keep track of your pet's overall health, look for early signs of disease (when conditions are most treatable), and recommend the best preventive products for your four-legged companion.
Our veterinarians understand that bringing your dog or cat in for a routine checkup when they appear healthy can be expensive, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you money in the long run.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine exam is like taking your furry friend in for a physical. As with people, how often your pet should have a physical depends upon your pet's lifestyle, overall health, and age.
Healthy adult dogs should have annual wellness exams, but puppies and kittens, senior pets, and animals with underlying health conditions should have more frequent exams.
Puppies & Kittens Up to 12 Months Old
If your pet is less than a year old then monthly visits to your vet are recommended.
During your puppy or kitten's first year they are going to need several rounds of vaccinations to help keep them protected against common infectious diseases. Recommended vaccines for puppies include distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvo, corona, rabies, and leptospirosis. Kittens should receive their FVRCP vaccine which helps to protect their feline friend against 3 highly contagious and life-threatening feline diseases, Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FHV-1) Feline Calicivirus (FCV), and Feline Panleukopenia (FPL).
These vaccines will be given to your young friend over the course of about 16 weeks and will go a long way towards keeping your puppy or kitten healthy.
The exact timing of your pet's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your furry friend's overall health.
Between 6 - 12 months our vets recommend having your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered in order to prevent a host of diseases and undesirable behaviors as well as unwanted litters.
Adult Pets Up To 7 Years of Age
Annual routine exams are recommended if you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between the ages of 1 and 7. These are annual physical examinations that are performed while your pet appears to be in good health.
Your vet will examine your adult pet from head to tail during their routine exam 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, talk to you about your dog's or cat's diet and nutritional needs, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and talk to you about any training or behavioral issues you've noticed.
If your vet detects any signs of developing health issues they will discuss their findings with you and recommend the next steps.
Senior Dogs & Cats
Except in the case of giant breeds, dogs are considered senior or geriatric when they are around 8 years old. Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds, necessitating more frequent preventative care beginning around the age of five.
When a cat reaches the age of 11, they are considered senior.
We recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every six months because many animal diseases and injuries are more common in older pets. All of the above checks and advice will be included in your senior pet's twice-yearly wellness check-ups, as well as a few additional diagnostic tests to provide additional insight into your pet's overall health.
Blood tests and urinalysis are two diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients to check for early signs of problems like kidney disease or diabetes.
As age-related issues such as joint pain become more common, geriatric care for pets includes a more proactive approach to keeping your dog or cat comfortable. Ask your veterinarian how often you should bring your senior pet in for a routine exam.
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.