As a dog owner, you may ponder, “How often should I take my dog to the vet?”. Vet visits for dogs are almost the same as doctor visits for you and have almost the same recommended frequency. Because you know your dog best, you should always use your judgment to determine if your dog is sick or acting strange and needs a special visit.
Vet Visits as a Puppy
You’ll probably bring your dog to the vet the most often when they’re just a puppy. When you’ve got a puppy on your hands, you’ll need to take them in to see the vet to make sure you get all their shots started and make sure they’re healthy.
The First 16 Weeks
You’ll probably be seeing your vet more than others if you’ve got a fresh batch of puppies, rather than getting your puppy when they’re 8 weeks old. No matter which is the case, you’ll be bringing in your pup to get their shots every 3-4 weeks for the first 16 weeks of their life so they can get all their vaccines started. These shots are for a variety of things, such as rabies, distemper, corona, parainfluenza, parvo, leptospirosis, and hepatitis.
At 6 Months Old
Depending on your plans for your puppy, you may or may not take them in to see the vet after they’re 6 months old. This is the age where your dog is old enough to be spayed or neutered, if you so choose. Even if you don’t take them to get fixed, you can still take your dog to the vet for a checkup to make sure they’re on track with their growth, weight, and health.
Vet Visits as an Adult Dog
When your dog is an adult, you’ll want to take them for a visit to the vet once a year. Think of this as the dog equivalent of your yearly checkup as well. While there, your vet will do any updates for their shots and vaccines and conduct a myriad of wellness checks. They’ll check up on your dog’s weight and physical shape, give them a head-to-toe physical exam, and check up on the health of their mouth, gums, and teeth.
While visiting with your vet, you have the opportunity to bring up any concerns you have about your dog, whether they’re about their weight, their social skills with other animals and people, or about things they do that you find odd. Your vet might give you some instructions for diet or socialization, or they may tell you that you have nothing to worry about and your furry friend is perfectly healthy.
Vet Visits as an Elderly Dogs
As your dog gets older, you may find they need a little more care or treatment, or that some health issues may start to arise that weren’t an issue when they were younger. Because of your dog’s aging status, you should take them in for a checkup twice a year, or every 6 months. This allows you and your vet to catch onto any issues much quicker. Because you’re with your dog daily, you may not notice issues slowly developing, but your vet will.
Your vet will most likely do a series of physical diagnostic tests and include a blood test. Doing these tests allows your vet to create a baseline for your dog so they can watch for changes and have previous versions to compare tests to if your dog starts to take ill, allowing you to pinpoint the problem more precisely because you know how your dog should be when the issue, or issues, aren’t present.
Emergency Situations for Vet Visits
There are times when your dog may have an accident or they may suddenly start behaving differently. You should take your dog to the vet if they become injured, are unconscious, have stopped breathing or are having breathing difficulties, has taken ill, has blood present in their vomit or feces, has collapsed, or has other issues that aren’t normal for your dog.
How often should I take my dog to the vet is a question asked by new dog owners and seasoned ones alike. You should take your dog to the vet once a year, and use your judgment for special cases.