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How often should my dog see the vet for a wellness visit?

Vet and BulldogVeterinary care is critical to a dog’s well being. It is also important for an owner to get their questions answered by a qualified professional. From the moment a pup is born, it should begin its veterinary treatment. How often should a dog see a veterinarian? That depends on the dog.

A wellness exam or “check up” is a routine visit where a veterinarian will look over the dog; ask specific questions as to appetite, exercise, breed specific issues. They will watch a dog’s gait for uniformity and normal movement. Check the dog’s teeth for dental health. It is a time for an owner to ask questions about dietary concerns and discuss vaccinations and flea/tick/heartworm prevention. A fecal sample will be collected to check for illness and a urine sample will determine healthy kidney function.

Veterinarians determine how often a dog should be seen by their age, breed, lifestyle, and health history.

Puppies

From a newborn to four months of age, a puppy should be seen by a vet once a month. This is to keep them current on their vaccinations; discuss concerns with their physical development and talk dietary issues. The veterinarian will also do a panel of blood tests to rule out detrimental puppy illnesses such as the parvovirus and distemper.

Adults

Although dogs don’t reach full maturity until the ages of two or three, depending on the breed, dogs can get by visiting the veterinarian once or twice a year around the age of six months. A healthy dog needs a wellness visit to receive certain vaccinations, get their heartworm/flea and tick prevention prescription filled. Have their teeth checked and their poop analyzed. A wellness check is critical for certain breeds prone to genetic conditions to be examined and tested.

Senior Dogs

Smaller breeds reach geriatric age around the age of eight, larger breeds could be considered seniors at the age of six. Wellness exams may become more frequent, depending on their constitution. A veterinarian will be able to track physical changes and discuss dietary changes that may need to be made.

Senior dogs are more prone to developing cancer, arthritis, and a host of other conditions. Regular wellness exams may catch a host of illnesses early, making them easier to treat and offering an older dog a better quality of life.

Remember: the best person to answer the question “how often should my dog be seeing a vet” is a vet! If you’re not sure about your vet’s recommendation, seek a second opinion.

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Written by Renee Moen
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