How Often Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?

Before getting a dog, you need to be aware that there is a lot of responsibility to look after its health and well-being. You may be wondering how frequently your furry friend needs to go to the vet. How often you take your dog to the vet depends on a few factors, such as the dog’s age and general health.

Check up Appointment

For example, puppies, and senior dogs, (dogs over the age of 8), need more frequent visits, as puppies need regular checkups and vaccines, and senior dogs are prone to more illnesses. Healthy adult dogs are said to be alright with annual checkups. 

Puppies 

Once you have your puppy, the first 6 months of its time with you is when you’ll be making the most frequent vet visits. The main reason for this is vaccinations.

These will usually begin once your puppy is 6 to 8 weeks old. It will continue to receive vaccines for the rest of its life. 

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the first vaccine your puppy will typically receive is against distemper and parvovirus.

This is then followed by a DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, para influenza, and parvovirus) shot at 10 to 12 weeks. After six weeks, they should receive another DHPP shot with their first rabies shot. 

You will become well-acquainted with your vet during this stage, which is a good idea. You want to build a rapport with them, so you feel comfortable reaching out to them if you ever have any worries about your pup. 

During this time, they will check the overall health of your puppy and recommend any tick and flea preventatives. 

Once your puppy reaches 6 to 9 months, they are ready to be neutered or spayed, if this is something you have decided to do. 

Adult Dogs 

Once your dog reaches 1-year-old, they still need to visit the vet. But this can be as little as once a year, depending on the breed and overall health of your little pet.

This can continue till they are around 8 years old, where they are classed as senior dogs

Dogs will need boosters shots for DHPP and rabies every 1 to 3 years. Depending on your location, they may need more depending on any diseases that are prevalent in your area. 

Annual check-ups are a great form of preventative care for your dog.

For example, this gives your vet the chance to check your dog’s teeth for any infections, as infections that start in the teeth can spread to other organs in the body. 

Your vet is also able to check their overall health. They could recommend any diet changes or can do any blood work if there is anything wrong with your dog. 

Senior Dogs 

Once your dog reaches its senior years, they are more prone to illnesses and will need to visit the vet more frequently. They should make trips around every 6 months

Your vet may also recommend they get regular blood work done, to check for any issues that can occur.

They will most likely check your dog’s teeth, as these can wear down as your pooch gets older. They may also make changes to your dog’s diet, suggesting fewer calories due to the age of the dog. 

It is in this stage of your dog’s life that preventative care is beneficial.

Although it is costly, it can help you save. It helps your dog stay healthy, rather than developing an illness later down the line.

Having regular blood work will also come in handy if an emergency were to occur. Your vet will already have files on what ‘normal’ looks like for your dog. 

black and brown senior dog

What Dog Breeds Need More Frequent Visits? 

Once you’ve made the exciting decision to become a dog parent, deciding on a breed is a crucial factor.

This is because some breeds are prone to more illnesses than others. So they may require more frequent visits to the vet.

It may even be a good idea to take out some pet insurance with some of these breeds, in order to help you with the cost of their care. 

  • Pugs:  As pugs are flat-faced dogs, they are susceptible to breathing issues that other dogs are not. They can also be prone to more eye infections. 
  • Basset Hound: These adorable dogs unfortunately are prone to having joint issues, digestive problems, and blood clotting. It is recommended that owners of this breed take out some health insurance, as regular checkups are needed. 
  • Cocker Spaniel: Owners of this breed of dog must be aware that they are susceptible to a range of health issues. These include orthopedic problems, heart disease, epilepsy, and liver disease. 
  • Bulldog: Like the pugs, these are also flat-faced dogs that can suffer from nose issues. They can also become dangerously overweight easily, and suffer from skin irritation due to their skin folds. 
  • Labrador Retriever: This popular breed of dog is more likely to develop cancer than other dogs. They can also suffer from shoulder and elbow dysplasia. If given too much exercise, they can collapse from being too excited. 
  • Toy Poodle: This tiny dog is more likely to have health issues than the larger poodle. They have a habit of developing bladder stones. This will likely need surgery to remove. Their small size also makes them more likely to suffer from seizures due to low blood sugar. 

These are just a few of the breeds known for having health complications. As a result, will need more frequent trips to the vet.

This does not mean you shouldn’t look into bringing one of these breeds home. But these health problems should be taken into consideration. 

What Dog Breeds Need More Frequent Visits? 

Final Thoughts 

It is safe to say that the most frequent times you will be seeing your vet is when your dog is at the youngest stage of its life, and the later stages. 

In order to ensure your dog is in good health, during its adult life it is recommended you make annual trips to the vet. This will ensure it is up-to-date on its vaccinations. Also, the vet can check its overall health. 

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