How often should my dog visit the vet?

April 13, 2012

A responsible dog owner would make sure that the first stop after getting a dog from the breeder is a veterinary facility. A vet and the services he/she offers would be the dog’s first line of defense against any type of canine disease. Our pets would depend on us not only for their basic needs but also for their lifetime medical maintenance. Is my pet really sick? Is it necessary for Fido to visit the vet? These questions are commonly heard from dog owners. It is not advisable to run to the vet every time something amiss is noticed in the pet. But neither is it prudent to dismiss any sign of ailment believing that it will just go away. Simple decisions regarding the health of the pet can make a significant difference to the quality of life it is going to have. The pet’s chances at full recovery from any illness will greatly depend on the administration of prompt treatment. Needless to say, a vet’s attention will be necessary. So how often should the pet visit the vet?

What most dog owners have come to believe is that a dog only has to visit a vet for vaccinations. After the series of shots, the meetings between dogs and vets will end. Vet visits don’t come free. These are hard times and vet fees can be an additional burden for dog owners on a tight budget. Additionally, as long as the pet is eating well and kept inside the house and not exposed to other dogs and pets, it will be free from diseases. However, this is a misconception. If pets can transmit disease to us humans, we can also carry disease to our pets that are mainly kept inside the house. This is why our furry friends need checkups from their animal doctors. How often the pet has to visit a vet depends on the age, on the lifestyle or activity and on the exposure to canine diseases.

The frequency of vet visits would vary depending on the individual animal. Generally, dogs are taken to a vet annually for their vaccinations. But even if the dog would not need booster shots a vet visit would still be a good idea so that the pet can have a thorough checkup. Owners would naturally know the pet much better than the vet. The owner would know if the pet is off color but vets are specifically trained to spot signs of ailments. Pet parents must be made aware that vet visits should not be done only when the pet needs vaccinations. Annual or semiannual visits are also very important. During these consultations, the pet will have a thorough oral and physical exam. Blood test, x-ray and urine testing will be done to detect any sign of illness and to rule out parasite infestation.

Semiannual vet visits are recommended for older pets. As with older people, geriatric pets commonly suffer from a variety of diseases. Periodontal disease, liver, kidney and heart diseases and hormonal imbalance problems are common concerns of aging dogs. Puppies would have to visit the vet frequently for the series of shots. Young dogs would benefit from annual vet visits. It is important to ensure that the vaccinations of the pet are current. Pet owners are now aware of the need to maintain dental preventative care for the pet. Teeth cleaning that was once a neglected part of grooming routine are now regularly done. Despite preventative measures, pets would still benefit from periodic ultrasonic scaling. This is another reason why the pet should visit the vet more often. Any canine disease caught at an early stage would have better treatment options. Obviously, these treatments would give the pet greater chance to recover fully.

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