When it comes to the lifelong care of your beloved companion, routine vet care is essential. But how often should you take your dog or cat to the vet? Our Little Elm vets discuss pet wellness exams, the care your pet will receive and how often you should bring your dog or cat for a checkup.
Preventive Veterinary Care With Routine Pet Checkups
Preventing serious diseases, or detecting them in the very earliest stages can help your pet to stay healthier longer which makes routine wellness exams an important part of your pet's care.
Taking your dog or cat to the vet on a regular basis provides your vet with the opportunity to monitor your pet's overall health, look for the earliest signs of disease (when conditions are most easily treated), and offer recommendations on the best preventive products for your four-legged friend.
Our vets understand that you are concerned about the cost of bringing your dog or cat in for a routine checkup when they seem healthy, but taking a proactive, preventive approach to your pet's care could save you the cost of expensive treatments down the road.
Routine Wellness Exams - Checkups for Pets
Taking your pet to the vet for a routine wellness 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.
Annual wellness exams are typically recommended for healthy adult dogs, but puppies and kittens, senior pets, and animals with underlying health conditions benefit from more frequent examinations in order to better prevent serious conditions from occurring or worsening.
Routine Wellness Exams For Puppies and Kittens
For young cats and dogs, typically under a year old, monthly pet checkups 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 your 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 toward keeping your puppy or kitten healthy.
The schedule for your pet's routine vaccinations will vary depending on their breed, age and unique needs.
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.
How Often Does Your Adult Dog or Cat Needs a Pet Checkup?
If you have a healthy, active adult dog or cat between 1 - 7 years old, yearly wellness exams are recommended. These examinations are annual physical pet checkups that are done while your dog or cat seems completely healthy.
During your adult pet's routine exam your vet will perform a head-to-tail examination of your pet to look for early signs of illness or other issues, such as tooth decay, joint pain or parasites.
Your veterinarian will also administer any required vaccines, speak to you about your dog or cat's diet and nutritional requirements, recommend appropriate parasite protection and discuss any training or behavioral issues you may be noticing.
If your vet detects any signs of developing health issues they will perform diagnostic testing in order to provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan best suited for your individual pet.
Wellness Exams For Senior Dogs and Cats
Dogs are typically considered senior or geriatric when they are about 8 years old, except in the case of giant breeds. Dogs such as Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and Saint Bernards age more quickly than other breeds and will require more frequent preventive care earlier, typically starting around 5 years of age as their breeds age faster than the smaller breeds typically do.
Once your cat makes it to the ripe old age of 11 they will be considered a senior pet and will be well on their way to enjoying their golden years.
Since many animal diseases and injuries tend to be more common in older pets we recommend taking your senior dog or cat to the vet every 6 months. Twice-yearly wellness check-ups for your senior pet will include all of the checks and advice mentioned above, but with a few added diagnostic tests to provide extra insight into your pet's overall health.
Some diagnostic tests we recommend for our senior patients include blood tests and urinalysis to check for early signs of problems such as kidney disease or diabetes.
Geriatric care for pets also includes a more proactive approach to keeping your dog or cat comfortable as age-related issues such as joint pain become more common. If you have a senior pet, your vet will be able to let you know how often they should receive wellness exams and routine pet care.
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.