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How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?

Making sure your canine companion gets the veterinary care they need is an important responsibility. But exactly how often should you take a dog to the vet? Our South Florida vets share some insights on this common topic. 

Preventive Care & Early Detection 

It's always better to have diseases detected and diagnosed as early as possible. Preventing serious conditions that affect your pet's eyes and other important areas of the body, or detecting them early so treatment can begin as soon as possible, are key to your pet's health and longevity. 

Bringing your dog to the vet regularly gives them an opportunity to monitor your pet's general health, check for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are easiest to treat), and recommend appropriate preventive products for your furry friend. 

Our vets understand you may have concerns about the cost of taking your dog in for a checkup when they seem perfectly healthy. However, you might save yourself the cost of expensive treatments in the future by taking a proactive approach to your dog's preventive care now. 

Wellness Exams 

Scheduling your dog's veterinary wellness exam is like taking your pooch in for a physical. Similar to people, how often your pet should have a physical depends on several factors, including your dog's age and overall health. 

Annual wellness exams are usually recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with underlying health conditions should come in for more frequent checkups. 

If you're wondering, "How often should I take my dog to the vet?" after reading the guidelines for puppies, adult dogs and senior dogs below, just ask your primary vet. They will likely be happy to provide advice based on your pet's individual circumstances. 

Puppies 0 – 12 Months Old

Knowing when to take your dog to the vet is just as important knowing how often you'll need to schedule an appointment. 

Is your canine companion under one year old? If so, they should visit the vet once a month. 

Your puppy will need several rounds of vaccinations to help protect them against common infectious diseases, including rabies, hepatitis, distemper, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza. Your puppy will receive these vaccines over 16 weeks, building up their protection against potentially dangerous illnesses. 

The precise timing of your young pup's vaccinations will vary depending on your location and your dog's general health. 

When your pooch is between 6 and 12 months old, our vets recommend having them spayed or neutered to prevent several diseases and undesirable behaviors, in addition to unwanted puppies.

Adult Dogs Up to 7 Years of Age 

Annual wellness exams are recommended for healthy, active adult dogs between 1 and 7 years old. 

During your adult dog's exam, your vet will examine your canine companion from head to toe to check for early signs of illness or other issues, such as eye conditions, parasites, or tooth decay, 

Your vet will also administer any vaccines that may be required, discuss your dog's diet and nutritional needs with you, recommend appropriate parasite protection, and discuss any training or behavioral issues you might be noticing. 

If your veterinarian identifies any signs of emerging health issues, they will explain these to you and recommend next steps. 

Senior Dogs 

Most dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric after the age of about 8 years old. In the case of giant breeds such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernards, they should be considered senior after the age of 5 and will require more frequent preventive care.

Since many canine eye conditions, diseases and injuries tend to be more common 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 elements of a regular wellness check, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health. 

Some diagnostic tests your vet may recommend for your senior dog include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.

Geriatric care for pets also requires being more proactive in your approach to keeping your pet comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. In terms of eye health, cataracts often develop. If you have a senior dog, ask your vet how often you should bring your pet in for an examination.

If your primary vet suspects your dog has an eye condition or disease, they may refer you to our veterinary ophthalmologists at Animal Eye Guys for diagnosis and treatment. 

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.

Do you suspect your dog has an eye condition or disease? Contact our South Florida veterinary ophthalmologists today to book an examination. We also accept referrals from primary vets.

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Animal Eye Guys is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of South Florida pets. Get in touch today to book an appointment.

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