Regular Health Check-ups You Should Get for Your Dog
Most people can probably admit that they put their regular health checkups on the backburner. Between all of life’s little responsibilities, it’s easy to forget an appointment even when you know you shouldn’t.
You also shouldn’t put your dog’s health on the backburner. You need to make sure you’re taking your dog to all their regular checkups. But how often should a dog go for a checkup?
The answer to that question depends on the age of your dog. Not to worry, we’ll help lay out the regular health checkups you should get for your dog.
Why Get Regular Health Checkups
General dog health is important. Sure, your pup may visit the vet for one-off acute illness, but that’s not the same as doing well checks.
Like people, at least once per year, you dog should visit the vet. Why?
Prevention of illness.
You don’t want to only take your dog to the vet when something is wrong. By visiting the vet regularly, you can prevent easily treatable diseases.
In addition to this, you are also doing your dog a favor from a behavioral perspective. If you only take the dog to the vet when they are sick, they will start associating the vet with pain and discomfort. During future visits, they may become distressed. If they are stressed, you will be too.
What Happens at Regular Health Checkups
Just like people, the vet will go through some basic questions about the health of your dog. Puppies will get questions about behavior, eating and drinking. As dogs age, the questions will change.
You can expect your dog to be measured and weighed. Ears will be checked as well as the eyes and mouth. Vets are well-trained to find symptoms of disease just based on how your dog looks. If tests are needed, your vet will order them. If your dog is due for vaccines, you can expect your vet administer them.
Regular Health Checkups You Should Get for Your Dog
Depending on your dog’s age, appointments will be a bit different.
Puppy (Under 1 year)
You’ll bring your puppy in for a well check and vaccines about every month until your dog is about 16 weeks old. During this time, they’ll get all the vaccines and boosters they need to stay healthy during their first year. Dogs typically get vaccines for the following:
- Kennel Cough
- Lyme Disease
The vet will also examine your puppy and ask about milestones such as housebreaking, socialization and training.
Adult Dog (1-7 years)
Every year, you’ll be expected to bring your dog in for a check-up. If they need vaccines, they will get boosters at this time. Examinations will go from head to tail! They will check your dog’s teeth, eyes, nose, body, anal glands (depending on breed) and tail.
Animals must get rabies vaccines and boosters to comply with local laws. In many areas, your vet will provide you with a special tag for your dog’s collar. This tag proves your dog has been vaccinated against rabies,
Your vet will likely also give you a special vial to take home. This will be used to take a stool sample to check for any intestinal parasites.
Senior Dog (7+ years)
As your dog ages, your vet may suggest twice-yearly visits. In addition to basic testing, your vet will want to see urine and stool samples. Kidney, bladder and other organ systems in older dogs may struggle.
When your dog gets older, it will be up to you to note subtle changes to their behaviors. If they are going to the bathroom less, drinking more or are very lethargic, you should bring all of these up to your vet as they may be a sign of a more serious medical issue.
Cost of Vet Visits
Okay, now for the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. Cost.
It can be costly for some families to fund even the minimum veterinary costs. That’s why it’s important for you to be sure you can afford a pet.
CNBC reported in 2017, “Even excluding expensive and unforeseen veterinarian visits, the likely cost of owning a dog through its lifetime, as calculated by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, falls in a range of $27,074 to $42,545, depending on the breed. “
If you are concerned about the cost of your pet’s vet bills, buying pet insurance is a safe option. It can, however, be more costly than just paying for vet visits. Therefore, be sure to shop around for the best prices.
Overall, visiting the vet regularly is a way to avoid costly emergency care down the line. And of course, check your local laws for what vaccines your dog should have. Lastly, if your dog is outdoors a lot, make sure they have their basic vaccines. Coming into contact with other animals and animal feces puts them at risk of more diseases.